By Elena and Lily
With most of us students either already in the first couple weeks of a new semester or starting a new semester soon, a lot of stress is starting to kick in. Starting a semester strong can be key to getting a good grade in a class, especially if there’s a lot of fundamentals taught at the beginning. However, you can largely decrease the amount of stress you have throughout the entire semester, as long as you follow these tips!
One of the first things you need to do in each of your classes is reading through your syllabus. Most of the time, these will outline big projects you might have and when they’re due. They also will tell you what your teacher expects from you as a student, and thus will help you plan out what the semester will look like.
Sometimes, a syllabus might help you see some red flags for a class early. That means you would have the chance to switch out of the class or into a different teacher’s class as early as the first day, if you can find the red flags.
Seeing as the syllabus can help you see what the class will be like, this is the first way you can begin studying for your classes and set up your study needs.
Read the textbooks
Although it’s not necessary to read the textbook for every class, you can’t always know that unless you actually read the textbook. So, you should definitely be starting the first few weeks of your classes at least skimming through the textbook before class, if not taking some notes.
Also, given that most of the first weeks of classes tend to be the fundamentals, this means all of this is information that will help you understand the rest of the information much better, and thus you’ll have a much stronger base for the semester.
Even if it’s not necessary to read the textbook, doing so will give you a stronger base for you to understand the rest of the content. If you can do anything to do so, especially for harder classes, this is a must.
Talk to the teacher
If your teacher has office hours or has any time in class, a great way to start the semester strong is to talk to your teacher. See if they have any tips for you to do, or any ways that they recommend taking their class.
They know the material, they’ve taken multiple classes on this subject and know many people who have done so as well. No one should know a class better than the teacher, so talking to them will help you set up a study regime for their class and help you know what you need to do.
The teacher might not always be right, and might tell you something you realize isn’t true for yourself, however talking to the teacher is going to help you know exactly what you need to do for their class, even if the teacher doesn’t realize it.
Also, talking to the teacher may give you brownie points in the future that you can use to help yourself get out of a couple of assignments, or get bumped up a grade near the end of the semester. Establishing these relationships early with the teachers, or even TAs in many cases as well, will make the upcoming semester much easier.
Figuring out the Class
This is a little more complicated but an important step for every class. Doing the step before is going to help you with this one especially however just a few days in the classroom should help you be getting the idea.
Each class has a different curriculum and different teacher teaching that can greatly change your path to an A. Getting an idea of what the teacher wants to see out of you is going to be crucial to getting that A.
If you want more information on how to do this check out our article How to Get on Your Teachers Good Side. To summarize, figuring out the tone of the classroom, how strict they are, how they teach their class are all important things to think about when figuring out which type of students you want to be.
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