<<<Read the assignment prior to going to class>>>
The goal here is to identify which items/topics are familiar to you, which items/topics are similar to things you already know, and which items/topics are totally new. A general familiarity with new topics will aid in following the class lecture or discussion.
- Make notes on any topics that you do not understand.
- Identify those items that you should know from previous (prerequisite) courses, and look them up in your old books or notes if necessary. (You do still have your old books and notes, don't you?)
- Try to identify which items are likely to be covered in the lecture or discussion and which relate to things from a previous lecture or discussion that you still don't understand.
- If you find yourself "daydreaming" or "dozing off", take a break and do something else for a while. Either you are studying or you are not studying. You can not study effectively while you are thinking about something else or are too sleepy to stay awake.
<<<Try to do the homework assignment.>>>
Treat this as a "pretest" to see how well you understand what you read and to identify topics you need to reread or ask about in class.
- Identify which homework problems appear to be similar to the Example Problems in the book.
- Make an initial attempt at solving all of the homework problems -- including the ones that appear to be different from the Example Problems, the ones that you think you know how to do, the ones you think you don't know how to do, the ones that look easy, and the ones that look difficult.
- Make a list of difficulties encountered.
<<<Attend class regularly>>>
If you're not going to attend the class, you might as well study the material on your own and take a test out exam.
- Ask about any items from your list of questions that pertain to previous lectures/discussions or that you don't think will be covered in the current lecture/discussion.
- Pay attention to and participate in the class lecture or discussion. Take as complete of a set of notes as you can while still participating. Use shorthand and/or abbreviations freely -- you'll be rewriting the notes later anyway.
- Listen for answers to other questions from your list. If these questions are not covered during the normal lecture/discussion, ask about them.
<<<Rewrite your notes after class>>>
The goal here is to create a set of notes that will make sense later and will help you study for a test.
- It is usually the case that you don't have time to write down everything important. What you do write down often ends up sloppy and unorganized. A sloppily written, incomplete set of notes is of no long term value.
- Reorganize the class notes as necessary into a logical order. Not only will a clearly written, well-organized set of notes help you study for tests in the current course, it will also be important when you get into another course and need to look back at this prerequisite material to remind yourself what you did.
- Fill in details that you did not have time to write down in class.
- Just the process of reorganizing and rewriting the notes will help firm up the ideas in your mind!