Before the semester begins:
• Be sure to plan your class schedule (and your life) so that school has a high priority, and that arrangements are made so that you can attend most (if not all) class sessions and that you have reserved enough time for studying and for being present for tests.
The FIRST class session:
- You should always go to the first session of each of your classes. Being absent sends signals to your instructor that you have other priorities.
- Learn your instructor's name.
- Learn the name and number of your course (for example, PSYC 1010), your course's title (for example, General Psychology), which section you're in (for example, F003 or R001), and where your class is located (for example, Fire George Mylander Hall 122). All of this information is found on your printed class schedule available on MyBGSU.
- You should have purchased a notebook or prepared a separate section in a loose-leaf notebook for class notes. Don't forget a pencil or pen! Be ready to start taking notes!
The SECOND class session:
- You should have read your syllabus and should be familiar with the expectations your instructor has for you.
- You should have purchased your books and all other materials required for the course. Remember to keep your receipts!
- You should have begun reading the required textbook.
During EVERY class:
- Be sure to follow the lecture/discussion/demonstration and take notes. You don't have to write down everything your instructor says. But you should highlight the important points made by your instructor. Don't just copy what your instructor may write on the board or present on a PowerPoint slide. Be sure to "fill-in" information your instructor may mention that was not explicitly written on the board or shown on a slide.
- Ask appropriate questions when necessary, or respectfully offer additional points.
- Ask for examples, or respectfully offer to give examples of your own.
- Ask for clarification or for repetition of major points. But remember not to take up too much class time. You can always talk with your instructor after class on some point you do not understand.
- Always respect what other students have to say.
BEFORE each class:
- Be sure to read the sections of the textbook or other readings that will be discussed in class (see the syllabus).
- Give thought to those items in your readings that you don't understand by marking passages, circling words, or underlining. Try to narrow what you didn't understand to key words or concepts, and then be prepared to ask about them in class. However, to say "I just didn't understand it" is not very helpful to your instructor. Give your instructor a starting point.
- Use a dictionary to check the meaning of words you didn't understand in your readings.
- Try to relate what you read to experiences you may have had, and ask yourself if those experiences illuminate any point in what you read.
AFTER each class:
- Be sure to review, organize, and complete your lecture notes. Turn phrases into complete sentences and abbreviations into words, while you can still remember what was said in class.
- Reread those sections of the textbook or other readings that were discussed in class.
- Think about the materials in your notes. Try to relate what was said in class to the textbook or other things that you have read. Talk about what was discussed in class with others in your class.
BEFORE taking a test:
- Read the material again. This may be the third or fourth time, but it never hurts.
- Complete your reading notes. You'll be surprised how much you may have missed.
- Review your class notes.
- Try to develop examples of important ideas. Often concrete examples help make abstract concepts easier to understand.
- Try to state important definitions or passages in your own words.
- Often your textbook has review questions available. Go over these as a way of testing your knowledge of the textbook's content.
- Write a sample examination and exchange it with one written by another student.
- Get plenty of rest. Cramming never works.
Some additional suggestions:
- Find out what your level of reading ability is. If necessary, plan some program of improvement. Reading, like any other skill, can be improved by practice. Read newspapers, news magazines, or a hobby magazine on a regular basis. Read novels for enjoyment. Select reading material that challenges your vocabulary. In short, read, read, and read some more!
- Find out if your writing skills are adequate for college-level work. Write as much as you can. Write letters to friends rather than talk to them on the phone. Keep a journal or diary. Write until writing is as natural to you as talking. In short, write, write, and write even more!
- Keep yourself informed about current events. Listen to the news. Watch television specials on particular world issues or on historical events. Try PBS stations occasionally. If you have access to cable or satellite television, watch the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, or the Science Channel, among others.