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Top Students Share Effective Studying Techniques

10 May, 2019 KDIS News Center 3,845

Over 600 students from different cities in Korea and from all around the world come to Sejong City to study at KDI School because of everything it has to offer: innovative academic programs, an outstanding faculty, and a diverse student body.

With this competitive school environment, everyone makes sure to be at the top of their game to get the most that they can and students make every effort to excel in the classes they take. Indeed, the quality of education improves when the students raise the bar of learning for themselves.

Just recently, KDI School recognized students who demonstrated outstanding academic performance in the Fall 2018 semester. 29 out of 335 students made the Dean’s List with Distinction after obtaining a GPA average of 3.90 to 4.00 with at least 9 courses credits.

I had a chance to interview two of these top students who were kind enough to share some study habits that we can all learn from to reach our full potential in our studies.


Make The Most Out of It

Guannan Li, MPM 2018 from Beijing, China, is used to being far from home, because he studied in a foreign country during his bachelor’s degree. His current job in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also requires him to travel a lot. Therefore, he decided to get his master degree from a nearby country not too far from home.

As a diplomat, his current interests lie in the international economy and global governance. While looking to complete his degree after the Summer 2019 semester, Guannan is currently taking courses that will help him in his job back home, and his interest can be seen in his excellence in class.

“Studying at KDI School is never easy,” he said. He also shared one study technique that may be useful for everyone. He say it’s best to review your notes at the end of the day. He mentioned the Forgetting Curve, created by Ebbinghaus, a German psychologist who pioneered the experimental studies on memory, that show how information is lost over time when there is no attempt to retain it. By reading your notes again at the end of the day, you can retain more of the information over time.

But Guannan does not spend all of his time just studying. He sometimes takes a break away from course materials and reads other books for fun, mostly about historical books. He also stays fit and healthy by participating in sports activities in his spare time. And of course, he also spends time learning the Korean language with the Korean Language Club at school.

Clearly, he is not just wasting his time in Korea. Instead, he’s making the most out of it. Lastly, he said he wants to leave other students with two things to ponder on: One, have a very clear view of what you want to study and what areas you need to improve your knowledge; and two, cherish your life as a student.


Koreans Leading the Pack

In a school where almost half of the students are foreigners, Korea should be proud that the Koreans at the school are staying competitive. Min Kyu Hwang, MDP 2018, is just one of the 20 Koreans who made the Dean’s List with Distinction.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in the United States, Min Kyu is already used to interacting with students from different countries and backgrounds. “It is difficult and unfamiliar but I like it,” he said. This is how he described his experience with having a diverse set of classmates. He added that exposure to this kind of diversity allows him to increase his capacity for learning and that his perception of developing countries’ situations changed after speaking to people from the respective countries.

Being his personal choice, studying at KDI School with a scholarship grant gives Min Kyu a kind of sweet pressure to perform well in class. He actively participates in his classes and consults his professors and the teaching assistants (TAs) whenever necessary. He is thankful for the class TAs, as they are a really big help to the students.

Min Kyu prefers to study alone, but since KDI School has lots of group activities and presentations, he makes his best efforts to cooperate with others. He added that developing friendships during the group activities is extremely important to achieving success as a group.

He shared some of his techniques for maximizing his study time, such as not studying when he doesn’t want to. He usually does something else first and gets himself in a certain mindset before actually studying. When he is ready, he prepares a detailed to-do list.

Ultimately, he thinks that studying and living in KDI can be physically and emotionally draining, especially for foreigners, but he describes it as a “beautiful struggle” and says it is definitely one of the best decisions he has ever made.

These students are just like all of us who are doing their best to raise their countries’ flags in KDI School. Special recognition is always a big bonus but being able to do your best while having fun during your stay in Korea and having this once-in-a-lifetime experience are more than enough to be proud of.


By Isabella Millanes (2019 MPM)