Blog of the Peer Advising Leadership Program, College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

February 6, 2008 11:58 PM

Tips for Success in Classes

To all of those celebrating new years, Happy New Year!

So classes officially began two weeks ago, and it has been busy since. Here’s a few tips to keep up in those general chemistry, biology, and physics classes, all of which were difficult to conquer, but I did survive my first two years of college.

1. Attend lectures, whether in person or via webcast. Webcast is such a great tool (except it’s on Real Player, but the EST people are working on it), but you have to have enough discipline to watch them. Watch it with a friend or try setting a specific time in the day to watch them. Just try not to cram it into the final hours before an exam, but if that works for you, go for it.

2. Write notes – do this especially for lectures, but if lectures do not help, try reading the textbooks and writing key points. Read background material in the textbooks if they help.

3. Do practice problems or homework – this helped me especially for Chem 3A/B. I did the practice problems throughout the chapter, and some assigned problems – these reinforced concepts taught in lecture. Also, for these o-chem classes, try drawing/copying mechanisms from the book several times or make flash cards. As for the first part of Bio 1AL, do the practice lab exam questions relevant to the lab that day before the quiz – it helps you prepare for the first lab exam really well.

4. Ask questions – I attended a lot of office hours, especially for all of the Chem Labs (GSIs help you with the answers to the lab questions and other concepts). But ask questions to reinforce concepts and to listen to what other people have to ask. You might learn a lot from that as well.

5. SLC and Review Sessions – if you need to attend more lectures/discussions to help review the material, definitely take advantage of all of the SLC services – they are great, especially for all of the chemistry stuff. Some classes like the Chem 3 series might have Review Sessions at night once a week, so attend those if you can.

These are just a few tips that worked for me, but since everyone’s study habits are different, they might not work for you. I hope you find the right balance that works for you and that you succeed in all of your class. Good luck!


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