Three Important Questions to Ask Yourself at the End of the School Year
With classes and final exams completed, you are probably relaxing into the first days of summer break. But wait! Before you go enjoy the hot summer days, take some time to reflect on the school year you just had. Why? Because self-reflection can help you better evaluate your academic performance and also help you discover who you are!
Here are three simple questions to get you started!
Question 1: What did you do well?
This question is not as simple as “I did well in Biology because I got an A”. Yes, an overall grade is an important measure of your academic performance but it does not provide a complete picture. It is equally important to know how you got the grades. From there, you can identify areas of strength and apply these study techniques and habits to future related courses.
For example, a student may do well on quizzes and exams in Biology and find that reviewing the class notes daily, writing short summaries for each chapters and using cue cards for memorization helped her achieve high grades. As you can see, looking at the overall grade of any course does not give you the level of information in the above example.
Therefore, take a closer look and ask yourself: how were you able to achieve such a good grade – what was your routine? What study techniques did you use?
Question 2: What are some areas for improvement?
Similarly, areas for improvement can also be identified by looking beyond the overall grade. For instance, a student obtained A- in Biology but struggled in oral presentations. As a result, the student can find resources to help with oral presentations and search for opportunities to improve communication skills.
In addition to academic performance, it is critical to examine specific skills that required some improvement. Did you find yourself cramming for exams or pulling all-nighters to finish assignments? If so, this may indicate that you need to strengthen your time management and organizational skills.
For example, I use my smartphone to set weekly or monthly reminders of upcoming exams and assignments. This helps me keep track of assignments and encourages me to start early to avoid cramming or pulling all-nighters!
Question 3: What are your goals for the next school year?
After critically thinking about your strengths and areas for improvement, it is time to set some goals for the next school year. What are your top three goals for the upcoming school year? The goals should be positive and realistic1.
Goals should be positive to promote positive thinking, which is an important factor of success. Goals should be realistic because you do not want to set yourself up for failure or disappointment, which may lead to loss of confidence.
Lastly, do not forget to set objectives for each of your goals so that you can stay on track and reward yourself along the way! The goals must also be specific, clearly written, and connected with practical actions 2. An example of a goal that embodies these characteristics can be: “I aim to obtain a 90% in Biology by reviewing and summarizing notes after each class, setting bi-weekly reminders of assignments, quizzes and exams, and forming a study group to exchange knowledge.”
I hope that by answering these questions, you can evaluate your academic performance and better understand your work habits, skills, and areas of interest. Enjoy the summer!