Making A First Class Degree In Nigeria: The Pomp And Pageantry
Most students in tertiary always dream of bagging first class degrees when they graduate. This is due to the status conferred on it by the university and society. Sadly, this is what it remains, mere dreams as only a handful finally achieve this laudable feat.
There is no gain-saying that achieving this is a daunting task. First class degree is earned when an undergraduate student scores 4.50 and above on a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) on a scale of 5.0 or 3.50 and above on a scale of 4.0 as is the case in most private universities.
However, a lot of hurdles are in the way of the average Nigerian student from making a first class degree. Examples include: long periods of industrial actions by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), a collapsing education system etc.
Regardless of these, schools continue to churn out first class graduates at the end of each academic session.
Statistics have shown that there has been an increase in the number of first class degree graduates. For instance, the University of Lagos (UNILAG), at its 49th convocation produced 245 first class graduates. The previous year, the university had 3.25 percent of its graduating students leaving with a first class, Obafemi Awolowo University had 0.84 while University of Ibadan had 2.24 percent.
This same trend exists in the private universities with Bells University having 6.15 percent of its graduands coasting home with first class, Benson Idahosa University, 5.62 percent, Babcock University 3.88 percent and Landmark University, 10.35 percent.
It is therefore little wonder that in the last five years, a total of 3,499 first class graduates have been produced by 16 Nigerian Universities.
How then does a student achieve this feat since it is a daunting task? The truth is that there is no hard and fast rule to making a first class degree. It is not a one-size-fits-all because different folks different strokes.
However the following steps would generally apply:
Attend Classes: Every student that hopes to make a first class degree must attend classes. A lot of student abscond from classes relying only on textbooks and online materials. However, attending classes should be paramount. This is because there are certain information that lecturers can let slip in the course of a lecture. What about the impromptu quizzes and tests that may arise?
Create a Time-table: Reading and indeed studying must never be done in a haphazard fashion. Students who wish to excel must as a matter of compulsion create a time-table and follow it strictly. Determine the courses to focus more on especially those with higher unit loads and work on them.
Visit the Library: A library should be every student’s favourite spot more so one aspiring for a first class. Apart from the cool and serene ambience, it has a way of instilling the spirit of seriousness in students once there. Students should therefore visit libraries especially on weekends.
Study in Groups: This does not work for everyone because some people prefer reading alone but this could work especially with like-minded friends and study partners.
Read Everyday: This may sound like a herculean task but studies have shown that students who read at least 2-4 hours everyday have better retention capacity. It is therefore advised that they read their books after each class to refresh their brains. Another benefit of this is that during the rush hour of examination, they would be better prepared.
This is by no means exhaustive, but they can serve as a roadmap to anyone wishing to succeed.
Some students believe making a first class degree involves non-stop reading and absolute commitment to no other aspect of life.
Secret Of First Class Graduates
Below however are certain secrets first class graduates swear by that works:
They don’t read 24/7: This is true. They don’t read all the time. They usually have fixed hours for reading usually in the early hours of the morning and before bed.
They make “hay while the sun shines”: They usually start studying immediately a new session commences. This means they read ahead of the lecturers. They do not wait till a month to examination.
They become teachers: It is believed you teach to learn. They adopt this by conducting tutorials on courses especially those they find difficult. This is because preparing for the tutorial serves as an avenue to learn too while preparing to teach others.
They are goal-setters: They are vision-driven. Most of them already have it in mind to be the best even before gaining admission. Hence, they already have a plan and therefore work towards its actualization.
Cramming: This may not sound right but it is certain that first class students also cram. It is advised to read and understand however cramming becomes necessary especially in courses with figures. The goal is to cram and understand which works perfectly well.
All these plus consistency, determination and God (who is indispensable) would surely put the student on the path towards its accomplishment.
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