Kaitlin: Recover from your study letdown in 5 easy steps

Kaitlin is studying a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Business, majoring in public relations and marketing. Some of her favourite things are pizza, Shakespeare, the band Ball Park Music and the TV show Friends.


Oh grades release. It can be such a bittersweet time. Maybe you’ve surprised yourself with a great result you didn’t expect. Or maybe your final overall mark wasn’t quite what you had hoped. If last semester wasn’t your best, now is the time to make some positive changes to make sure you achieve the best you can next time results release rolls around. The Library is an awesome source of support that can help you get back on track. All you need to do is tackle your assessments one by one, using the following steps.

Step 1. Find out exactly what went wrong 
I know it’s hard, but looking at the marking criteria in your assignment or exam is how you learn. Pay close attention to what the marker says and identify where your weaknesses are and write them in a list. Do you need to improve on your research skills? Referencing perhaps? Or do you need to spend more time studying overall to improve your grasp on course concepts? Recognising these things now will help you in the long run and gives you a starting point for your road to improvement.

Step 2. Shake it off! 
The haters gonna hate. Don’t let negative or disappointing comments get you down. Instead, use them to drive you to succeed. Remember, assignment feedback is constructive and extremely valuable. Make the most of this opportunity and learn from your mistakes. Then, once you’ve learnt from this experience, let it go! Don’t keep putting yourself down or re-visiting your mistakes. You’ve already made a list of areas for improvement, so now it’s time to focus your attention on the future!

Step 3. Tackle your next assignment strategically 
Print out both the task sheet and marking criteria. Read them both through at least twice and then highlight the key points of the task, and exactly what you need to deliver (on the marking criteria) in order to get the grade you’re aiming for. You should use both documents as a checklist of items you need to complete before submitting your assignment. If you’re not sure what’s being asked of you or how to meet the specific criteria (especially when it comes to research or referencing) speak to one of USQ’s friendly Librarians.

Step 4. Make sure you use a variety of resources 
This includes books, documentaries, websites, databases – whatever you can find that’s relevant. Just make sure they’re quality, reliable resources so you know you’re getting the best information to succeed. If you need help improving your research skills try the Study and research toolkit on the Library website or talk to a member of the Library staff.

Step 5. Take the time to reference properly
It may only be worth a relatively small percentage of the assignment marks, but it all adds up. Plus, by the time you need to reference you’ve already done the hard work of researching and working your findings into your assignment, so to give up on your referencing is to throw away easy marks! Not to mention, referencing is extremely important for your academic and professional career given that plagiarism is a serious offence at uni. The USQ Library has an easy to use and super comprehensive referencing guide. Make sure you pay it a visit!

Remember, just because you’ve experienced a study letdown in the past, that doesn’t need to limit your ability to succeed in the future. By taking the time to understand where you went wrong and how you can improve in future assessments, you’ll be celebrating results release day in no time!

If you need any help along the way don’t be afraid to chat to the Library staff in person, online or Ask USQ.


Related:

Emma: What to do after a study let down: bouncing back after a fail

Kaitlin: How to research like a pro

Cathy: How to upgrade your mental resilience