Advice from students who did especially well in the past.
The following are responses to an email asking the following.
I'm interested in your approach to the class. Every year, several students ask me how to do best in my class. In the past, I've asked a few students who did well what they did. This time, I'm going one step beyond. I will post your replies on the class web site next year.
This was sent to the eight students who did best in the class. The replies I received are below, unedited.
I went over the old exams and went to office hours if something was unclear. Of course I also went to class and read the book.
I found that going to class already having read the material in the book was essential. That way, class reinforced what I already had exposure to. As for studying for exams, understanding the key terms on the review sheets was important, but it was as equally important to understand how they related to each other. Also, going over past exams helped a lot, but I used it mainly as an indicator of what I did and didn't understand, and then went back to the book, lecture notes, and slides to really get a grasp of that certain concept.
The key to success in your class is definitely attending all lectures. It was important to use your words to supplement the book and vis versa. Also, I went over each lecture after class and started studying for the exams at least over a week in advance. Similarly, I began the homeworks around a week before they were due.
I think the secrets to my success in the class would be reading the book, reading wikipedia, attending your office hours, and meeting with a study group before the exam.
I went over the old exams and went to office hours if something was unclear. Of course I also went to class and read the book. To be honest, there was not anything special I did for this course. Just went to every class, did the homework a few days before the due date, and actually cared to learn instead of just getting the right answer. Besides, any grade other than A+ is not considered success .
I re-copied my notes from every lecture using both the lecture slides and my own notes taken in class. I made sure to understand every slide and if I did not I referenced the book or searched online for explanations. Before exams I typed up a study guide by defining the terms, answering the questions, and discussing the important topics given on the review sheet (including all relevant information). Just by doing this I learned most of the material and was able to continously review the typed up study guide to solidify it.
page by Steve Mount, last modified Aug. 21,2016