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How to Succeed In Class Without Really Trying

With the new semester starting, I’ve already had a ton of anxiety about how I am going to do well in all of my classes. How can I make this semester better than the last? How can I find a way to pay more attention in class and raise my grades?

Especially when you’re taking a class for a GE, or a random elective you chose to fill the gap in your schedule, it becomes really hard to succeed because you’re just not motivated to learn the information. Instead of paying attention in class and taking notes, it’s way easier to turn to a more exciting activity, such as checking your Facebook or doing some good old online shopping. Unfortunately, the professor is not going to be impressed that you ordered a pair of designer boots for 50% off.

So in order to avoid zoning out, here are some tips to try out to keep you more engaged and turn your class into an easy A!

1. Sit in the Front of the Class

Sitting in front of the class is such a small step in improving your concentration, and it takes virtually no effort. You just have to shut off that small voice in the back of your head on the first day that says to sit in the back so you can avoid eye contact with the professor and doodle on your notepad. Sitting in the front will basically force you to pay attention since the professor will probably be watching what you’re doing, and even ask you some questions. Sure, it’s kind of intimidating, but it will pay off during midterms.

2. Put Away the Laptop

I’ve also found that actually handwriting the notes is much more beneficial than typing them. First of all, it will obviously keep you from closing your Word document full of notes and going on the internet. Additionally, handwritten notes tend to keep you more engaged and actually allow you to learn and memorize the information more efficiently. You have to pay attention more to what you’re writing than what you’re typing, and this could be the difference between an A and a B on that first quiz.

3. Participate, Participate, Participate

This one might take a little more effort, but it’s worth it. Regardless of the extra effort, it’s still an easy way to keep engaged in lecture, get some clarification on an issue, and even get on your professor’s good side. Participation will most likely be a part of your grade anyway, so asking a question or two once a week will surely rack up some points. Asking questions in class can clear up confusions, which can also help you avoid going to inconvenient office hours.

4. Stop Watching the Clock

Why do some classes seem to drag on for five hours? Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer to that. What I DO have is a way to make those classes feel a little bit shorter (even if it means feeling like three hours instead of five). The answer is this: stop watching the clock. Stop glancing at it every second to see how much closer you are to getting out of there. This will help you actually focus on the lecture instead of the amount of time that has passed. Class will be over before you know it!


5. When the Professor Repeats Something, it’s Important

There is almost a secret code professors use when they’re trying to hint that something will be on the test. Usually, a big indicator is when they repeat something. If your professor repeats something, or even bluntly says that this information is important to know, make a note of it! Star it, highlight it, underline it, anything. This will come in handy when you’re studying for midterms or finals, and you are trying to filter the most important information out of all six chapters.

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