Started my university life in 2019, at that time things seemed quite favorable and matters were like a cup of tea. I scored a lofty 91% in intermediate and my initial plans were to go with the same methods and plans as intermediate in university life. When I confronted everything, the first blow to hit me was at this notion of mine. It was an act of folly to apply the methods of intermediate in university life.

College and University are solely different platforms, college demands you to be study-oriented 24/7 and you can survive lavishly by doing so. On the other hand, university demands more than that. Here you have to be unequivocally and equally active in curricular and extracurricular activities. University life comes in that part of age, during which you get a sense of maturity and adulthood. Packed with responsibilities, studies, and teen-oriented dreams and attractions this life is like a river that demands to be drowned. The terrible moment is when you fail to carry out the tasks simultaneously and start to lack in any one of them.

After spending three years in this hustle and bustle, I understood this system and developed a way to lead a productive university life.

My degree is going to finish me.

It isn’t. Many of the pseudo-pandits will say that smart work matters here not the hard work. The same pseudo-pandits will run short of words when they are interrogated about smart work. We intend to do smart work but end up doing arbitrary hard work. Some of the smart works,

It all starts with the lecture.

The most important phase of a course is the lecture. I often suggest, noting down the lecture, in this way you will have a blueprint of what was taught in the class and you will smartly escape the small attacks of sleep that everyone gets during the lecture. The greatest hurdle that ceases one’s attention during the lecture is the dizziness or recurring episodes of sleep. It can only be countered by noting the lecture in a notebook. This way you will manage to distract yourself from sleep and will tell yourself that there is a more important task to do.

Doing your tasks daily/weekly.

Doing your tasks regularly has been an integral part of this education system and to be honest, this is the only useful thing that is present in this punctured system. Some students think, they have to spare 12 hours per day to study diligently or they have to remain awake till 2 am for covering their syllabus. It isn’t like this, giving your studies 2 hours per day is sufficient and will help you a lot. Not more than that and not less than that. In these 2 hours, you will cover the lectures or the topics taught by the instructor during the class. By doing so, you’ll be covering the syllabus simultaneously and will be prepared for the upcoming quizzes and exams. If a student somehow doesn’t get 2 hours per day then he can give 1 hour per course during weekends to cover the topics taught in the past week. I used the latter method in my 6th semester and it helped a lot as I had a busy routine during the weekdays.

Why the hell I can’t concentrate.

Lack of concentration, and the inability to focus, all these problems are faced by the students when they intend to study. The best method to overcome this lack of concentration is the Pomodoro technique. It encourages people to work with the time they have rather than against it. Here you divide your routine into 25-minute chunks separated by 5-minute breaks. These intervals are referred to as pomodoros and after 4 Pomodoro you take a break of 15 to 20 minutes. In simple terms, you tend to work for 25 minutes and once these 25 minutes are over you take a break of 5 minutes. Here you will get yourself focused to do the work in 25 minutes and enjoy the break after that. I applied this method when I had to study a difficult or boring topic. Who the hell wants to study Neutraceuticals, let’s do it with a 5-minute break after every 25 minutes. In this way, I structured my routine and managed breaks within the sessions.

Why is it taking too long?

When studying something lengthy like Pharmacology of Antifungal drugs, you will see yourself taking the whole day to memorize and understand a chapter of mere 10 pages. This happens when you have not set any limits. Cyril Northcote Parkinson 1955 wrote a humorous essay for The Economist where he mentioned a woman who spent an entire day writing a postcard. You can read the whole article here.

Long story short, Parkinson states that work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion. In simpler words, decide that you have to read and memorize that chapter in 2 hours. When you have allotted a certain time for it, it will get accomplished in that given time of 2 hours. I usually instead of giving a whole day to a chapter give 2–3 hours to each chapter and completes the task in it. Many of the pseudo-pandits come to me arguing that they wholly study in this whole day task. But it is not the amount of time given to each task that decides for how long it will stay in your head but the active recalls or repetitive revisions that will decide it.

Why do I keep on forgetting the same thing?

Ali Abdaal and co came up with the idea of active recall to remember and retrieve things easily. The active recall involves retrieving information from memory through essentially testing yourself at every stage of your revision. The act of retrieval not only helps us to retain that information in our brains but also strengthens the connections between different concepts. One of the key strategies for active recalling is to close your book and then write key concepts and key points on a page. Then open the book and add what you have missed. Flashcards can also be an effective way of actively recalling things.

I used this method in Pharmacology, in the first two semesters of Pharmacology I focused on reading the content again and again. But in the 3rd semester, I decided to try this technique. Firstly, I would memorize and read the whole chapter in 2 hours and then make notes on paper of the key points and concepts that I remembered. After that, I would add the missed points. This made me learn Pharmacology more effectively and simply.

To read the complete article of Ali Abdal on Active recall click here.


Another essential method to scoring a high GPA in university is to scheme out everything. As you all know, in university the GPA is determined by many various sections. The finals account for 50%, midterm account for 40%, and so and so. In this way, you can determine and set your goals and score to get a high GPA. Do not be too hard on yourself and do not be too lenient. Set the goals you want to get and make the overall score an A. This is the best part of university life’s grading system.

By using and implementing all these methods you can help yourself to stay focused and strive to score a high GPA.



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Sharf ud Din

Sharf ud Din

Articles and Essays on History, Medicine, and Productivity.