Repeating a subject? Here’s how to avoid making the same mistakes

You’ve decided to give that tough subject another go. First up, you should be proud that you’re reattempting a subject in pursuit of your goals – that takes grit.

There are a whole bunch of people at La Trobe who are ready to assist you to successfully complete your subject the second time around.

Here are six things you can do to set yourself up for success.

1. Seek help early and often

Everyone at La Trobe wants you to succeed. There are services and resources for any type of academic assistance you need.

Get help face-to-face on campus at the Learning Hub. Speak to a Peer Learning Adviser about everything from time management to referencing. Chat to a librarian about finding resources or speak to a specialist at the maths or science hubs on campus.

Don’t feel like meeting with someone face-to-face? No problem! Jump online and log in to Studiosity through the LMS to chat live to an expert – they’re ready to answer your questions. Studiosity also allows you to upload your assignment and get feedback online.

You can and should, of course, speak with your lecturers, tutors and subject coordinators. They know the course content best, so make sure you get in touch.

2. Be honest about the cause behind repeating

Did you fall into some bad habits the first time round? Perhaps you just flat out didn’t understand a lot of the content and needed some extra help. Don’t make the same mistakes. Be honest about the cause behind needing to repeat, and address it.

Make a plan and get across the support services available to you to prevent you from falling into the same situation. Reach out for help, which brings us to the next point…

3. Find support for personal issues

Sometimes life gets in the way. It happens. There’s support available. Access the University’s free counselling service, and chat to someone about strategies you can implement this semester.

Make sure your work schedule is realistic – if you need to cut back on a few shifts to achieve success at Uni, do it. If you’re struggling find the motivation to get to Uni, layout a plan to make it happen and commit to it.

Get free financial advice from the LTSU’s Financial Counselling service. Financial Counsellors are qualified professionals who provide free, non-judgemental information, support and advocacy to people in financial difficulty. They’re available by phone and via face-to-face appointments.

4. Set up a study group to stay motivated

Get to know other people in your class who might be interested in setting up a study group. Organise a time and a place to physically meet on campus each week to study together. Once you’ve committed to a time, stick to it. Hold each other accountable. Use one other as a sounding board for your questions, and explain your answers to each other too. This will help you to better understand the content.

It’s taken majority of my degree to own up to the fact that teaching other people (as embarrassing as it might seem) is actually extremely helpful for learning the content your studying.  If you can teach someone the content, then chances are you know the content yourself.  I also tend to find I remember things that I say to other people (particularly if they’re extremely silly) and so don’t be afraid to make it really fun.”

Grace Shing-Francis, La Trobe student

5. Check in regularly

Your subject coordinator and tutor will likely know this is your second attempt at your subject, and they’ll want to support you as much as they can to make sure this time is a success. Make a time to meet with them in the first few weeks and take along any questions you may have about the subject and its requirements. They’ll be able to share advice and point you in the direction of relevant support services. Check back in with them repeatedly as you go.

6. Get organised

Calculate how much time you’ll need to put aside using La Trobe’s very own Assessment Planner.

Once you have your schedule, organise a friend or peer to be your “deadline motivator” and check in with them regularly to help you stay on track.

There’s a calendar built in to the LMS – make use of it and export it to your calendar on your phone for reminders on-the-go.

There are also lots of free study planning apps available. Add your exam timetables into the calendar of the My Study Life App or the Egenda App, add tasks and set reminders to stay on track. Quiz yourself on your knowledge with the Quizlet App or use the Tinycards App to make your own digital flashcards. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep with the Sleep Cycle App. Use the Evernote App to create and stick to your To Do List.

Get tips on time management from those who know best – high performing La Trobe students. Speak to a Peer Learning Adviser at the Learning Hub.