Did you know that poor grades are often not the true reflection of your academic strengths? In fact, good knowledge and understanding of your courses only account for a fraction of what you need to excel academically.
Surprised right? Well, the truth is that a lot of other factors typically go into producing excellent results for you each year. One of these factors is self-confidence. A major issue shared by many students is the struggle with self-confidence, particularly when it comes to academic work.
What is Confidence?
Confidence is the belief in yourself and your abilities; it’s a sense of self-assurance that you’ll do well no matter what. You know that you can achieve anything if you put your “best foot forward” and try hard enough. You might not know all the answers, but when you’re confident you have the drive to find the answers and to overcome obstacles in the way of your goals.
Sometimes, the absence of confidence can be worse than the lack of knowledge in your courses. For instance, when you’re unable to master a new math concept, write a proper thesis, or you receive a bad grade, you get disappointed. Chances are, you’ll also become unsure of yourself, lose faith in your abilities, and start losing motivation in your studies.
Self-confidence is essential to keeping you focused on your studies and is equally important in ensuring you master every concept you’re taught in classes. Are you currently discouraged in your studies because you don’t think you’re good enough? No need to worry. The fact is that you’re good enough, and you’re probably way better than you actually think you are. When you do poorly in your grades, the problem isn’t even you. You’re most likely not doing something right.
In this piece, you’ll find 3 proven tips for building your academic confidence. But note that confidence does not replace solid knowledge and hard work. For example, if you don’t know your coursework, having confidence alone will not help you with your tests. The primary role of confidence is to drive your motivation, keep you focused and help you achieve your goals. So you still have to master your courses and get yourself well prepared for any tests or exams.
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Here are 3 expert and easy tips to help you build self-confidence in your academics:
#1 There is no such thing as failure; only lessons to learn
Demoralization sets in when students see low marks, with valid reasons. The thing is, a low mark is simply an indication that you are underperforming academically. But know this; it is really not about what mark you get but how you get it. Take a step back.
Avoid comparing yourself with others. You’ll see that it is not because you aren’t good enough, but because something is not working – it could be your study habits, your work ethics, or your lack of understanding of a certain part of the curriculum. Your lack of foundational knowledge could also be the reason.
So, treat a low mark for what it is: an indication of poor academic performance, rather than a personal failure. You should learn from your failures. So, do you need to change your study habits? Do you need more practice on a certain concept? Do you need to focus on your writing skills?
#2 Assess your strengths and weaknesses. Know your shortcomings
Assessing yourself means finding an honest answer about what you’re good at and not-so-good at — that is, what your strengths and weaknesses are. What courses are you good at? Which ones do you struggle with? Now ask yourself what you can do to make the necessary improvements. Yes, you can improve and grow.
However, you need to be committed and disciplined. You have to be precise. It is not enough to state that you are good at math and poor at science. You need to take the time to think through and write your assessment down. If your strengths lie in math, then is it problem-solving you are good at? Or skilled in arithmetic that you can perform mental algebra quickly?
In like manner, you can also access your weaknesses. You need to confront your weaknesses and understand why you are struggling. Why do you have problems understanding biology? Find out precisely what you have issues with. What concepts elude your understanding? Once you pinpoint a specific area of weakness, you can begin working on it.
Additionally, you can seek help from your peers. How do they study? How do they divide their time? How do they map out concepts? How much time do they spend practicing? Success often leaves clues and it is your job to pick them up and incorporate them into your own study habits.
#3 Give yourself credit for every success you have attained (no matter how small the accomplishment)
Giving yourself some credit is very important, even for very little milestones achieved. It is an excellent approach to build your motivation and self-confidence. You have to repeatedly remind yourself that you can do it until it sits well in your consciousness.
To do this, you need to acknowledge your efforts every step along the way. Every success counts. Even when you try and fail, you have it as evidence that you did try.
For example, when I coached a student in the past with very low grades, I kept reminding him that he is smart and good at Math. He asked me, “How do you know that?” I told him, “It’s because you achieved an A on your last quiz, and if you can do that in a quiz, you can certainly do the same on your tests!” Just as I told this student, the same applies to you. If you stay focused and work hard, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.
Throughout your learning process, the credit you give yourself will serve as the foundation to strengthen your self-assurance. Confidence and success go hand-in-hand.
Remember, that you don’t have to wait for a 95% average to feel good about yourself and your academic performance. If you’re already down on self-confidence, you can begin rebuilding with these tips. In no time, you’ll see the results show in your grades and personality.
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You have to also feel confident in the process of getting there too and do remember that you have to put in some work while at it. As your confidence returns, you will be more motivated, positive results and good marks will follow too. Essentially, this will help you develop healthy work habits and ethics.