At the beginning of a new session, usually from this period that many schools release admissions, fresh students often in the euphoria of the admission have their optimistic bar in full scale. Everyone has a plan for a result they want to graduate with, perhaps for what lies ahead: the labour market, scholarships, or any other opportunities.
But at the end of the study, looking back from the beginning, the dreams of a majority cannot be said to have been achieved. Although much potential would have been blown along the journey, few fittest would survive the perilous journey unscathed.
But there’s good news; having orientation at the right time, tutorials, mentorships, attendance, references, and past questions can help the freshers’ yearnings come true.
Fresh students come to meet arrays of tutorials from which one has many to choose. The school associations at the departmental, faculties, or states deem it their responsibility to provide headway for the newcomers. The religious bodies are also offering among the best tutorials on the campus. As a new to the environment, there could be so many areas of distraction, but tutorial venues should always be among the focal points.
Like tutorials, studying past questions gives the 1-million-dollar idea about courses and the length and breadth the lecturer can go with questions. Past questions accord a student with knowledge for how the same question can be asked. These save a lot of time during the actual exams, even if exact questions are not asked. Past questions help students develop ideas on how to go about answering some questions. With past questions sufficiently studied, the student can deliver a marking scheme.
One should belong to the right group of friends. If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go farther, go with others. Interacting with some coursemates more prepared offers a chance to leverage from them. Many students who attend extra moral studies such as Zaria refresher or similar are friends material. Students who participate in such programs are usually ahead of what lies ahead.
References are another goldmine when it comes to smart study. Reference implies the materials, especially the book (s) a lecturer uses. In class, you hardly get the average gist of a lecture, and you might already jot down a chunk of a mix-up. Reference is the undiluted notes that would allow a comprehensive digest of the lecture. In other words, references are like having the original copy of a story. It helps you go through the story without interfering with anyone else’s opinion.
With regards to exams, references can be the holy grail. One of my undergraduate memories came in 300 Level. One Chemistry course from the Chemistry Department made students decry to high heaven. To make matters worse, the course coincided with a hectic day for us; it was offered after six hours of laboratory work. But this is not to justify the massive failure that followed. One of the notorious test questions that led to the catastrophe happened to be examples from a particular textbook – Castellar, I think – the reference I couldn’t lay my hands on at the right time. I passed the course with credit, but I always remember the scenario with my index finger bitten, hoping in retrospect that I had read the book (reference) just at the right time. Having a lecturer’s references is reassuring because, with it, you have your lecturer on the palm.
The most important tip that a student can take to the bank is attendance. Imagine getting information from chains of narrators. Usually, the integrity of the information fades as it cascades down from one narrator to another. It is safe to compare this scenario with missing a class. Even if one attends a class, it is not plug-and-play. So, the hope of understanding the lecture becomes blurry when a student copies from another who basically writes his side of the story. If you decide to rely on friends’ notes, the chance is that you tell a different story from that of a lecturer. Hence, you shall get ready for angry-looking results.
Bilyamin Abdulmumin is a PhD candidate in Chemical Engineering at ABU Zaria. He is also an activist for a better, informed society.