College is fun except for the actual class part. And while some people may enjoy working very very very hard to satisfy random criteria from class to class, you can make all this a lot easier on yourself.

You don’t have to sit in a lonely room and memorize endless pages of notes to do well on an exam. You have to learn the material. And it’s not as hard as you’re making it out to be. You can easily boost your GPA, and you know it.

Make learning a part of your everyday life and you shouldn’t ever need to pull an all-nighter. If you do it right you may even learn something you can take with you for the rest of your life. Or at least to get you through that damn Intro To Public Speaking class.

1. Talk to the professor

If you’re at a school with 20,000 or less students you may actually talk to a prof. A professor’s job is to get published and, hopefully, get grant money while building the prestige of the university by growing their academic reputation.

What isn’t a priority? Making sure you learn a damn thing. That’s all you for the grand price of $9,999.99. Per semester. Living expenses not included.

But they’re not all frowns and tweed jackets. Most of them have a genuine passion for the subject(s) they’re teaching. Show up to their office hours at least once a week and ask for clarity on something, even if you know it already. Giving them a chance to discuss their favorite subject may make them think kindly on your paper and exam grades. It’s not uncommon for them to bump their favorites up a letter.

(This also applies to Graduate Student Assistants minus the tweed and plus greasy hair and lack of sleep.)

2. Take less notes

Taking tons of notes is a waste of time. You’re gonna have to go back over them anyway, but you will help your cognitive learning more by actually listening to the lecture.

Develop a shorthand for writing notes. ‘Government’ becomes ‘gov’t.’ ‘Cheeseburger’ becomes ‘cburg.’ Write yourself a legend if you can’t remember ‘em all. But writing less and focusing on the lecture will help your brain digest the info better. In fact, here’s a good list of abbreviations to get you started.

3. Record the lecture

Even better than taking notes in class is recording the lecture. Then you can take notes on your own time at your own pace. If you get some other students involved and take turns recording the lectures you don’t even have to go to class every time (more time for Madden!)…unless they take attendance.

Speaking of other students, though…

4. Hang out with more diligent students

Wanna learn fastest? Hang with knowledgeable people. Every course you take has a department and, most likely, a list of different clubs you can join. You can meet new people, maybe even some cute folks, and hang out with them in coffee shops, parks and other places.

You could try and study for the Chem 303 midterm while your friends watch March Madness or you could be with other chemistry folks learning and socializing. This creates a relaxed learning environment. And relaxed learning environments make for better memory recall. Proof.