The Key to Semester Success
Do you prepare your material before you go to class? Maybe? Sometimes?… No? Then keep on reading, friend, because this will revolutionize how you study! It has for me and I’m absolutely sure this one thing can completely make your semester success!
Going to class and listening to the lecture is already a good start. You will get most of the information from just paying attention. That doesn’t mean that you’re going to understand everything that is said. You could. Or you could not. That’s where the importance of preparation comes in. When you go to class having done the suggested reading and/or exercices, you will have a much, much better idea of what the heck your professor is talking about!
I admit, sometimes I spend hours on preparation and I’m not even sure I’m getting the hang of the material. The great part is that when I hear it being explained out loud, I understand the concepts a lot faster because I already have a general idea of what is being said! I know for a fact (and see it in class) that when people are unprepared, they have more trouble grasping the ideas and applying them. They ask questions that I already know the answers to because I’ve read them before! So instead of taking most of the class time to understand the material, I go further, I ask more in-depth questions and push my reasoning (which is what you’re going to have do for the mid-terms & finals, basically!).
So if you want to maximize your time and learn more efficiently, you should always go to class prepared! Now I know I go overboard with this (’cause I’m a studyholic, ya know?) and I do aaaaaall the required readings, even when that’s hundreds of pages a week. But preparation can be to just take 15 minutes to look at what the class will be about. Or read the things you believe will help you get acquainted with the subject. You can really make this process your own. No matter what/how you decide to do it, preparing your brain to learn about one specific thing will make you more receptive and focused during class. Again, learning efficiency.
Now for those who think if they’ve read the material then class will be boring ’cause you already know all the stuff. Right? Wrong! I used to think that. Girl, I could never have been more wrong! Okay true, you know what the subject is there won’t be any amazing surprise. BUT, you will be making links between what you’ve read and what you’re hearing. You won’t feel lost, because you will know exactly where the teacher is going and you can go further. You can ask precise and pertinent questions that you think of during class.
Making links is the basic formula for remembering stuff. So while you’re in class, thinking and asking questions and reasoning, you are… STUDYING! Yesss! You are actively learning AND remembering what the professor is teaching instead of figuring out what is being said.
I’ve tried this and now that I’ve implemented it into my routine, I can promise I’m never going back to not preparing! I would probably say this is the BEST thing you could be doing to get a better GPA (if you’re someone who studies a normal amount of time). Not only that but you will remember things much longer, which cramming for an exam won’t let you do.
So here’s a short summary of WHY you should always prepare for classes and HOW to do it 🙂 Don’t forget, we want semester success!
Advantages of going to class prepared
- You will be more aware/focused
- You will have deeper reflections on the subject
- You will be learning and studying instead of just understanding
- You will be able to ask pertinent questions during class
- You will take clearer and more concise notes
- You will be maximizing your time
- You will be able to tell exactly which subjects you have more difficulty with
In the end, if done correctly, this will result in easier studying and (probably) higher marks!
How to prepare for class quick-guide
- Reflect on each of your classes and choose what you should do in order to prepare & how much time you want to assign to this. This can include looking at the course outline, textbook readings, other readings, doing exercises, researching the subject on the web, skimming through the power point, reading the notes provided by the professor, etc. It all depends on what kind of class it is and what you’re going to have to do later on. Some courses may require more preparation than others.
- Make a list of everything you need to do for each class and cross off things as you go. Don’t forget to include revision/studying in there too!
- Track your preparation time to make sure you’re not doing TOO much (post coming up on this soon!)
- Reassess every week: think about what was great and what was not so great. Make changes as you go so everything you do is 100% useful. We don’t want to waste our time! This will become clearer as you go because you will see how the professor is teaching and what is asked from you in this class.
Your homework for semester success:
Get a sheet of paper and jot down all your classes. Write what’s important in each and what seems to be good preparation. Now try it only for ONE week and you’ll see it will completely change the way you go to class. If it does work, tell me about it! If it doesn’t, comment/e-mail me and we’ll chat about it, maybe find something that WILL work for you!