How to get great grades while studying abroad

Vyt at Tianjun port

There’s so much to see and do while studying abroad that it can be all too easy to lose site of your studies!

Lithuanian student Vytautas, who’s doing an MA in China at INTO Nankai University, shares his tips on how to get great grades – while still having a fantastic time…

Being an international student is like a clean canvas: you move to a new place, meet lots of new people from all over the world and explore on a daily basis. But remember – you are called a “student” for a reason, and there comes a point when you have to open the books that you might have been avoiding! I’ve been studying abroad for a while now and these are my tips on how make a success of it:

1. Start preparing early
I don’t mean finishing your assignments months before the deadline (great job if you can, though!). Simply spend some time doing things related to your subject – read an article, watch a documentary and so on. This could be very helpful in preparing you for “D-Day” (deadline day).Vyt on bike

2. Organise your notes
Absolutely crucial. Every time you read something related to your subject, jot down some notes on it. It will only take you a few minutes but will save you hours later on. Although EndNote is the oldest and most well-known referencing software, there are plenty of free alternatives, Zotero being my favourite.

3. Rest well and eat well
Make sure you eat lots of fruits and veg, drink lots of water and get enough sleep. You can pull off an all-nighter here or there, but it’s not a strategy for the long run. So make sure you keep your body and brain fresh, especially during the most intensive periods.

4. Take breaks and enjoy yourselfVyt with friends Meet people, go to a museum, go on a hike – do whatever relaxes you. From my experience, when you take some time out, you’ll often be able to see the topic you’re studying from a fresh perspective and you’ll come back to it fully energised.

5. Find out what works for you
This might not sound like crucial advice, but I think it’s the most important on the list. Even though I prefer to work alone in my room late in the evening, you might be more productive in an afternoon study group in the library or in a coffee shop. Find what works for you and you’ll do great.

Vytautas is studying for the MA in International Economics and Business at INTO Nankai University in Tianjin, China.

Find out more about studying in China, the UK or the US with INTO Higher.

You might also like: What’s it like studying in China?, How to succeed at studying abroad or 6 secrets to writing a great essay.

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