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

September 21, 2010 12:34 PM

Classes have begun

Fall '10 has begun and I hope everyone was able to enroll in their desired classes. If you didn't get a class of your choice, please drop by 260 Mulford to get advice from your major adviser on a substitute course. Just a friendly reminder that Sept 24 is the last day to add courses with a $5 fee and drop courses with a $10 fee. Classes added/dropped after this deadline will need the Dean's approval.

classes at Cal are often very challenging. Quizzes and problem sets fill up most of your schedule and before you know it, exams are knocking on the door. It can all become quiet overwhelming but there are various ways to cope with the challenges a difficult class can pose. Here are some insights:

a) Attend lecture: Lectures are your #1 resources because often times your professor will introduce vital materials that the textbook doesn't cover. Also, lectures will familiarize you with your professor's approaches to problem solving and this is crucial for doing well on problem sets and exams. If you have to miss lecture for any reason, make sure to get lecture notes from a friend

b) Attend section. Sections are very useful resources for clarifying materials that you didn't understand during lectures, highlighting essential points from the reading and lecture, and answering any questions you may have. GSIs usually spend a lot of section time reviewing complicated concepts and helping students with difficult problems.

c) Go to office hours. Attending office hours can seem like a daunting task but remember this: GSIs and Professors hold office hours just for students, and are happy to answer your questions. It can be intimidating to go see professors, especially in huge classes, but you will be happy you did. GSIs and professors hold office hours to answer more specific questions and it's a great way to get some individual help.

d) Take a look at the readings: All of the material covered in exams or problems sets is not always covered in lecture. Essential material may be in the textbook, and many problems became much easier after doing the assigned readings. Learn to skim articles effectively, paying close attention to first and last sentences of each paragraph and understanding basic arguments.

Most importantly, make sure to review materials covered in lecture and clear up any confusions well before the exam. Office hours are most crowded during this time of the semester and you are more likely to get a better result from attending office hours if you have a good understanding of the context of the question. Don't wait until the last minute to resolve issues!



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