So you are enrolled in your new course and have the bright shiny course work sitting on your desk. You rifle through the material looking for a place to start, it is all so new and all so…so… academic!
You grumble to yourself something along the lines of ‘I will need a dictionary just to understand the question’ or ‘Why can’t they put this all in layman’s terms?’ Coming from a fellow student – I know your pain! Don’t be put off by the big words, you will soon learn to decipher all that academia and if you are not careful you will start talking it too!
First things first, what you need to ensure is that you have a clear idea on how to progress through the course, here are some tips to keep you sane over the enrolment period:
Ask for a schedule – this will keep you on track with upcoming deadlines and you can tick each module off as you progress. A good schedule will ensure that you do not have all the complicated modules left at the end, you want to tackle the complicated stuff where possible throughout the enrolment period. It is a good motivator and prepares you well for upcoming modules.
Give full answers when completing assessments/assignments – mind reading is not one of your assessors many talents, if they do not understand it, it will get sent back to you requesting for more information. You need to put your answer in the right context and where possible offer an example to back it up. Ask a colleague or manager to read through your answer to see if it makes sense, if they look confused, chances are it needs more work. As our mothers used to say while we rolled our eyes ‘if you are going to do it, do it well’.
Complete one module at a time – keep with it until the bitter end, don’t allow yourself to be tempted to start another module, all you will have then is two on the go and you will leave you brain open to confusion and have it begging for chocolate and a strong coffee. One step at a time and you will get through.
Bounce your assessments/assignment ideas past your manager or subject-matter expert – a fresh set of eyes is great when you can no longer see the forest for the trees. They tend to offer tips and points that never crossed your mind and leave you wondering what planet you were on at the time!
Celebrate your success! – Passing an assessment is a FANTASTIC achievement. Pat yourself on the back and gloat to your friends on facebook! More importantly, start the next module while you are still on a high from passing the last one – it works wonders!
By breaking your study modules down into chunks you avoid going off track or lagging behind. Remember the reasons why you wanted to complete the course in the first place and just take one step at a time. If you are stuck, ask for help, if you are unmotivated set up a reward you can have once you have finished your study.
Go get ‘em tiger. You can do it!