Do you ever feel like you’re doing everything you can to succeed in a class but still aren’t getting the grades you hoped for? Check out these tips to see what you can do to make sure you’re getting the most out of your classes.
1. Go to class.
Yes, we know this is an obvious start, but hear us out. Some professors don’t take attendance, which sometimes makes it tough to get up and go, but trust us, you really should. It’s easy to slack off in classes like these, so to avoid doing so it’s important to show up. It’s tough to get by in a class you don’t show up to all the time. You never know when your professor will throw a pop quiz at you or share information that’s important for an exam.
2. Find an effective note-taking technique.
Taking notes might seem obvious, but the way you take notes is what really matters. For example, even If your professor posts their lectures online, it’s still important to take notes. In this case, focus on what the professor is saying instead of copying down the PowerPoint slides word for word. Professors often get into more detail verbally and simply use the PowerPoint as a general outline — so if you’re just writing down what’s in front of you, you may not know what it means later on.
The way you lay out your notes in your notebook matters, too! Ideally, they should be simple to follow along with when you go back to study. Check out some of our favorite note-taking techniques here.
3. Make sure your professors know who you are.
In high school, your teachers always know who you are, but in college, that might not be the case depending on the size of your classes. It’s important that your professor sees you care about his or her class – it might reflect your final grade. Participate in class, schedule a meeting with your professor, or visit them during their office hours and ask any questions you have. Remember, your professors are there to help, and they really do appreciate when they can see that their students are eager to succeed.
4. Get to know your classmates.
Sometimes it’s hard to make friends in a class (especially when it’s silent!), so try approaching your classmates before or after class and exchange phone numbers. Making friends with your classmates can be super useful, especially when it comes to studying for a test. Many students find study groups helpful before an exam; you can exchange notes in case you didn’t catch something the professor said and you can help each other better understand the material.
5. Don’t wait until the last minute.
While it may be tough to balance several classes, make sure you keep organized so that you don’t cram your studying the night before an exam. College exams take lots of preparation, so it’s important that you start studying several days before your exam. When you know there’s an exam coming up, set aside some time to take a look at what material you know is going to be on the exam and schedule daily studying time so that you can go over all of it. While you’re at it, check out these other common studying mistakes that students often fall victim to.
Have any more tips on how to succeed in a class? Let us know in the comments!
*Written by Emily Binder, Tulane University.