Let me share a story to you. Once upon a time, there was a student called John. He was a hardworking boy, read his books, took notes in class, didn’t miss any class in school, did his homework everytime. Sitting next to him was the boy called Jason, who kind of listened to teacher, sort of took notes, usually completed his homework— if he ever came to class at all. However, Jason seems to always pass the exam with flying colors. And John, well, he was lucky to not fail. If this sounds familiar to your situation, you need to keep on reading.
The thing I want you to walk away with this story is: You don’t start preparing for your exam a few days before. You begin when you start your first class at school, or even before that. The exam’s probably 4 months away, so you’d ask yourself: “Why bother?” or “Missing just this one calculus lesson can’t do any harm”. Apparently, if this is your case, you have to make getting to bed ealier a habit, start planning everything ahead, and decide going to class is something you must do automatically. So as the big day draws closer, you won’t feel all those butterflies and moths in your stomach. You know that the easiest way to fail is to not adequately prepare. Oh, and if you are in college, be smart and don’t schedule early morning classes if you can barely see straight before noon!
So now you have gotten out of bed, sitting in class, waiting respectfully for your teacher to arrive. Now what? In fact this you should have asked yourself this question last night or several days ago. Because as you step into the class, your teacher expect you to have:
- Read the assignment .
- Brought your notes/books.
- Open your book to the right page, and taken out your homework to pass up.
Don’t waste your valuable time looking for things when you could have done a last-minute check at home, instead of whining, ” I left it somewhere/ with my girlfriend/ lost it.” Imagine not having reviewed your notes, and you’re unfortunately called upon to answer a question… Or your teacher suddenly decides to give a pop quiz, suppose it’s an open-book test… and you don’t even have a book to open? My sister was notorious for forgetting homework assignments.. or forgetting to bring in those she had actually done. I solved the problem by handing her a bright red manila folder marked ‘HOMEWORK,’ into which she shoved every assignment ithe instant it was done. And I overhauled her calendar so she stopped “forgetting” so many assignments in the first place.
How to prepare for any class?
Preparing for class actually begins with completing all your reading assignments. Not just the main text, but the handouts and relevant articles as well. Without this course material, almost everything won’t make sense in class the next day. It would be hard to grasp what the teacher is saying, let alone taking some decent notes. Even when your teacher says something noteworthy, you’ll unlikely realize it. But if you read your assignments, evaluating the relative importance of some remarks the teacher makes won’t be that difficult. And you’ll certainly not feel lost. Remember the homework too!
Review the Old Notes
If you don’t check your notes, how on earth would you know where you left off last time? Be sure to do this, as every lecture or discussion will use that as the starting point.
Prepare Your List of Questions
You probably have some ‘burning’ questions that you’re seeking answers for. In the course of the lecture, some of them will be answered, some of them, sadly not. Ask those questions that were not answered.
Prepare Your Attitude
Hating biology does not grant you the right to choose to fail. Using hate as an excuse is not the wisest thing to do; it’s probably wiser to work on your attitude. This should not be such a hard thing as all it takes is two things: being ready to learn, and actively participating in class. Think, could the right attitude for each class be what you’re missing?
Preparing for a test need not drain you of all your energy, what you need is a solid strategy. All your efforts: attending class, taking notes, doing your homework – and handing it in too -, the thousands of reading assignments you must take; that’s what they call “studying”. And you know you cannot do anything meaningful in that exam room if you start late. You have to be faithful to your study program. But the biggest part of all this is class. There’s no other way round this, none. The sooner that bed becomes less of a friend, the better.