When exam time comes around, most students kick into high gear, putting forth their best efforts to succeed. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it is much better to bear a constant strain in classes throughout the semester than to kick into overdrive in the final days. Spending a few extra minutes a day to ensure you get the most out of every class can alleviate lots of stress down the road. There are some things you can do before, during, and after class to ensure you are making your time in the classroom count.
Read the Textbook
While it may seem onerous to actually read your textbook before class, it is time well invested. You do not have to read in great depth or become an expert on the course material before your teacher presents it, but if you lightly skim the chapter before class, you will be at least vaguely familiar with the class material before you learn it in class. Because your teacher is talking about something familiar to you, you are more likely to pay attention during the class. Reading the chapter ahead of time also helps you identify the areas you should pay extra attention to during class.
Be an Active Participant
Be an active participant during class. Now that you already have a leg up over your peers and are somewhat familiar with the course material, ask the teacher questions or reference areas of the text that you found confusing. You are more likely to remember things down the road if you discuss it in class. Rather than mindlessly copying notes as the teacher drones on, transform the class from a lecture into a discussion. Actively participating in the class will also score points with your teacher by showing that you genuinely care about their class.
Review Notes From the Previous Class
In the five minutes wasted between classes while everyone is chatting before the teacher gets started, review the notes you just took in the previous class. You are just performing that final logic check to ensure that everything you talked about for the last hour makes sense. This is also an opportunity to be certain that your notes capture the main points of the class while the material is fresh in your head.
These three tricks require a small amount of time invested up front, but you will be grateful for your extra efforts when it comes time to take on the class homework assignments. This should also help with your long-term retention of the class material, so you are not relearning everything in the final days before the big test.
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