• Taka

College success #4: 7 steps to ace your classes (part I)

Updated: Jul 13, 2020

Today, I cover the 7 golden steps (tried and proven) to do well in your classes. I'm sure a lot of you are nervous, anxious about how the fall semester is going to turn out especially during these unprecedented times.


However, these steps will apply regardless of whether your classes will be in person or online:

  1. Front-load by reading the syllabus IN and OUT

  2. Write all key dates (quizzes, exams, coursework, etc) in your calendar

  3. Prepare yourself before every lecture/lab

  4. GO TO CLASS

  5. Ask at least one question during/right after class (active participation)

  6. Do the homework and internalize key concepts

  7. Get to know your Teaching Assistant (TA) and Professor

That's all there is to acing your course and giving a cheeky boost to your GPA! I talk about why GPA is important in this article so make sure to check that out as well. In this article, I will go over the first 4 steps in detail. The latter 3 steps will be discussed in the next article.

Let's begin :)

Front-load by reading the syllabus IN and OUT

The syllabus you get for every class is the key resource you must read at the beginning of the semester. I mean it, read the syllabus from top to bottom and here's why:

  • You understand the key learning outcomes

  • You understand HOW you will be graded

  • You understand which graded component to focus your time, energy, and effort on

It is amazing how the professor has laid everything out for you. You know exactly what to expect and in terms of grades, you can track how you are doing based on the grading criteria. This isn't the case in industry. There are general directions given to you on certain tasks and projects but these are subject to change since businesses are constantly evolving! The courses you take in college haven't changed that much over the past decade or even longer so take this huge advantage you have!


Write all key dates (quizzes, exams, coursework, etc) in your calendar

This is important for you to stay organized and manage your time effectively. It will also help you distribute your workload so you can accommodate time for other activities including extracurricular, sports, chilling, etc.


Prepare yourself before every lecture/lab

Know what you will be getting out from the 50 min lecture or 2-hour lab. Generally, your TA or Professor will upload the lecture notes or pre-lab for you beforehand so make sure you go over that and jot down any questions you have for you to ask during lecture or office hours. Being mentally prepared and using that extra 10 minutes of skimming through lecture notes makes a huge difference in your understanding of the material!


GO TO CLASS

This is probably the most important step out of all 7 steps. Why? Once you miss a lecture, you are disrupting the routine that you created and it will screw up the productive momentum you built up. As Woody Allen famously said,

80% of success is showing up

Showing up to every class consistently will help you build a life skill: consistency. I believe this essential to have and it will transfer over to your personal and professional life as well. Again, try to attend every single class whether in person or online.


Stay tuned for a detailed discussion on the final 3 steps in the next article! If you have any questions, comments, or thoughts send me an email at taka.ikigai@gmail.com or simply DM me on Linkedin!

Taka's Tip Top Tips

When you have disagreements with someone, make sure you talk face to face. Don't try to solve it over text or email.

Thanks for sticking around! Hope you found one or two things useful and remember, take baby steps and good things will happen eventually. Be yourself and let's get moving!


Yours sincerely,

Taka

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