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CAE - Learning Center

Prepare for Class

One of the most common mistakes students make is not preparing for class or feeling that they don't have to prepare. Often, professors don't check to see if students have done the reading, and often, they don't collect homework. So, while you may not receive a "0" for work you didn't do for class, you will suffer the consequences on an exam, or even a pop quiz. You also risk falling behind and playing catch up at the end of the semester.

Moreover, when you don't prepare, you place yourself at another kind of disadvantage. You are less likely to ask questions and are less engaged in the discussion or the lecture. You put yourself on the outside of the class instead of really feeling like you are a part of it.

Tips on preparing for class:

  • Listen and accurately write down all assignments that the professor gives at the end of class so that you know exactly what he or she expects of you for the next class.
  • Read everything that is assigned, whether it's a chapter in a book, an article, a whole book, etc. The professor has assigned it for a reason and expects you to have read it. Take notes to help you retain and understand what you've read.
  • Prepare a list of questions to ask in class. One of the best ways to prepare for a class is to determine what you don't understand or what confuses you.
  • Do any problems that are assigned. If the professor goes over the homework in class, you will be able to ask questions about problems that were difficult for you to do. If the professor doesn't go over problems in class, you can get help or ask questions during his/her office hours. If you think about the purpose of homework problems, you'll realize that they are meant to give you a way to determine what you do and don't understand about a chapter or lecture. So, take advantage of the opportunity!