Tips from a Fourth Year Student!

Start your readings early, and keep on top of them. It's so easy to fall behind, and once you have it's so much harder to keep up. Also, having done the readings will make lectures easier to follow, and will make it easier for you to participate in tutorials (which is often required for marks) and ask questions.

Get to know your profs! It can be hard to do especially if you don't often have questions, but it is a good idea for so many reasons. Not only are they a great resource to have for getting references later, they are great people and you can learn a lot from talking to them during office hours. If you don't know what to ask them, go with a friend or two so you can feed off each other. Ask them about their research, or their teaching, or education, anything really! What will matter to them is that you're interested.

Go to class. You're paying for it! Even if it feels like you're not learning anything because you're too tired, or hungry, or can't pay attention - you are. At the very least you are thinking about the material for those hours you are there. I have a rule that if I have to miss a class, I need to spend at least that much time on my own learning the material. You may miss important information about exams, tests, marks, or material that is not in the textbook. As well, the number one way for your profs to get to know you is for them to see you there. At the same time, don't go to class if you're going to sit there on Facebook or playing games on your iPod. There is nothing more frustrating or distracting than trying to pay attention to the lecture with images flying across the screen of the person in front of you.

Get involved! Make a point of joining at least one extra-curricular activity. There are so many things to do at U of T; clubs, sports teams, executive councils, etc... They are a great way to meet people in other programs and colleges, and are invaluable as a break from studying and classes.

Make friends in your classes. Something as simple as saying hello to the person next to you can make you a new study buddy or even a lasting friend. Make plans to study with groups of people in your classes. Not only will it help you prepare much better for exams and tests as you can help each other, but you will often find you have lots in common since you're taking the same class. I've made several lasting friends this way!

Get a good night's sleep before an exam. Being alert and able to think clearly will help you much more than having stayed up all night studying.