How to Get the Most Out of Every College Class

Get the most out of your college class with these tips.

Flickr user Robert N

If you think you are doing everything in your power to do good on a certain class, but you still feel like results aren’t good enough, it’s time to reassess your methods and come up with a new plan. Here are some tips that will help you get the most out of every class, improve your development in any class you take during your college years.

Pay attention.

Try to show up early and take a seat at the front of the class. This will force you to be more present during the lecture. You’ll think twice before going on Facebook or watching the latest football game online because you know the professor may catch you.

Be curious.

One way to get the most out of your class is by asking questions. We aren’t born knowing everything. It is completely okay to don’t know an answer and ask in order to find it. Remember everyone in the class is learning, so don’t be afraid to speak up if you have doubts.

Get involved.

It is very important to get to know your teachers and to get your teachers to know you. Know the way your professor likes to teach and you will know which activities and assignments you’ll have to pay more attention to or make a bigger effort. It will be easy to ask them for help, or a recommendation letter when you need it if they actually know your name.

Get to know your classmates.

On the first week of class, make sure you introduce yourself to at least two of your classmates. Ask them their name, phone number, and email. These will come in handy if you ever have to miss a class because you can ask them for their notes, and they will probably send them to you. Just make sure to do the same in return. Who knows? Maybe you’ll become study partners or good friends.

Keep your planner up to date.

Organization is key during your whole college career. It’s kind of hard to keep up with 4, 5 or 6 classes at a time, so write everything down and check your agenda regularly. I can promise you, you’ll never miss a due date again

Take good notes.

Sometimes we think we will remember everything just by listening to the lecture. But the truth is, we are humans, not computers, so we will most likely forget a couple of things. Taking notes assures you you won’t forget a single thing, just a couple of keywords can make a big difference. Use a notebook, write with colorful pens, markers or anything you like. Some professors may allow you to use your laptop if you like it better, in that case, try to stay away from the internet and focus on taking notes. (Psst! Science says taken hand-written notes is better for you!)

Form study groups.

Especially if a big test or assignment is coming. Two brains are better than one, so just picture what four would do. If you study with other people you will be able to share ideas and notes. This is very helpful because others may have written down things you missed. By sharing and discussing, you practice and get new information and ideas from different perspectives.

Don’t cram.

Start studying 3 or 4 days before your test, depending on how long the content is. In high school, you probably studied the night before the test, or even during a break minutes before the exam. It’s time to change that method because it won’t work now. In college topics are more in-depth and complex–you won’t learn everything in an hour. So try to start studying a couple of days before the exam. Know your limits and don’t spend the whole afternoon with your head your books, you may get frustrated and stop paying attention. Two hours a day is more than enough.

Meet your professors.

Office hours are offered for a reason: take them. Whether you’re struggling in the class or not, it’s always a great idea to get to know your professor and talk over the material. One on one time with a teacher can be invaluable to your understanding. They might offer you direction, tips or tools, and give you feedback on your performance that you might otherwise not receive.

Try these out and you will see how your performance improves. You just have to try a little harder and keep going until you get there, and it helps when you’ve got these tricks up your sleeve.