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5 Steps to Develop Study Goals for Success in 2019

What study goals do you want to achieve this year? And have you got a plan in place to kick them into action?

“My goal for 2019 is to complete MIT successfully and be able to get into a Bachelor of Nursing at Murdoch University. No doubt there will be ups and down but, as they say, ‘each step of the stairs may get harder, but the view at the top is beautiful.’ I am looking forward to working my way up” – Francine Roberts (MIT Student, Malaysia)

You’ve probably had a few thoughts yourself, such as, ‘I want to get better marks,’ or, ‘I want an internship.’ That’s great! Now, the key is turning your dreams into specific actions.


A little strategic planning and goal setting can make a big difference.


Goal setting is essential to success in the classroom and beyond. According to a Harvard Study, the 3% of Harvard MBA students who write down their goals end up making ten times more than the other 97%!

So, how do you get started? Just follow these 5 steps, and you’ll be kicking those study goals in no time at all.

1. Know the difference between long-term goals and short-term objectives

If you ask someone to ‘think of a goal they would like to achieve,’ people usually start with broad, long-term goals. Often overlooked are the short-term objectives that allow you to achieve these big dreams.

Short-term objectives are your map towards your long-term goals. Without them, you lose your way.

When developing your study plan for 2019, start by asking what you want to achieve long-term. Then, ask yourself what you need to do every day or every week to get there.

Take this student, for example. Joshlyn begins by defining a broad goal and then follows it up with small achievable objectives. That’s good planning.

“My study goal for the year 2019 is to get at least a distinction at my units in university. In order to achieve that goal, I need to keep track of my assignments and lectures. I must allocate a sufficient amount of time to studying and working on my assignments. In other words, I need to manage my time wisely” – Joshlyn Wong (MIT Student, Malaysia).

The next step for Joshlyn would be to develop even more specific, measurable objectives, such as ‘commit to an extra hour of study four times per week.’


2. If it’s not a SMART Goal then it’s not a smart goal

If you’ve never tried using SMART goals before, it’s time to start now! This is a fail-proof technique used by high-achievers since the 1980s, from business leaders to activists. It’s a process for assessing your goals and turning them into achievable action points. SMART stands for:


SMART goals



Apply the 5 SMART steps to any goal you may have in mind, and you’re off to a good start!

“My 2019 goal is to get better marks. In order to achieve my goal, I plan on making sure I revise my lessons weekly, and not cram studying in right before the exam” –Mikaela Villamor (MIT Student, Philippines)


3. Think of your work-life-health balance when goal setting

As most students will tell you, the hardest part of student life is often balancing your different commitments. This is particularly hard if you’re working part-time and living away from home. But, it’s important to get it right. After all, you can’t do well at your studies if you’re falling asleep in class!

Don’t set unrealistic goals that put too much strain on your health, budget or time.

Remember, it’s also incredibly important for your career that you have work experience in addition to study, too. You don’t want to graduate without anything on your CV!

“My study goal for next year will be able to transfer to a veterinary degree from animal science. I know it is competitive and I will try my best by studying hard, aiming for high distinction results and gaining work experience in handling animals by applying to volunteer at different farms and vet clinics” – Ki Heng Yeung (MIT student, Hong Kong).


study goals


4. Make yourself accountable

Until it’s written on paper and broadcast to the world, a goal isn’t really binding. It’s important to get all your goals out into the open where you and everyone else can see them.


The key word here is accountability.


Use your friends or family to hold you accountable to your goals, and you’ll find that you stay more motivated. You could even try starting some friendly study competitions!

“My study goal for 2019 is to get into the Bachelor of Laws course in the February intake. I have been working hard to ensure my grades are at the required level. My passion to achieve my long-term goal (that is, to be a lawyer) is what drives me to do my best.” – Shaanan Suthesh (MIT Student, Singapore)


5. Schedule a regular ‘check in’ to make sure you’re staying on track

The only thing more important than developing a well-planned, achievable list of goals is… sticking to them! To make sure you do, schedule in a monthly ‘check in’ to examine your goals and your timeline. 

Sit down and take a look at what you’ve achieved in relation to your objectives for that month.

Did you do better or worse than expected, and why? Perhaps your goals are not realistic and need to be changed, or maybe you allowed yourself to be distracted? Do you need to change your timeline?

“My study goal for 2019 is to perform well in every subject so that I’ll have an opportunity to transfer to Vet. If I’m stuck or I have any problems, I’ll try to get help from my mentors.” Spencer Li (MIT Student, China)


study goals


See here for information on the courses on offer at MIT, and here if you want to know more about our pathways to Murdoch University.


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