EACH YEAR, STUDENTS ASK ABOUT THE BEST WAY TO STUDY FOR THIS CLASS, WHILE SOME WONDER IF PASSING IS POSSIBLE AT ALL. I HAVE FOUND IN THE LAST 27 YEARS THAT THOSE STUDENTS WHO SUCCEED HAVE CERTAIN HABITS THAT MARK THEM FOR SUCCESS:
1. BUDGET TIME: Not doing this is the most serious obstacle to success. Assignments are posted in advance, and it is a safe bet to assume a quiz will be given on the due date. Reading or skimming the night before it is due works for some, but not many. The material requires the kind of sustained attention that a quick reading doesnt afford. I have taught Macbeth 3 to 4 times a year for 21 years, and each year, I see something I missed the year before. Prepare drafts of papers ahead of time, so revisions can be made. Papers take more time than you think, and computers cannot do all the work. Dont over rely on technology. Internet assignments may require additional time depending on how familiar you are with the technology. You will learn to use the on-line sites I have made. More and more college teachers are using this format. Just surfing the net is not the same as doing research.
2. PREPARE QUESTIONS FOR CLASS: I teach the class by asking you questions, and hoping you will do the same. The more we interact, the more I can tell where you might be having trouble. The most intelligent question you can ask, is I dont understand. Remember that the only stupid question is the one that is not asked.
3. BRING MATERIALS TO CLASS: Materials for this course come from four sources:
(1) the internet from my home pages,
(2) packets put in the library for you to read and xerox,
(3) class handouts,
(4) the textbooks.
Not bringing the materials to class is one of the most serious reasons for failure. Sitting in class without looking at the materials in front of you and just taking notes will not work; Therefore...
4. SEMESTER EXAMINATIONS: This test is designed to reward those who were faithful to the reading and had materials in class each day. You will be given excerpts from the various primary sources we have examined, and will be asked to...
<1>identify the literary period in which the work was composed
<3>identify the style of the passage
<4>answer short analytical questions about the passage
Those in the past who did not read or bring materials to class found the test unusually difficult because on it they were seeing the passages for the first time.
5. ASK FOR HELP: If you feel yourself falling behind, and leave class saying, I dont understand this stuff, then the time to ask is that day or the next. The course is cumulative, and what we learn from day to day is what you will need for the next units we do. Asking for clarifications at the time you have trouble is better than letting matters go. Its worth repeating that the only stupid question is the one that is not asked.
6. EVALUATIONS: Quizzes generally test plot knowledge and some interpretive questions to see if you understand what you were to have read. Questions are generally short answers responses. Tests are analytical essay with a required question, and your choice of what you can answer thereafter for a total of 2 questions. Usually the test asks you to apply a concept or an idea to a work we studied. You have to relate the two elements and draw an inference. I do not ask you to memorize and repeat what was said in class.
7. PSYCHOLOGY: Maybe this is the most important, epsecially if you do not like the course, the material, me or the way it is taught!!! Try to keep in mind that assignments in the class have developed over time based on what returning alumni have said most benefited them in college. That wont make the work load easier, but maybe youll see the why behind what we do.
AREAS OF CONCERN
|does not bring materials to class||check work on the board: check homework central before leaving school|
|morning or evening person?||if this is the more difficult subject, do you find it easier to study in the morning or evening?
when can you best concentrate?
|is inattentive||ask for a seat change; ask questions; take notes|
|late papers and/or assignments||work on a schedule that includes job, extra-curricular activities, free time|
|poor performance on test / quiz||review comments; ask for a conference to go over the test;
did you ask when you did not understand before taking the test?
did you review the "how to take a test" link on the web site?
|"I do not understand what is said in class."||reading at home? taking notes?
|NONE OF THE ABOVE WORKS!!!||ASK FOR A CONFERENCE AS SOON AS YOU SENSE A DIFFICULTY|
REMEMBER AS NOTED ABOVE THAT THE ONLY UNTELLIGENT QUESTION IS THE ONE
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