(Or, “How Can I Ace This Course”?)
: So, you did great in high school without
any real effort and you think that college is going to be an endless party, and that you’ll get As and
Bs in all of your courses without reading any textbooks or even having to attend class. If so, your
high school experience didn’t prepare you very well for the university environment because you will
likely find it challenging to do well in college. However, I have good news for you. If you will
embrace the strategies that will get you a good grade in any course – and if you will also abandon the
behaviors and attitudes that simply don’t work – it is relatively easy to make an A or B in any college
course. What are those strategies? I thought you would never ask:
The strategies that work are:
Most importantly, understand that making an A
in any class is not as hard as you think and that you are entirely capable of doing so. However, it’s
also not as easy as you would probably like.
Remember that: it’s not as hard as you think, but it’s
also not as easy as you may want
Give up trying to find a shortcut to doing well
in class. There are no shortcuts.
Treat school like a job and act like it’s your
career. Or if not your career, at least act like you are shooting for a promotion or a raise.
Attend class. Why is this important? Can’t you
just read the book and get notes from a friend? No, not as well. Imagine yourself as a police
detective trying to solve a crime. To do that, you need clues. To gather those clues, you need to
canvass the area, interview potential witnesses, visit the crime scene, read the lab reports, and
take part in the interrogation of potential suspects. You simply cannot do any of those jobs well
if you are not personally involved.
Read the syllabus
(otherwise, it's like playing
a sport without knowing the rules).
You cannot win if you don’t know how the game is played.
Buy or create a date book and record the dates
for every project and exam for every class into this date book. Refer to this date book often.
Sit up front. Pay attention. Make eye contact
with your professors to show them that you are listening, interested in the material, and that you
are trying to learn. If you find yourself nodding off, stand up and move to the back of the room.
Remain standing because it’s really hard to sleep while standing. No professor enjoys teaching
while their students are sleeping.
(or at least skim)
the material before
class. Reading the material before class is like preparing soil before planting seeds. If you
prepare the soil before planting, more of the seeds will germinate. Not reading before class is
just like throwing seeds on the ground. Very few will germinate. However, if you read before
class, you will better understand
the information presented during the lecture.
If you can find some other good students who