It is always shocking to see English students graduate with poor grades despite working indefatigably to earn good grades. As regards this issue, it’s never a good idea to blame their lecturers because the fault is entirely that of the students.
Studying English in any Nigerian university requires smartness. The slogan is WORK SMART, not work hard. Unlike the smart ones, those who worked hard made the following errors:
1. They were busy trying to read all literary texts given to them.
What makes you think you can read over 60 literary texts given to you by your lecturers in 12 or 13 weeks without having problems in your language courses? Time will definitely fail you!
If you must succeed in English department, you must know what text to read. Read some, and get detailed summaries (online) for others. Summaries do us a lot of good.
2. They fail to present their essays properly
In English department, proper presentation of materials when answering a question is necessary for passing. You may get the correct answer to a question, but if your answer is not articulated, you may not get full marks.
3. They didn’t study with open minds
Many English students study with closed minds. An open mind is needed to succeed in the department. The course needs one’s mind to be open, flexible and creative.
Don’t be too comfortable with your own knowledge or with what your lecturer has taught you in class. Get novel ideas from people, go beyond classroom lectures to know more, and creatively merge these ideas to form unique contents.
4. They failed to pay attention to details
70% of English lecturers indirectly tell their students in lecture rooms the type of questions they should expect in their exams and how to answer them. It takes only a smart student to understand such implicit message and prepare ahead of time.
If you are not smart enough to understand this message, you should be wise enough to ask your senior colleagues about how your lecturers operate their likes and dislikes with regard to exams.
5. They studied without past questions
Many English students prepare for a course without making reference its past questions. Take it or leave it, past questions are beautiful guides. They prepare your mind on what to expect in a particular course, especially when that course is being taught by the same lecturer.
After reading for a particular course, try to answer the past questions of that course until you are satisfied. You will be happy to see your pen move with ease on your paper should any of these past questions appear in an exam.
One of the annoying facts of studying English in school is making a poor grade in a course you feel you have written well.
Don’t you think one of the aforementioned reasons is the cause? I graduated with a CGPA of 4.08 from the Department of English and Literary Studies, Niger Delta University. I won’t say I worked hard; I worked smart instead.
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