7 Easy Ways to Make Going to Class More Beneficial
The simplest actions are sometimes the most powerful—and overlooked. So it's good to be reminded of them. And when it comes to going to class, you might be surprised by how much you can gain by being mindful of a few key things.
7 secrets and ways to excel in studying
The seven tips below provide common-sense advice on attending college classes and getting all you can from them in the process.
1. Show up to every class
Being a successful student only happens by being present. Missing classes can mean missing out on important information and good opportunities for improving your understanding of the material being taught. Your class attendance also has a big impact on the impression you leave on your instructors. Even in large classes, they notice. They will be much more willing to give you support when you need it if you demonstrate your commitment by showing up consistently.
2. Get there early
Feeling rushed isn't a good mindset to begin a class with. By arriving to class five to 10 minutes early, you give yourself the chance to slip into the right headspace, feel relaxed, and go over your notes and any reading material again that might be discussed in the upcoming session.
3. Stay attentive
It isn't enough to just show up to class. You also need to stay awake and interested. Texting and other distractions make you lose focus. They make it hard for your brain to absorb the information it needs for making sense of the subject matter you're trying to learn. This is true even when you feel like you're multitasking well. If you wouldn't nod off or text your friends during an important meeting with your boss, then you shouldn't do it in class either. You'll have more success by treating your classes like your job.
4. Take smart notes
Don't try to capture everything being said by an instructor word-for-word. Instead, listen for the big ideas and capture them in your own words. Taking notes this way allows you to concentrate fully on understanding the material being presented rather than frantically transcribing stuff that makes no sense as you're writing it down or typing it in. Many students find that they learn the material better if they handwrite their notes on paper. Of course, typing works better for others. So experiment and see which way is best for you.
5. Stay organized
Keep separate folders and notebooks for each different class so that you can easily find what you need, when you need it. Obviously, this is easier if you use a laptop and have minimal paper items to worry about. If you do go with paper, use loose-leaf paper inside folders instead of spiral notebooks. This will make it easier for you to organize and rearrange your notes and any class materials in smart ways that help you study.
6. Ask questions
Don't worry if they seem annoying. Students who thrive know that asking timely questions is a key driver of success. The longer you go without understanding something, the harder it becomes to continue without feeling lost or discouraged. By asking questions in class, you might also be helping other students who wanted to ask the same things but were too shy. It also helps to keep a running list of questions during class or as you study. Even if you don't get the chance to ask them in class, you can often follow up on them over email or during your instructor's office hours.
7. Find someone to partner with in each class.
You're only human. So you might have occasions when you just can't make it to class. This is when you need a friend who will be there. He or she can share notes with you and fill you in on what you missed. Having a friend in each class also makes things much less awkward during those times when you have to choose somebody to partner with on a project.