Preparing for Class
Although all American classes at different schools and institutions differ from each another in a variety of significant ways, there are universal expectations all students in all classroom settings are expected to follow. There are some things that students can do both before and during class in order to increase their chances of thriving.
It is imperative that you are on time to class. Besides showing disrespect to the instructor and your fellow classmates, being late to class means that you may miss important announcements or presented material at the beginning of class. Once inside, pick a seat free from distractions, including moving away from peers who may distract you. Make sure that you can see the blackboard, the projection screen, and any other visual aids (maps, charts, etc.) that the teacher will be using, and that the teacher can see you so that it is easier to participate and ask questions.
When you are taking notes, do not try to write down everything that the professor is saying. Instead, listen for the most important information. Writing in shorthand or in an outline may be helpful. Besides taking notes, write down any questions you may have so that you do not forget to ask them. Throughout the class, review the class objectives with yourself. Your notes should closely follow those objectives set forth by the teacher.
Finally, before leaving, take time at the end of class to make a short to do list. Write down homework assignments and any upcoming tests and projects. Also, note any meetings or study groups you in which you will be participating in the days before the next class.