Five Tips For Doing Well in Class

Everyone wants good grades, but a 4.0 is hard. When you are taking 12+ hours of classes, along with extracurriculars, work, and a social life, it can be nearly impossible. You have to put a lot of effort into your classes to get the results you want. I am by no means perfect in the classroom, but I have improved my grades a lot from last year by following these 5 tips.

  1. Sit near the front of class. This is a common tip you will hear every semester, but it really works. My first year in school, I sat in the back of the room and I always found myself on my phone or laptop and not paying attention. This made me miss a lot of things my professors would say, some of which were not in their lecture notes or power points. It is important to always pay attention and stay as engaged as possible.

  2. Turn off your phone!!! This is probably the most difficult tip to actually follow. I know that no one wants to turn off their phones for fear of missing something important while it is off. However, it can wait. It is so hard to pay attention in class if you feel your phone vibrating and want to look at it every few minutes. If you cannot turn your phone off, at least put it on do not disturb. This way you still won’t feel texts or other notifications, but you can turn it on to get call notifications for important situations. Phones are so distracting in class, I have looked at text conversations and end up on twitter sometimes when I leave it open. It is so important to just shut them off.

  3. Take paper notes. Just like phones, laptops can also be incredibly distracting. I spent good chunks of Intro to Bio shopping on amazon. While you may get a good deal online, you will not get a good grade. Not only are laptops distracting, there have been studies done that show you retain much more of the information when you actually write them down. Notes also allow for better shorthand and can make it easier to keep up with the professor.

  4. Ask questions. One of my biggest fears is asking a stupid question in a big lecture hall with 100+ students. Like many professors will say, though, is that there are no stupid questions. If you are wondering about something, chances someone else in the room is too. You will not only get the answer you need, but will help someone else. This will also make sure that your professor knows who you are if you are asking them questions. Making yourself known will always help you, especially if you need a recommendation letter, or if you are a few points shy of a grade they will be more likely to help you out.

  5. Read the material before class. Getting a slight understanding of the material before you go to class will help you during lecture. It will help you follow along more easily, and will clear up a lot of questions you had going into class. You will be better off if you are confused before class than during class. It is so important to build a foundation of the material before, and then fill in the blanks during class.