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10 Things To Do After a College Class
February 21, 2018
There are many different things that you can do after class to make sure you are retaining what you’ve learned. Here are just a few.
3 things I learned. After class, write down 3 (or 5 or any number) things that you learned that class period. It could be new information, a different perspective you hadn’t considered, a concept that you can use later, or anything else. Taking the time to purposefully think about what a class taught you is beneficial because it forces you to realize exactly what you are gaining in class. This method is great for humanities classes where you are consuming lots of facts and information.
Rewrite your notes. Trying to keep up with your professor’s lecture sometimes is hard, and your notes end up scribbled and messy. Rewriting your notes will not only make them easier to review later, but the very act of rewriting them will help you as well! Many studies show that re-reading information can help your memory retain it better. The act of writing will also help you keep what you’re learning in your head.
Take a look at class materials. After class, download the lecture PowerPoint if your professor provides it. Purposefully read back through it at least once before saving it. Take any handouts you were given and add the important information to your notes. Glance back at the test/quiz you were handed back and figure out what questions and concepts you need to work harder on.
Ask questions. After class time, approach your professor or TA with any questions you have! Most professors will be willing to talk for a few minutes about the lecture, an assignment, or anything else that is bothering you. It is literally their job to help you understand the material, so don’t be shy about speaking up!
Review your confusion points. Every class I had, there was a topic or concept that I struggled with at some point. This is completely normal! You can help yourself out by reviewing that material specifically. Maybe you need to do more problems for that section of work. Maybe you need to rewrite a concept in a way that makes sense to you. Whatever you do, don’t avoid the problem. Pretending that you aren’t confused about something does not help you, so make sure that you are spending the extra time necessary to get you to a place of understanding.
Read your texts. For some classes, it was helpful to me to go back and read the assigned text again after class. After your professor has taught a lesson on a subject, your reading will be much more informed. You will be familiar with the topic already, so you’ll be able to skim some of the larger points. Looking at a text again with fresh eyes might help you pick up on some of the smaller details and nuances that were lost on you before.
Create a study plan. After class is the perfect time to ask, “What do I do now?” Knowing what your next steps are can be extremely beneficial. That could mean you make a plan for when to do your homework. Or you could draft a specific outline for your next paper. Make a schedule for when your quizzes and exams are. Lots of students can feel overwhelmed with classwork and not know where to start. Having a plan in place will help keep you from being stressed by how much you have to do.
Freewrite. Many students enjoy freewriting because of its flexibility. Freewriting is simply sitting down and writing whatever comes to your brain, with no filter. It can be done by hand on actual paper, on a word document, a whiteboard, or anywhere else that you want. The main point of doing this is just to see what is rolling around in your brain. You could work through a problem that has been bothering you, or write down everything you know about a topic in order to make connections. Don’t try to censor yourself at all: if it comes through your brain, it goes on the paper. Many students enjoy the freedom that this allows, and they find themselves usually understanding better a problem or concept that they have been struggling with. Freewriting is also a great way to brainstorm for a project. Pick a general topic that you would like to work on and then write everything that comes to mind to find the specific type of project you want to do.
Read through your homework. A habit that I developed in college that really helped me was to read through my homework assignments right after class. This accomplished a couple of things. First, I was able to draw the connection more directly between the class and my homework. Taking the time to stop and look at what I would be doing allowed me to see how my assignments related to what I had learned in class. The second way that this helped me was that it made me familiar with my topic before I started my work. If I had thoroughly read through my essay questions before doing my reading, I could pick out information that could be used later in my essay while I was doing that reading. I was so glad that I developed this habit early on, and it made me feel much more in charge of my learning.
Talk to others. After your class ends, take a moment to talk with your classmates about what you just heard or learned. Maybe someone is confused about the same thing as you and you can work it out together. Talking out loud about the class content can be really helpful, especially when you are conversing with your peers. All of your classmates will have gotten the same information as you, but your contributions to a discussion may address the same topic from a completely different perspective and be very valuable to someone else’s learning.
Making just a few of these things a habit for your time after class could really aid your learning process. Try them out this semester!
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