The following is a list of the good study habits that students use in my course to improve their grade.  If you are unhappy with your grade in the course, one way to improve your performance is to start integrating these tips into your normal schedule.  Bon Chance and let me know how things go. 


1)      SHOW LOTS OF WORK: It is very rare for a student who is a hard worker to continue to do poorly.  If you are working very hard on your problems they should reflect all the thought and work you put into it.  A blank sheet of paper with the numbers of the problems is not very useful to an instructor trying to help you because it does not reflect what you are getting stuck on and does not show all your thought and time.  A paper which has questions like “what is____?” lets us know you are getting stuck on the vocabulary of problem but you may know what equation to use.  Or maybe you just don’t know what equations to use, by showing all the equations then writing “where do I go from here” shows you can start but making the next step is a challenge.  Write Comments, questions on anything you read or write when you are doing homework or taking notes.  It shows the instructor where you are getting stuck and helps demonstrate how much you are thinking about the problems. 

2)      TURN IN ASSIGNMENTS ON TIME: On time assignments will prevent you from getting slammed with late point deductions for good work but not timely delivery.  Always check assignments with instructor on when things are due either as they are assigned or on a weekly basis. 

3)      BE PUNCTUAL: When you come to class late you have missed part of the lecture and need to start picking up what is going on ½ way through the lecture.  It is similar to trying to understand a book that you decide to start to read on page 100.  You have missed the introduction of the characters and how they might be related to the main character.  This does not make much sense, does it?  To understand what is going on you need to start from the beginning, same for class. 

4)      NO CELL PHONES or LAPTOPS: While we are becoming a more technologically advanced society these distractions will often sacrifice our attention to the lecture and what is being taught to other things going on around us.  Cell phones should be shut off or put on vibrate at the beginning of class, so that they will not disturb anyone else but if you need to be contacted then you have the choice to answer it.  Laptops are good tools if you are taking notes on them but are often not needed in class.  Carrying on in electronic conversations in class or playing games is not beneficial to the other people around you or yourself when you are trying to understand the material.  Always be courteous and ask the instructor if they would mind you bringing one to class if it is needed. 

5)      BE FOCUSED: When you are in class, you are in class to learn.  It is not time to start up conversations with friends, get notes you have missed, ask the instructor for handouts previously missed.  If you miss class or have a question about a grading policy then the time is after or before class has begun to take care of these concerns. 

6)      READ AHEAD: This applies to things other than just reading.  Doing assignments early allows you time to think about things.  It is rare for everyone to fly through the homework in one sitting.  Starting the assignments or the reading early allows you time to think of questions to ask the instructor or other students in the class. 

7)      GO SEE INSTRUCTOR:  Your instructor is there to help you in any way they can.  It is your choice to make use of those office hours or make appointments for other times you can meet at.  All questions can not be answered in the normal lecture time so it is wise to go and see the instructor before or after class with additional questions, get handouts, review homework or tests. 

8)      FORM A STUDY GROUP:  Hearing an explanation from a friend is sometimes more beneficial than having the instructor explain it.  Hearing a different explanation of a concept always reinforces your understanding and breadth of the topic.  Often teaching other students is a good way to find out what you don’t understand as well.  DO NOT DO HOMEWORK in groups.  Often homework in groups will just be copied.  This is not beneficial.  Try attempting the problem first and then getting together in groups to go over the solving. 

9)      REVIEW PAST MISTAKES: When you get a homework assignment back or a test back, one of the best ways to improve your grades is to go over what you got wrong as soon as you get it back.  Making corrections is a good way to clean out misconceptions and reaffirm correct thinking. 

10)  BE PREPARED: You also need to be prepared when you get to class.  This includes but is not limited to having a single notebook or folder to keep all of your notes for that one class in, bringing a text book, a calculator, homework etc.  If you spend too much time searching for the things you need for class, or did not bring the correct information to class then it hurts your understanding of the material presented in class.  Every teacher has their own idea of what they would like you to bring to class.  Ask them to make sure that you know their expectations.  This also applies to if you missed class then to be prepared for class you should get the class notes that were missed from another student or the instructor before class has begun not during class or after class.