How to Beat Your Classes
Classes are an important part of college, allegedly. Personally, I’m a hyper-ambitious slacker, so I view them as a distraction to doing what I love: writing and napping. This begs the question: how does one pass their classes doing the least work humanely possible, with a 3.0 or better? Well, I have your back yet again. Here is what I’ve learned through four years of meticulous hard-not-working-work. You too, can beat your classes.
1. Check The Rules
Read the syllabus your class hands out on the first day. Really read it: this is your legally binding document, and like any such document there are loopholes. Without your syllabus in front of me, I can’t say anything for certain, but here’s what I’ve noticed personally. Math classes really don’t value homework: all your homework put together is worth about 10% of your grade, so you can skip quite a few if you have to. English classes value class participation, which means you want to get yourself known- even if you didn’t do the reading, speak up when you pick something up from context- and enormous lecture-classes base their entire grade on one or two big exams. Skip attendance but don’t skip the power-points: if you get a C- it’s an uphill battle for a B. Exert energy only in key areas.
2. Pick The Right Classes
I got a D in Calculus.
I’m not ashamed at that at all: I’m terrible at math. Horrible. I took the class for a requirement and gritted my teeth. The worst part is I worked my butt off; I had a tutor, met with the teacher, did all the homework and studied hard: and I still got a D. Frankly, I’m proud of myself.
I did the honorable thing, but I didn’t do the smart thing. I should’ve taken Symmetry.
See, your school most likely has weird classes available for your requirements. I thought I had to take, well, a math class for my math requirement. It turns out that sort-of math classes like Symmetry or Logic would fill that requirement. I didn’t take those because I heard they were harder, and for most people, they were- but not for me. See, Logic was considered a harder class because it involved essays but I could’ve handled that. I listened to the hype instead of picking the right class for me, and I suffered for it.
3. Know Your Teachers
Teachers are people, and like all people, they have their habits.
One teacher I’ve had three times is predictable because I know exactly what her favorite topic is- sex in medieval literature. So, whenever she asks “what does this represent” to a quiet class, I can say “sex?” and be right. Even if I didn’t do the reading, reading the teacher will cover you. Similarly, on a less evil level, know your teachers. Meet with them. They want you to learn and to succeed, and if you show initiative, they’ll help you. The only reason I didn’t fail my calculus class out-right was I met with my teacher once a week to go over the concepts. It was helpful on an academic and personal level: I could pick up from her tone exactly what was important and what wasn’t, even if mathematically, I had no clue.
4. Play To Your Strengths
I’m taking a political science class now- a high level one, for IR majors. I’m out of place as an English major. So why’d I pick it? Because it plays to my strengths. A third of our grade depends on two U.N. simulation exercises, and I’m theatrical as heck. I love that stuff, so I picked the class. I did okay on the midterm, struggled through some readings, but when the simulation hit- watch out. I went all out for it, and the grade I got on it put me on par with every political science major in the class. Do the same and hit your strengths hard and accept what you don’t do as well.
5. Turn Off Your Internet In Class
Seriously. Do it.