Writer: Raquel Stevens
University students struggle to balance assignments and studying with their lifestyle and work. It is not only our ability to juggle these obligations that determines our final results, we are influenced by our genes and our past, as well as our current lifestyle.
In every class, there are those who will not settle for less than a HD, and others that are only concerned when they struggle to scrape a pass. Some people just have a way with words so they can fudge their way through an assignment with little research, and others have a great memory which serves them well in tests. Some students have a natural talent with and understanding of the class content. It is not just the intelligence who will not settle for less than a HD, and others that are only concerned when they struggle to scrape together a pass. Interestingly, it is not always the dedicated students who are the high achiever of students that dictates their results.
Intelligence is widely considered to be both innate and learnt. A 2014 study found a gene that was linked to intelligence. Those with a higher functioning NPTN (neuroplastin) gene performed better in intelligence tests. The results found that the performance of this gene was a very small percentage of factors that influenced intelligence. Other genetic factors have also been realised.
For those who learn easily and understand concepts quickly, it may not just be inherited genetics that contribute. As with most things in life, environmental factors impact whether or not we reach our full potential.
Lifestyle, priorities, socio-economic factors, culture, childhood experiences, attitude toward schooling and the attitude of family and friends all shape our intelligence levels and affect our grades. We are told to not judge ourselves by the achievements of others. It is difficult to do this when VCE students are ranked against one another and employers compare their job applicants.
Having the knowledge is one thing, but being able to recall and convey it in a comprehensive piece of writing is another task altogether. Recall and writing skills are partially dependent on intelligence levels, in addition to memory and concentration. Physical well being also plays a part. To improve university results, we have to put more time and effort into our studies and develop our memory and concentration skills.
Using mnemonics like rhymes, songs, acronyms and stories has been proven to aid information recall. A good example of this is the acronym ‘Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit’, which assists in remembering which musical note is on each line of the treble clef. Some foods have been credited with helping to improve memory including eggs, blueberries, fish and fish oil.
Removing distractions is vital during classes and while studying. Turn off your phone, and if you lack the self-control to keep Facebook closed, use an app or program that blocks social media for a set amount of time. Songs with lyrics are distracting for most people, so quietly play instrumental music instead. Create to-do lists, plan the time to study and get assignments completed around real-life commitments to keep life balanced.
Look after yourself. Getting enough sleep and eating and exercising regularly all contribute to performing at our best. Juggling has been attributed to improving brain function, so you may as well try to learn how to juggle. If nothing else, it gives you a reason to take a break from studying.