I’ve had my fair share of disappointing grades throughout my two years at U of T. Sometimes, life doesn’t go the way I want it to go – I may have gone through a real busy week, or I just wasn’t in the right headspace to get some studying in. Whatever the case was, my grades unfortunately had to suffer for it and I have to deal with the aftermath of it.
When I get a disappointing grade, the first thing I do is assess why I got that grade. I ask myself questions like “did I procrastinate too much?”, “did I miss something in lecture?”, “Did I understand the concepts well enough?”. Understanding the reason for the grade helps me to navigate my way forward.
After I get my paper, I like to do a review of what I got right and crack down on what I got wrong. A technique I use to review my midterms and assignments is the MARKS technique. Engineering has a lot of math involved and this technique has been really helpful in technical courses and can be modified for theoretical courses too!
The MARKS Acronym stands for:
M – Maths error- I identify if it was a mistake I made during calculations
A – Application – I identify if I did not apply a concept well enough, or I did not apply the right concept.
R – Read the question – I identify if i made a mistake because I did not read the question.
K – Knowledge – I identify if I did not know how to approach the question.
S – Statement – I identify if I missed key points in my explanation.
I’ve found this technique to be quite useful in getting me back on track and helping me get better at the course. Most of the time when going through the reasons for my bad grade, I realise that with just a little more focus and a few more SMART study sessions my grades get a lot better.
As we go in to exam season, are there any techniques you’ve found useful?
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