• Taka

College success #5: 7 steps to ace your classes (part II)

Updated: Jul 13, 2020

I hope you are all doing well. Today, I cover the last 3 steps in detail as part of the series on acing your classes.


As a quick recap, this is what the 7 golden steps look like:

  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

Remember, these steps apply regardless of whether your courses are in-person or virtual. If you stay consistent throughout the semester, I guarantee you will get 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. Let's get right into step 5.


4 years at college will fly by so make the most out of it!

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

Active participation will help you learn quicker. For every lecture you attend, you should always have questions to ask. Either because you're unsure of some concepts on the lecture notes (step 3) or you simply want to know more about a certain area. You are missing out on the learning process if you stop asking questions. Over the past couple of years, I learned the importance of staying curious and constantly asking questions such as "why does this happen?","how does this work?" etc. Make that extra effort of going to your Teaching Assistant or Professor to clarify certain topics or simply to learn more. This will dramatically steepen your learning curve.

Do the homework and internalize key concepts

I mean DO THE HOMEWORK. No matter how small the homework assignments, you must follow through and complete them. Why? Homework's are designed to help you understand how the materials in the lecture and various assumptions are applied to different types of problems. I would recommend solving the problems with a study partner or in a small group. It makes the problem-solving process enjoyable and most importantly, you learn from your peers as well. Remember, teamwork outperforms individual output!

Get to know your Teaching Assistant (TA) and Professor

This is important for 3 reasons:

  • You learn more and quicker

  • You unlock new opportunities e.g. research positions, recommendation letters, etc

  • They grade your assignments and exams!

TA's have gone through the course and did very well. Don't reinvent the wheel, but rather utilize his/her experience to learn more about the teaching materials and get insider tips on acing the course! The overall content and layout for most university courses don't change much over the years. If you are looking to move into academia, building relationships with TA's and professors becomes even more important as they provide you with recommendation letters/research opportunities. Finally, many students forget that TA's and professors are also human beings. Treat them with respect and they will come out of their way to help you.


Be respectful, show a willingness to learn by asking questions, and you will be surprised by the relationships you build over 4 years! In fact, up to this date, I am still in touch with my English teacher from freshman year. To this date, he kindly provides feedback on my grammar and sentence structure for application materials and essays etc.


Stay tuned for 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!


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If you are an incoming college student and want to connect with others, make sure to check out my friend Tristin's social platform Sociouse here. You can mingle and make friends before you set foot on campus and also find your potential roommate!

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Taka's Tip Top Tips

Write down your 3 action items for today and try to complete them no matter what!

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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