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Ask this same question to the profs that you didn't get a 4.0 with. They will be able to tell you where you went wrong better than anyone on this forum. Then work on those areas (ie. writing papers, group work, presentations, exams/specific types of questions)
My two cents, the devil is in the details. I can't tell you the number of courses that I could have received a full letter grade higher if I didn't go, "Oh what are the chances that will be on the exam." or "whatever, its just a 5% presentation"

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I had a 4.0. The main thing to remember is every single point counts and always aim for 100%. I would often end up with an average in the 90s (my school considers 85 and + to be an A = 4.0). 

-Pick the right classes! Don't be afraid to ask people's thoughts on different classes! (My program was really small so I knew some of the upper years and Facebook messaged them with questions about which electives and professors to pick)

-Again, aim for 100% on midterms and assignments. You won't have to score as high on the finals and this will relieve a lot of the pressure/allow you to spend more time studying for a different class. 

-Manage your time well. If you're doing really well in one course, focus on one where you're having a lot of difficulty.

-Have a very consistent life. Sleep/wake-up at the same time, study at the same time every day, etc. Also, exercise!

-This doesn't work for every class (it doesnt work for visual classes like visceral anatomy), but I found that for very dense classes, creating condensed summary notes (after the midterm, but preferably after each week's material) was incredibly helpful for saving time when studying for the final.

-Plan ahead so that you're always done studying at least 48h before the exam. I liked to spend the remaining 48h group reviewing with friends. (I used google calendar to plan study times to ensure that I would be done studying in time)

-If your classes are recorded, it may be more effective to not go to class. Some people swear by going to class, but honestly, when you can watch the recording at 2x speed and pause to take notes, there's really no value in going to class.

Also, I'm quite dumb. I almost failed first and second years of high school and got into a relatively competitive program before getting into med, so anything is possible as long as you work hard!

Another note: since you're on this forum asking this question, you're probably not like the person I'm about to describe, but I know people whose focus is simply not in the right place. You're in university to learn, study, connect with people, get a degree and be successful. As childish as it seems, there are people who go into university with dreams of success but who are distracted by foolish things, such as searching for a partner, trying to be the most popular person in the room, etc. GPA is forever, friends/partners/social status are not! 

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Agreed with 1997's points. For me, the two things that improved my grades the most were:

1) Aim for 100s - don't be satisfied with anything less (but also don't get too hard on yourself if you don't achieve this - treat it like a fun challenge/game/sport)

2) Learn from your mistakes and actively plan to get around them. One of my biggest mistakes was that I put in the time, but I put it in too close to exams/midterms. I saw a huge jump in my marks when I simply re-distributed the time I spent studying from closer to exams, to like 2-3 weeks out. When exams rolled around, the majority of my studying was just reviewing on my phone in bed with intermittent naps (I rationalized all these naps by saying sleep was good for consolidation :P ). It was hard for me to force myself to study 3 weeks out from exams, so what I did was forced myself to pull all-nighters at the library/lab. I commuted, and the fact that the public transit stopped running past 1 am meant I was essentially forced to study for the entire night. 

And realize that you can never be perfect. I tried to get an OMSAS 4.0 for six years. Even during my best year, when everything went absolutely perfect, the closest I got was a 3.97. And this is fine, because you don't need to be perfect to get into medical school. And you certainly don't need to be perfect to be happy in life. 

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Thank you thank you thank you!

I really appreciate all of the helpful suggestions and tips. Like I said, I'm just a little disappointed with how I ended up doing this past year. Hopefully I see an improvement next year. I think a lot of my issues surround time management, especially when it comes to studying for midterms and finals. I will have to focus my efforts on those issues next year.

I find this forum to be extremely inspiring, and you girls/guys are the motivation for me pursuing degree #2. 

Thanks again.

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8 hours ago, heregoesnothing said:

Hopefully I see an improvement next year. I think a lot of my issues surround time management, especially when it comes to studying for midterms and finals. I will have to focus my efforts on those issues next year.

It seems that you have found the culprit that's holding you back from being a very bright and successful student! Yay! :) 

That being said, instead of focusing on your issue for next year and leaving it for next year, why don't you focus on it this year, this month, this day and Now! 

Every little steps count and if you start improving your time management now, it'll be much easier later on! I'm also currently in the quest of improving my time management for next year. I was told by one of my mentor to always try to do something today or now that my future self will thank me later. That's why I'm starting to improve my time management this summer because it's the perfect time to test out my discipline and to build good habits. I could easily say that I can sleep in late in the morning or late at night since it's summer and I don't have school but I'm forcing myself to wake up early or sleep on time as if I have school. That way, when school starts again, I've already built a strong foundation and good habit for my time management. Of course, mine could be different from yours, it was just an example but I've seen my productivity rising so far and I'm loving it!

So, from my Mentor's advice, I'm sharing with you his knowledge that he shared and gave me. I hope you found it helpful and best of luck! :) 

 

Ps: Think Positive my friend and good things will come to you! Good vibes! 

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Thank you for the reply, and thank you for calling me out on that! :P

I was referring more to my academic time management, which will resume again with my studies in the fall.

However, you are right, it's important to keep in the groove of things during the summer. My mind has been keeping active and engaged for the past 1.5 months that I have been on a break from school. I'm trying to pursue other activities during the summer that will make the transition back to school in the fall a little easier. 

Thanks again. :)

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