Study Skills Initiative: Perform a Semester Post-Mortem

Now that the semester’s over, you may have dreams of television, sleep, and even the beach in front of you. Still, before you let go entirely of this semester, do one more thing: perform a post-mortem.

In television series, the detective goes to the morgue to talk to the doc who has the body on the slab. And the doctor says the cause of death, how long the person’s been dead, what he had for dinner, and various other clues that help the police solve the crime. 

Do the same thing with your courses this semester. Take each one, lay it up on the slab, and take apart your study habits for each one. Be ruthless, for it is the only way to determine what caused problems and how to find solutions. Ask yourself questions:

  • Did my time management get in the way of my success? Did I sign up for 8 a.m. classes and then couldn’t get up until 7:45? Did my tardiness affect my grades? Did I take too many classes? Did I take too few?
  • What did I do in class? Was I texting, surfing online, daydreaming about the weekend? Did I take notes or just rely on the PowerPoint slides?
  • Did I use my time outside of class wisely? Did I read my textbooks so that I’d be ready for class or did my textbooks serve as a room decoration? Did I give myself enough time to revise written assignments or was I writing them on my way to class the morning they were due?
  • How was my relationship with my professors? Did I know their names, the location of their offices, and their email addresses? Did I make use of their office hours?
  • Did I use campus services? Did I go to the library? Learning Center? Counseling Center?

If your semester didn’t turn out the way you wanted, then discover why by analyzing what went wrong. Don’t wait until the start of the next term. This semester, for better or worse, is still fresh in your mind. Write down your improvements, and put the list where you’ll see it first thing next term 🙂

Have a great break!


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