How to Decode Your Syllabus. Better Preparation = Higher Grades

decode your syllabus

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Do you always find the first week of school hectic? Well, it doesn’t have to be. Being prepared will help you not dread the week, and you’ll be the most calm compared to fellow students who are freaking out. It is all well and good to tell you: you need to be prepared. But what are the things you need the week your class starts to make your life a little bit easier?

Read on! We have put together a comprehensive list to keep you at the top of the prepared class. You’ll be stress-free in no time!

in the syllabus

Create a notebook or folder for each course

Preparation requires organization. Organization takes some work on the front end, but the time you put into organizing ahead of time will result in more efficient studying. And that will help you get the best grades possible.

For each class per semester (or quarter), create a small binder. Place your syllabus for the course in the front of your notebook. If it is out of sight you could forget important deadlines to help you pass your class with flying colors. Divide your notebook by notes, readings and study guides.

Highlight your professor’s contact information

Sometimes you’ll have questions for your teacher, and you’ll be too lazy to ask because you don’t know how to reach them. Do yourself a favor by highlighting their contact information on the syllabus so you can quickly find what you’re looking for.

Your professor wants to help you succeed both with a good grade and knowledge gained. They give you their contact information to help you help yourself. There is no greater resource as a student than a teacher willing to answer your questions. Take advantage of this opportunity!

Which part of the class should you center your energies on?

Evaluating how you should prioritize your class is important. If you are taking more than one class, working or have children all pull at your attention. Sometimes you’ll have exams or quizzes at the same time as another course. Read through your syllabus and highlight where your professor breaks down the basis of your grade.

Examples

Understanding how your teacher will determine your grade helps you know where to put your priorities. If  25% is attendance, it is basically a free quarter of your grade and you can make it a priority to never miss a class.

Figure out what grade you need to pass!

Determine the grades you need in each course, and the way your professor will be basing your grade (see point above). In order to get an A, B or C, you need to pass your final exam or receive a certain grade on your term paper. When you are at the beginning of your semester, understanding the grade goal you have and what you need to do to acquire it will help you achieve your desired grade because you will know exactly what you need to do to get it.

Write down important dates and put them in your organizer

Cramming is the worst type of studying! If you’re the type of person that has a hard time getting things done, run out and buy a monthly/weekly planner or utilize your email calendar. Trust us on this. Go through each course syllabus and put the deadline dates into your calendar (if you are using an email/phone calendar, enable push notifications to remind you!). From there, you can estimate when you should start studying or writing a paper.

Studying and reviewing your notes should begin happening at least a week before your exam for maximum learning. Don’t be afraid to put additional deadlines on yourself, like if you have a term paper due on December 1, your calendar could look like this:

  • October 10 – decide on paper topic
  • October 25 – outline for paper
  • November 10 – rough draft
  • November 20 – revise rough draft
  • November 30 – final review of paper
  • December 1 – print or upload and turn in paper

If you plan ahead you can plan around big holidays, breaks or fun events you have planned.

Figure out when and where your class is. Do you even know when you’re going to park?

So you have your schedule set. Do you know what building and room your class is in? At this point, be sure to get a feel of where you’re supposed to be headed. Sometimes you’ll see you might have to walk to the other side of campus. Have you planned enough time for yourself? Do you know where you’re going to park? What if you need to go to the bathroom? These things are crucial to your success. Think ahead!

 

If you do these above tips, great! You no longer need to worry about anything since you already have everything established. Do you really want to experience all that anxiety, being late, not knowing where to sit, and being stressed overall? This guide will help you avoid these awkward moments and allow you to succeed. All you need to worry about now is figuring out your teacher’s standards so that you’ll get the grade you truly deserve.

 

About Aurora 69 Articles
Aurora is studying Business Administration at California State University - San Marcos. She is a nontraditional college student that loves to help out other students since she had no help when she was starting out college. During her free time, she loves to play with her two chihuahuas and read.

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