serious student that gains admission into
tertiary institutions has the aim of graduating
with a first class/distinction degree but the
reality shows that the number of first class
students in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions is on
the decline. Earning a First Class Honours is,
invariably, a by-product of self-application.
I do not believe that anyone is pre-programmed to
make a third class, or a bare Pass, provided the
individual was qualified in the first instance to
be admitted into the university (even
The class of degree a student earns in the
university is also a function of a point scoring
That is what is called the Cumulative Grade Point
(CGPA) which is a weighted scoring system with
maximum of
You make a first class when you score a CGPA of
4.50 and
above upon graduation.
This article gives steps which if diligently followed
will enable
every student who aspires to make a first class in
school to do
so with ease.
Know Thyself: The problem with many students is
they try to
‘copy-cat’. While it is good to learn from the
method of another
high performer, it is important to know how to
adapt it. Some
students don’t need to read for more than 3 hours
a day before
they pass, indeed do excellently well and top the
Some must read for at least 7 hours a day. I know
First Class
students that watched football and participated
actively in
campus religious activities. Some even get involved
departmental politics. Its about knowing one’s self.
But for most First Class students I know, reading
the notes
while still hot, and not waiting till they accumulate,
is a
common denominator.
And Know thy teacher too: Knowing how to
approach a
question in an examination is an art itself. How do
you organize
your answers?
It goes beyond just picking the answer script and
writing down what you think is the answer.
Know what the lecturer wants. Does he want
‘lengthy story’? Or
he wants it ‘short and snappy’? You may have a clue
into this
through your seniors who had taken the course
First class students study not only the course,
but the course-taker.
Get serious from the first day: It is common for
students to get
carried away with the euphoria of gaining admission
into higher
institution that they forget the major reason why
they are in
school. It is essential to start building your grade
point from
the first day so as to avoid playing catch up
The first semester vis-à-vis the first year in
school is usually
the easiest academically so its best you
take advantage of it.
Attend Lectures: While attending lectures may not
be so
important in your first year in school as most
courses are what
you must have already learnt previously in your
school and the large number of students in lecture
rooms in
your first year may not make attending lectures
however after your first year, attending lectures
must be a
priority, this is enable you mark attendance in class
which may
be the difference between an A or a B, pick
salient points which the lecturer may mention in
class and to pick instructions and tips which
lecturers usually give in class.
Begin Studying For Tests and Exams EARLY:
Between academics and your social life, time is not
you will have in ample quantity throughout your
stay in
University. One cardinal act you should always
make time for is
studying early for exams. There’s nothing worse
than leaving
all of the studying for the night before an
important test or
exam. The stress causes you to panic and you won’t
as well as you normally would if you had studied
enough. Studying a little bit during the semester
will not only make you better prepared but will
also remove most stress you’d have if you leave
your studying for the last minute.
Early exam studying allows a student to identify
weak spots in their understanding and to prioritize
studying accordingly. Just imagine studying until
the early
morning of the day of your exam only to find
you’ve completely
ignored a section that you have little or no
understanding in.
Don’t let that happen.
Use Your Time Wisely in between classes as well as
before and
after school. There are many opportunities to
sneak in some
studying or homework that many students either
don’t realize
or just don’t use. I’ve known people who would
study on the
keke during the ride to and from school.
I’ve also known people that would combine the time
waiting for
a lecture to begin with their study time! Just bring
your notes
and instead of pinging or chatting endlessly with
You get a workout for your body and for your
brain! Always
keep your notes handy and use any spare time for
review to make sure you’re on top of the
material. All of those small moments you fill with
studying will
really add up to a solid understanding. You’ll
discover that you
will require less studying when exam time arrives.
That’s huge.
Obtain Old Exams Question papers and
Assignments: from your
senior colleagues to procure a satisfactory idea of
what subject
matter the instructors are most likely to test you
on. They are
even more useful because you
can attempt the exam/assignment as a check of
identifying weak areas that you must take into
consideration or re- study.
I heard of a scenario where a guy was studying
gluconeogenesis in Medical Biochemistry and his
colleague of his happened to pass by. He appeared
and proceeded to supply him a couple of past
questions. One was “Gluconeogenesis is not
necessarily the
reversal of Glycolysis. Explain”.
Propitiously, in the end of his semester
examination, it was
asked exactly as he was given in Number 2. It was
worth 10
One common tactic many students use for science
classes is to find a graded laboratory notebook
from a previous
Laboratory work is notoriously difficult with
respect to time
limitation and what is expected from a student’s
lab report.
Having a format to follow along with is a
phenomenal help.
Knowing where to avoid mistakes is fundamental as
Optimistic Mentality : Some students die many
times before
their academic death. How can a student gain
admission into a
school and the first thing he hears is
“you can never make a First Class”, “they won’t
give you”.
Well, I don’t believe this. This is what kills many
students. How can you go to battle with a
defeatist mentality
and expect to win? Many First Class students defy
“messengers of doom” and pursue their target
As a Jambite, what you hear are stories of one
Lagbaja that
shattered school records, or one Saka that
effortlessly broke
any record breakable. You even hear of stories of
students that
had graduated since the 1970s.
These are stories that motivate you, not some tale
by moonlight
about a sadist lecturer denying you First class.
This is another
very vital feature of First Class students. They
don’t believe
cock and bull stories.
Put God first: Ultimately, God is very important.
remember that God is the owner of all knowledge
and gives
only to those who he wishes to. Learn to always put
God first
before every lecture, test or exam. He is the only
one who can
see you through. The above are just helpful human
These are just the most important attributes one
needs to make
first class.

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