As I said in my last post, I started my last semester as an undergrad yesterday. It’s been a long and tough journey but I’m finally here! Pretty soon, I’ll be graduating and then dealing with grad school apps. Ahh, how nerve-wracking and exciting! Anyway, I thought I’d share some of my tips and experiences with you guys. I wasn’t always the best student but I finally found which methods work best for me. Doing well in college and obtaining straight A’s might seem impossible but trust me, it is doable… as long as you put the extra time and effort into it. So here’s what I’ve done in the past to ace my classes!
1) Rent the textbooks.
Ever since my freshman year, I’ve noticed that the university’s bookstore always sells textbooks at much higher prices than online retailers such as Amazon and eBay. Then when I found out that you could rent textbooks for even cheaper than Amazon, my whole life changed. Most especially since I don’t plan on keeping my general ed textbooks. I prefer Chegg because they’re cheap and they plant trees for just an extra $1 to your rental fee. If you can’t afford to rent a textbook, take advantage of the library. The library usually has textbooks on reserve that you can check out for about 2 hours. Going to the library and checking out the textbook forces you to use your time wisely and actually study.
2) Read the textbook.
This is a no-brainer. If you’re gonna rent the textbook, you might as well put that money (and brain) to use and start reading! When I read the textbook, I look at each chapter’s objectives and focus on those points. I also look out for key terms and phrases, which I write down in my notebook. Then when it comes to studying for the exam, I go over the review questions at the end of each chapter. It’s additional study material and professors love it when you come to class prepared… which takes us to my next point.
3) Come to class prepared.
Do the required reading before class. Print out PowerPoint slides. Come to class on time. Listen to your professor and pay attention to what he/she emphasizes on. Take notes only on what’s important or isn’t on your PowerPoint slides yet. The worst thing you could do is write every single bullet point down when you already have it on your printout. I’ve found that I do better when I just sit and listen to my professor lecture rather than copy every word. But that’s just me. Other people have different learning techniques and you have to find what works best for you.
4) Participate and interact!
While you’re sitting in lecture and trying to take notes, don’t forget to ask questions. There is no such thing as a dumb question. It’s always best to get clarification on things you didn’t understand. Also don’t forget to answer your professor’s questions mid-lecture. Apart from students not coming to class prepared, professors also hate it when the classroom is quiet and no one participates. If you’re too scared to speak in front of the class, the professor usually sticks around for a few minutes after class is over. That’s when I usually talk to my professors and it helps us get to know each other one on one. Don’t forget to make friends with your classmates! In case you miss a class, you have someone who can fill you in. This also helps you create a study group for exams.
5) Color code everything.
I also mentioned this in a previous post but I color code my notes and planner. It helps keep me organized. What I usually do is stick to one color for each chapter. For example, I’ll use green sticky notes and highlighters for one chapter and then blue for another. I never use yellow until I’m reviewing the material and know it’ll be on the exam. I recently bought the 10-pack of Staedtler triplus fineliner pens with sticky tabs in matching colors and I can’t wait to use them this semester!
6) Do NOT procrastinate.
Don’t wait until the very last minute to do your assignments. If your professor opens a new quiz online, do it right away. If you know that a paper is due in the next few weeks, start right away because professors tend to make everything due around midterms and finals week. Most of all, doing things right away will lower your stress levels because you’ll have less to worry about.
7) Use a planner.
One way to prevent yourself from procrastinating is by using a planner. I probably wouldn’t be able to function if I didn’t have mine. I use it every day. I write down all my assignments and due dates, as well as upcoming exams. Going back to my point about color coding, I have a system so I can tell the difference between school, work, personal, and social matters. I’ve also started bullet journaling, which really helps me stay even more organized.
I think that’s about all I have to share with you for now. At least that’s what I did last semester. If anything else comes to mind, I’ll make another post. Like I said, you have to find which methods work best for you. If you have any other tips on how to do well in college (or even high school), please share them in the comments! Don’t forget to like and subscribe. Have a good day!