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A wise man I know, a first-year engineering student at the time and now a working registered professional electrical engineer in training, once told me that the key to success is not to focus so much on "working hard" but "working smart". Meaning that the person who keeps their wits about them and constantly evaluates whether they are spending their time wisely is far more likely to succeed than the person who expends a lot of wasted effort hammering away at something using the same technique even when the results need to be improved.

In that spirit of self-examination, how has your semester gone so far this year? Are you ready for finals and on top of everything your course has discussed or are there a couple topics here and there that you are struggling with? At this time of year (exams approaching), many of you reading this are probably hoping that getting a tutor now can help you deal with the final exam, and at least compared to not getting a tutor and trying to cram alone for an exam on material you haven't quite understood yet. Cramming with a tutor is still an excellent idea.

Even better, though, is to deal with problem areas as they arise. Dealing with difficult concepts as they arise (whether that means dedicating extra study time, soliciting extra help from the teacher, finding a classmate willing to help, or acquiring professional tutoring services) as you go along can benefit your marks throughout the semester and ensures that the time you spent in class is more productive. Facing a final exam about material you know you have recently learned is a much better prospect than facing a final exam which will partly test material you know you don't quite understand and have little time to catch up on. Why not resolve to change your approach from working hard to working smart, by making the best use of all available resources to maximize your investment in your education, and schedule a weekly or semi-weekly review today?