The new semester has started and you may already be overwhelmed with work.
Here are some tips I like to use before, during, and after class to have a successful semester.
Before the classes
Before your lecture, first read the section that will be covered in the next course. Try out some sample problems and walk into class with a general idea of what to expect. Lectures go by quickly and a lot of material will be covered. Minimize stress and make your lesson more effective by reading or previewing content, so you won’t be in class without knowing what your teacher is talking about.
The night before, organize all your supplies and put them in your backpack. This way, you’ll be less likely to forget something, like a notebook or writing utensil in the morning, because mornings are notorious for panicking and rushing. Maybe also choose your outfit while you pack your bag to save time in the morning.
Take care of yourself
This is the most important tip. Maintaining good physical and mental health is essential to your academic success. Get a good night’s sleep, eat balanced, nutritious meals, exercise regularly, and boost your mood by spending time with the people you care about. Or, if you prefer, spend time alone doing something you love.
In the classroom
If your course is in person, as most are semester, try to maximize learning by sitting closer to the teacher or wherever you feel most comfortable. However, for me, it’s increasingly difficult to stay engaged and focused if you’re sitting in the back row of a classroom, where the teacher can’t see you and distractions are tempting.
For Zoom conferences, improve your concentration by placing your phone or other distractions in a separate room, use headphones in noisy spaces, try to keep your camera on, and participate as much as you can.
take good notes
Effective notes can be extremely useful when you want to revisit what has been covered in class. Keep your notes neat and organized and use bullet points or subheadings to help navigate complex topics. Draw diagrams and graphs to accompany your words, and remember that you don’t have to copy everything your teacher says or writes. Pick and choose the most important statements to include. Finally, use whatever medium you feel most comfortable with – this can be paper and pencil, gel pens, iPad, laptop, etc. However, I tend to find that physically writing down notes, formulas, and sample problems helps with information retention.
Be active in class
To participate! You’ll learn best if you actively answer and ask questions, work through sample problems with your teacher, and follow the course.
To sum up
After a content-rich lecture, it may be useful to summarize all the information in a few concise and conclusive sentences. Summarizing your notes can help you understand the material because it forces you to explain it to yourself in your own words.
Come up with your own questions or look for practical problems to solve. This will allow you to better prepare for quizzes and exams, as well as to assess whether or not you really master the material. You can use flash cards, do your own practice test, or ask a friend to quiz you.
Create an effective study environment
Treat yourself to a personalized study environment based on what will help you learn. Is it a quiet place, like your room? Or do you prefer a busier place to motivate yourself, like a coffee shop? Do you like to snack during your studies? Maybe you concentrate better when listening to music. Either way, do what feels most comfortable to you.
And just like that, you’re well on your way to a successful college semester.