The golden rules here are:
- Work hard
- Take advice and every opportunity to develop your independent learning
- Look to help others.
Work hard. This is obvious I guess. And something you would expect to be said. However, it is actually crucial.
One of the main issues for any student on the Diploma programme is the fact that you will be studying 6 subjects (plus Theory of Knowledge). And ultimately, all of the subjects are important because they all contribute to the final points on the Diploma. This will require a lot of hard work – not only because the subjects are all quite tough, but also because they will normally all need an amount of background reading – which takes time.
You need to start the Diploma making sure that you always place your academic work as your first priority. Focus on your lessons and make sure you get the very best from them.
It is worth spending a quick moment just making sure the above statement is understood – most students have teachers they like and teachers they do not like. And these terms are really a reference to ‘teaching style’ – some teachers have a teaching style that is easy to learn from and others are not quite the same. But all students that are aiming for success need to cope with all different teaching styles. So for every lesson, make sure that you are prepared:
- Have you read the notes from the last lesson?
- Are you thinking about the work being covered and talking to other students about it?
- If there are parts you do not understand, do you ask questions?
It is really important to give some thought to how ‘you’ are going to try to ensure that each lesson is good.
At the end of every week, or fortnight, the notes for the different subjects should be re-read – just to remind you of what has been done.
Homework should not be rushed
It should always try to be something you are proud to have associated with you. Try your best and start the work early. If you are given a week to get the work done, then start it the night you get it. In this way, if some of it is really tough, you have a week to work on it. And don’t forget, you can go to your teacher and ask for some advice on how to approach the work.
Parts of this were referred to above. You need to find time every week to do background reading. This will broaden your knowledge and make sure that for ‘wordy’ subjects, there is a lot of good content. You also need to find time to re-read your notes on a regular basis. This will ensure your factual recall is good. Also homework should be started early and always done as well as possible. It should not be acceptable to you to simply not do a question because it is tough – those are the good questions to work on – the challenging ones.
One of the best ways of learning something is to teach it. Start by getting together with other students from your class and working on the homework together – help each other. Also see if there are other students, maybe in lower years below you, that are doing similar subjects, and when they get stuck, help them – it will make a HUGE difference.
Taking the above advice is not easy. It takes time and effort and sometimes is frustrating. But it will make you a powerful learner and give you every chance to reach (or even exceed) your potential. And this will serve you well at the next level – university.