Business Degree Study Tips

Read these 9 Business Degree Study Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Business Degree tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Managing Exam Anxiety

There are some individuals who break out in a sweat at the mere mention of an exam. There's something about the word “exam” and the implications surrounding it that create a host of emotional, behavioral, and physiological symptoms including nausea, heart palpitations, heartburn, anxiety, depression, anger, fear, shaking, insomnia, etc.

The worst part of this crippling anxiety is the impact on your grades. While some people thrive on a little adrenaline, others look down at the exam and completely go blank. The information was there a minute ago, but now panic has set in and its gone.

The solution is to determine where the anxiety is coming from and then targeting that problem.

  • Are you well-prepared to write the exam, or did you wait until the last minute to cram?
  • Have you maintained organized learning materials all along, paying attention in class and taking notes, or have you missed a lot of class time?
  • How is your health? Certain medications can cause drowsiness and memory loss.
It's important to pinpoint the real reason behind the anxiety. While exam anxiety may not disappear entirely, being honest with yourself about study habits, and taking steps to improve them, will help you sail through the next exam.


Improve Your Grades By Improving Your Memory

Memory can be affected by a number of things including age, certain medications, stress, anxiety depression, fatigue, etc. As a hard-working professional aiming for a business degree, any number of the above physiological symptoms could affect you at any time, making it harder to succeed. Take heart, however. There are things you can do to improve your memory including the following:

  • Repeat what you've heard. Take notes and read them back to yourself silently during class and again out loud after class.
  • Tape lectures if possible.
  • Try to maintain as much healthy balance in your life as you can. Get regular sleep, exercise, and maintain a healthy diet for optimum health.
  • Use word associations to help you remember key concepts. Need to remember three important names, try to associate them with people you know well, or visualize faces to the names.
  • Take the first letters or syllables of a string of words to form a new word that spells out the information. For example: M.A.P.S. (Maple, Apple, Pine, Spruce)
Memory is served best when your attention is focused and clear of intruding thoughts or worries. Blocking those thoughts isn't easy. Allow yourself certain times during the day to really hash out things that are worrying or bothering you so that when it comes time to get down to some serious studying, your mind will be able to absorb the material.


Overcome Procrastination

People procrastinate for a number of reasons. Perhaps the task at hand is too overwhelming, there are too many other things to do, or there's performance anxiety attached to the task. As a full-time professional working toward a business degree, or a full-time student lost in a sea of assignments and projects, procrastinating could become a problem.

It's important to remember that just because you can't complete an entire task right away, doesn't mean you have to procrastinate. Breaking down large tasks into small, manageable tasks, is a great way to plow through procrastination. The result? Less anxiety just before the assignment is due. By working away at a task in small, manageable chunks, you're probably working more efficiently and effectively, thus presenting a final product of quality. Here are some tricks to break through procrastination:

  • Keep documents and text well organized throughout your course of study. This will help avoid confusion and wasted time trying to find important information.
  • Create a To Do list that spans several days up to the point that the project/assignment is due. This will keep you on track, while providing direction
  • Eliminate negative self-talk and doubt. Recognize that the twinge of anxiety you're feeling is what's pushing you to procrastinate. That anxiety is likely caused by a fear of poor performance, but if you're working a little at a time, taking care to produce quality work, poor performance won't be an issue.
The important thing is to stay on track. You're going to have to finish your assignment sooner or later and the sooner you start, the more time you'll have to revise, edit and polish your work to perfection.


Organizing Completed Work

Organizing your resource materials, assignments, due dates, tests, etc., is important when working toward an online or traditional degree/diploma. It's equally important, however, to keep track of your completed work. It's not necessary to hang on to every email or piece of paper that comes your way, but you should keep the following information for future reference:

  • A copy of the course description.
  • A copy of your test, grade, and comments made by the instructor, if any.
  • A copy of your final unofficial transcripts.
  • Any feedback received from the instructor regarding the course of study and your progress.
  • A list of the learning outcomes.
  • A list of textbooks used.
  • Any additional workshops or practical study related to the course.

The reason for keeping track of what you've done is to provide sound documentation should you wish to challenge for credit in the future. You may not think you'll ever need the information, but when you do, you'll be glad you have it.


Punctuation Refresher

As a full or part-time student, you'll be called upon to write various reports and assignments. Understanding the key concepts of grammar and punctuation will take you far, so don't underestimate the importance of proper spelling, punctuation, grammar, avoiding run-on sentences, and other faux-pas of the writing world.

