Jefferson, pictured in Denmark where he is currently completing an exchange semester.
Jefferson, pictured in Denmark where he is currently completing an exchange semester.

Achieving that perfect GPA

We first met Filipino Commerce-Accounting student Jefferson Bryan Manangquil when he let us in on the secrets of his perfect first-year GPA. Here he shares his strategy for tackling the second year of university, when life can get a bit more challenging.

“After my 4.0 GPA finish, my goal was undoubtedly to repeat the feat in my second year.

But maintaining momentum can be challenging, as subject difficulty in the second year escalates to the next level.

Life can also be a lot busier in the second year, perhaps with squeezing a part-time job into your schedule, or taking on an executive role in a student society.

My GPA goal was ambitious because I had a lot on my plate. I was juggling five concurrent jobs including being a PAL Leader for two units, a Conversation Groups leader, a Residential Advisor, a junior accountant and a weekend chef. I was also mixing these up with extracurricular commitments, as an executive in the Economics, Commerce and Finance Society and a volunteer Buddy to international students.

This line up of commitments could have easily swallowed me alive, but with solid commitment, time management and a being able to juggle things on the run, I kept a good grip on everything.

In the end, I came out victorious with the golden 4.0 tucked in my hands. So let me lay down my advice for how to stay on top of things.

Look a week ahead
If it isn’t already, the MQ Diary should be your best friend. Paint your week ahead by establishing a set of tasks you’re aiming to accomplish. A week-long list can really give you much more flexibility—when unexpected things get in the way, you can always jump on other tasks.

Cut the number
Before jumping on your major tasks, get the short and straightforward ones out of the way. This is a psychological fix that stops you from being too overwhelmed by an intimidating number of tasks. Your head will be clearer, and you’ll be able to concentrate on the important stuff.

One foot before the other
It’s a golden rule to really understand the previous week’s lecture content before turning up at your next lecture. Second year units can be highly technical and without the mastery of the earlier topics, you will most likely get lost in class.

The productivity boost
If you tackle more commitments, you may lose some of your studying time. But in my experience, knowing that I had less time to study meant I knew needed to be serious and really utilise each second I had.  It made me more productive than ever.

Embrace the LTE approach
If you’re looking to add more Distinctions and High Distinctions to your collection, you’ll need to make your study more efficient and effective by adopting the Lecture Notes-Textbook-Exercises (LTE) habit.

For most people, lecture slides are the first point of contact with a topic and without a doubt they are the best place to begin. If you’re not sure about a particular point, find it in your textbook where there will hopefully be some further detail. Once you think everything is crystal clear, test your understanding by attempting tutorial exercises.

By ticking all the boxes with the LTE method, it’s hard to go wrong.”


Macquarie students have access to numerous learning skills support services to help them achieve the best possible results during their time at university.

  • http://yahoo.com mitch st andrew

    I am interested with Jefferson’s story….is it possible for me to have his contact nos or his email address? I am a filipino also and just want to make an inquiry on the whereabouts of becoming an international students and being a scholar…thanks!

    • Antra

      Hi Mitch, we will forward your email on to Jefferson.

  • http://student-finance.com.au Andrew

    I had Jeff as my Pal leader in ACCG 224 semester 2 last year. Hes not just a great learner, but a great teacher as well!

    Think I need to adopt this LTE approach. Where can I find out more?

  • Shafiq

    Its very good way to achieve desired gpa,,but how could i improve my english proficiency as a non-native speaker of english??

    • Antra

      Hi Shafiq, Macquarie has an award-winning English Language Centre on campus (www.elc.edu.au) which offers English language courses that you can package together with your degree program at Macquarie, or attend just for English. In 2011 research showed that ELC graduates have achieved a 15% better GPA in their first Session studies at Macquarie than students from other major English language pathways.

      Macquarie also hosts New Conversation Groups for all Macquarie students who want to improve their English in a fun, social setting. See http://www.businessandeconomics.mq.edu.au/new_and_current_students/undergraduate/bess/conversation_groups