Study Skills


Setting and Achieving Goals

Your Goals

You’ve probably been forced to set goals at some time, whether in school or elsewhere. Setting goals is a tricky business, though, because you have to set them for yourself--not your teachers, your parents or your peers. Ask yourself what you want to achieve. Use these desires to set your goals.

The goals that will help you improve your studying should possess the following characteristics:

Goals Should Be... Good Example Bad Example
Specific "I will earn an A in biology class first semester.” “I will try as hard as I can in biology from now on.”
Realistic "I will improve my GPA from a 2.8 to a 3.0 this semester." “I will improve my GPA from a 2.8 to a 3.9 this semester.”
Moderately Challenging “I will attend every class lecture in history, pending sickness and emergencies.” “I will attend every class lecture in all my classes and talk with my teachers during every office hour.”
Measurable “I will improve my GPA from a 3.0 to a 3.25 this semester.” “I will get better grades in my classes, overall.”
Broken Down Into Specific Actions “I will earn a 3.5 GPA by reviewing lecture material daily, reading all assignments and regularly attending class.” “I will earn a 3.5 GPA – whatever it takes.”

Stay Committed to Your Goals

Once you've set your goals, it's important to stay committed to them. Commitment must be present throughout the semester. You will feel your commitment draining the most during times of stress. So before those inevitable stress episodes occur, keep these commitment commandments in mind:

  1. Calendar
    Commit to Your Goals
    Avoid procrastination. Study every day, especially immediately after class.
  2. Remember your goals. Look forward to them, and remember that you can revise them, and they still count.
  3. Acknowledge progress. Every time you sit down to study, set a small goal and acknowledge your progress.
  4. Study when awake. Plan to study when you are alert and energized, not at 11 p.m. on Sunday.
  5. Take breaks. Take a break of 5-10 minutes every 45 minutes. It will help rejuvenate your concentration.
  6. Reward yourself. When you complete a large assignment, such as a paper or project, reward yourself. You earned it.

If you find that your motivation is still in trouble, check out this Learning Skills Program for a little help.

Things Change

Finally, remember that all goals are revisable. Sometimes it’s difficult to gauge the time, effort and reality of your goals when you first set them. Don’t be afraid to change them to prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed or to challenge yourself further.

Throughout the year, try to keep a balanced life style. This will actually improve your chances of meeting your goals. Allow yourself free time for activities like going out with friends, sports, watching TV, or playing video games.


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