Purchasing a writer's handbook for easy reference can be used in the classroom or at work and will offer advice and guidance on the proper use of commas, apostrophes, prepositional phrases, proper use of colons and semicolons, dashes, exclamation marks, parentheses, hyphens, and brackets, to name a few.

In today's cryptic and abbreviated world of text messaging and email, it's not surprising to discover our grammatical muscles are weaker than we remember. A little self-training with a good reference guide will be invaluable in any writing assignments you encounter.

Bonus tip: Make a list of your common grammatical errors and keep it posted next to your computer for easy reference.


Finding Help With Textbook Publishers

The textbooks used in college and universities can only go so far, offering a set number of practice exercises, quizzes, answer keys, etc. The best way to learn a new concept is to practice it often, come at it from different angles, and think about the problem in a critical way.

Publishers of higher education textbooks like Pearson and Prentice Hall offer valuable resources to students directly from their websites. Offering well designed and easy to use websites, major publishers offer a place for students to extend the learning obtained from the textbook, thus providing an expanded training ground.

For students who've purchased textbooks, there may be CD's at the back of the book that can be used, or student codes to use for accessing additional resources related to the textbook. However, you don't have to have purchased a textbook to find resources from the publisher's website. Pearson Education Canada, for example, offers a new Research Navigator to students as way to do fast, reliable researches using exclusive databases.

So, the next time you're looking for additional resources or help, don't forget to visit the publisher of your textbook.


Personal Counseling For Student Success

As a student working toward a business degree or diploma, you may be faced with various stressors or health problems that threaten to detract from your education. Students are more than just people paying tuition fees, they're professionals working full-time jobs and studying at night or online, they're single mothers, people with disabilities, people with learning disabilities, people with mental health illnesses, etc. Are you one of these people?

Perhaps you enrolled in a full or part-time diploma program fully intending to complete your education within a specified period of time. Then, out of the blue, sickness befalls you or someone in your family. There could be a financial crisis or an emotional roller-coaster that ensues. Years ago, students were left on their own to come up with their own solutions. Oftentimes, that meant quitting or postponing post-secondary education for an indefinite period of time.

Thankfully, things have changed in the academic world. Colleges and universities are providing more and more services to students and, as a result, students are getting the assistance they need to complete post-secondary education. Many schools offer onsite psychological counseling for students suffering loss, hardships, or other general life uncertainties. Counselors offer free (for registered students) sessions and assist with solutions based assistance.

Depending on the situation, it may be in your best interest to step away from the academic arena for a while. However, you might just find the help you need to continue on with counseling services


When The Bar Is Too High

In junior high or high school, there was always a parent who blamed the teachers for everything. It didn't matter that little Johnny missed a lot of class, didn't pay attention, and had a bad attitude. It was the teacher's fault.

As an adult-learner working toward a business degree or diploma, you see things differently. You know that you're responsible for completing the work, studying diligently, and being organized and efficient. So what happens when all of those things are in place, and you still fail miserably on a test or exam? Is it the teacher's fault? Sometimes, it is.

One way to assess the situation is to look at the overall class average. If everyone has been working along nicely and then all of a sudden the entire class (or most of the class) fails or comes up with a low grade, it might be the teacher. Perhaps the expectations or course outcomes weren't clearly explained, or perhaps the instructor's expectations were too high, or not clearly articulated. If you feel this is the situation, consider speaking with the instructor to find out how you could have done better.

Talk to the other students to determine if a key concept wasn't understood or taught adequately before the exam. Through open discussion, you may be pleasantly surprised to uncover a solution. If all else fails, you may need to speak with the registrar or course advisor about an appeal.


Buying Text Books - New Or Used?

Books are expensive. There's no question about it. Textbooks can cost over $100 per book and, depending on how many you need, can cost a small fortune. Do you really need that brand new plastic wrapped textbook though? If you're working toward a full-time business diploma or degree, you may want the advantages that come with a new textbook. For example:

  • It's yours to do as you please. You can make notes in the margins, highlight text, and underline as much as you want.
  • A newly purchased book as recommended by the college or university is probably going to be the newest edition.
  • Provided the book is still in good condition when you're through with it, you might be able to sell it to recoup some of your costs.
On the other hand, if you're taking a few credits here and there to complete your degree or diploma, you might want to consider purchasing second-hand books. Check with the school to see if recent grads have posted notices on the bulletin boards regarding textbooks for sale, or spread word that you're interested in purchasing second-hand books. Second-hand books are a great way to save money, but make sure that the books are in reasonable condition before purchasing.

Important tip: Make sure the book is the most recent edition, or closely matches the required text.

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