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I'm currently going into my second year of physpharm with a CWA of 72%. I feel terrible about that grade and don't know how else to raise it. I've completely changed my studying habits, notetaking, and schedule. I've also tried studying for weeks and days in advance, but I still do terrible in exams :( I'm just super disappointed because I try so hard but my anxiety about needing to do well gets in the way, especially when it comes to exams.  

Any advice? Thanks in advance!

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Hey I'm sorry  you feel that way and I hope your grades improve.  My first year wasn't exactly the best either.  Let me tell you what works for me.  It's a fair amount of work but It gets good results.  One of the main reasons that people do poorly is because they don't stay on track with the course.  They leave everything to the last week or so before an exam.  Some can do it and get good grades, but lots(like me) just isn't enough.  Here is what I suggest you do to maybe reinforce the material a little more.

1. Most profs post their notes before the lecture.  Take a quick look over them.  Even 15-30 minutes is good.  This way you will go into class already knowing what will be talked about and you will also have questions in mind that you may want to ask the prof.  ASK QUESTIONS IF YOU'RE UNSURE.  Trust me, doing this really helps with paying attention and keeping up with the lecture.

2. Like mentioned above, be active in the lecture. Ask questions.  I know it can be a little scary asking questions especially in a class of 200+ people.  However, after a while its just a common thing you do and will have nothing to fear.  Chances are others will have the same question so no worries!  Most profs like when you ask questions and if you are asking questions regularly they will get to know you, which brings me to my next point.

3.  Go to office hours if they are available.  Even if you completely understand the lecture but have questions regarding something that is related or something that applies, go ask!  almost nobody ever goes to office hours which is why lots of profs don't even have them.  If they don't have them just email them and see if you can go see them at some point.  I have emailed dozens of profs and they have all been very welcoming.

4.  After all your lectures are done review what you went over for that day and reinforce that material.  Mark the stuff that is difficult and know the stuff that is easy ( I usually colour code).  KNOW WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW.  Don't spend lots of time reviewing the basic stuff you know, instead spend time in the stuff you don't know.

5.  Go over all your notes for the week on the weekend, this will be easier than you think because you have already been through the stuff 3 times so you will know a lot it already.

6.  A couple of weeks before the exam start going through everything that will be tested.  I do this so it doesn't pile up on me 2 days before an exam.  And again if you don't understand something speak to the prof right away don't wait until the last second when everyone else is emailing him/her.


Some side points:

7.  Make a schedule for the week and check stuff off ask you complete them.  For me this gives me a boost of motivation to keep going and knocking other things off the list.

8.  Take breaks! breaks are very important even if you're behind.  I study for like 40 minutes and then take like 10 minute break.  Your mind can only be focused for so long.

9.  Go out and do stuff! don't spend 100% of the time studying.  Go out with friends and have fun otherwise you will get super stressed (I have been through it).

10.  Go to "exam taking crash courses" or looking them up online.  Most exams in Physpharm are MC exams and there are many strategies you can learn about taking MC exams.

11. It's Ok to stress a little bit but remember there is always something you can do to fix your grades or improve your chances.  I know its easier said than done but I also had this problem my second year and I changed my mentality to focus on the present (crushing my classes then) and take things one step at a time.  It was only one year so you have lots of time to get those grades up :).  

Again, this is stuff that worked for me.  It may or may not work for you but its worth the shot.  I hope your grades reach your goal and I hope that everything works out for you :)!  Best of luck!

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