On of the biggest things everyone is dreads once they reach college is… grades! It is important to keep up grades in college for numerous reasons, but at the end of the semester good grades always make you feel like you have accomplished something big.
So what are some practical things you can practice that will make you accomplish something big and not have that dread feeling at the end of the semester?
First of all- class attendance. Be there. That is really all I can say. I do not care if the professor “doesn’t take roll”. Mentally he takes roll. He notices who is there and who is not. He notices who shows up on time and who walks in five minutes late. Believe me when you are fighting for that grade at the end of the semester, he will notice that you were in class (and on time) and that will give you a bargaining chip. Many college professors also reward class attendance with pop quizes that add extra credit points to your total grade – you never know when they’ll spring one on you so be sure you don’t miss class!
Secondly- be sure to take notes in class. Not only do you want to take notes on what your professor says, but also on discussions that take place in class. When you are brainstorming for a paper topic or studying for a test, these notes will come in handy to have. It seems when the discussion is going on the point someone makes is so intriguing that you think you will never forget it. But believe you me, you are a college student you do not have time to worry about remembering everything that was said in every one of your classes. If you are a traditional full time student you would be taking around twelve to fifteen classes. That is four to five classes! Each class (not including the large lecture halls) has about thirty students. If every one of those students said something interesting in one day that is one hundred and fifty things you would have to remember for just one day. This is not including anything the teacher said! Even if you are not a good note taker, just practice and it will start getting easier. Do not panic if you do not get every word down. Just concentrate on trying to find the main points to jot down. As you start to know your professors you will start to know what his or her tests are like and what from their lectures will be on the tests. It will become very easy to take notes.
Next- study habits. Personally I hate to study, but studying is essential if you want the grades. If you have to write out dates and facts on index cards and carry them around with you. When you are waiting in line at the grocery store or at a red light, whip out your index cards and study. You can also make a set of index cards and post them around your house and work where they will constantly be in your face. Repetition is the key here.
And finally, my favorite- extra credit. Not all professors give extra credit, but most are willing to hand it out if you ask. Remember when I was talking about a bargaining chip? Well, if your professors is one of those professors who do not give out extra credit and you ask for it anyway, if you actually look like you have been trying all semester, some professors will just give it to you. The key with extra credit is- do not ask for it the day or even the week before the end of the semester. Try to shoot for about a month before the end of the semester. If you ask for the extra credit…do it.
I can not guarantee that you will get straight A’s by following these steps, but I can guarantee that you will get more out of your learning experience if you show up to class with a notebook (or just paper) in hand ready to take notes. If you take the initiative to study outside of class and get those extra credit points. Who knows… maybe you will come pretty close to those straight A’s.