How to pass your class

Eshal Warsi

More stories from Eshal Warsi

Ramya Iyer: 211+1
September 27, 2021

With the end of the grading period just around the corner, Wildcats are feeling the pressure. While some may want to get straight A’s, others would love to pass the class. Whatever your goal, here are some general tips and tricks for each type of class. 

Advanced History 

History is a subject that many students, academically inclined or not, struggle with. This is because of the massive amount of names, events and people that need to be memorized. The first mistake most students make is to memorize all of these different occurrences. Instead, focus on memorizing the ones which are the most relevant. How can you pick out the relevant and irrelevant parts? If your teacher talked about it multiple times or it occupies a lot of space in the textbook, it is relevant. If it was briefly mentioned or did not make a huge difference to people during the time period then it is irrelevant. 

After weeding out the unimportant information, you must try and establish some type of relationship between the remaining terms. A great example of this would be the election of 1860. After Abraham Lincoln was elected, confederate states succeeded and formed the confederacy. This caused tensions to rise and led to the first battle at Fort Sumter. By linking these arbitrary events together, it makes it easier for us to recall them later on. 

The best source for your history classes would be Quizlet for vocabulary. Practice questions that you can find online are effective for last-minute cramming. Although it may be boring, make sure to glance through your textbook as well to make sure you haven’t missed anything in revision. 

Math 

Photo By Wu Yi

Math is an infamously difficult subject for many high school students. The easiest and most difficult part of math is that practice makes perfect. The good news is that practice is relatively easy to find because of the daily homework assigned in most classes. The bad news is that forgetting to do the homework because of other commitments seriously limits your ability to perform well. 

Your math grade can also be improved by using your quizzes as a way to gauge your familiarity with the topic. If you consistently make stellar grades on the quiz, it means that you are well-prepared for the test. If you perform poorly, do not disregard the score. Talk to your teacher about the mistakes and understand where you went wrong. You need to correct your way of thinking before the test. 

Also, take the review before the test seriously. Do not use your notes to help you solve the problems and instead try to treat it like a real test. By doing so, you will realize what you really know – and more importantly what you have no idea about. Again, ask your teacher to clarify these questions for you.

The best source for your math classes would be Khan Academy because it covers almost every topic in the modern high school curriculum. YouTube can be helpful to find different ways to approach your math homework.

English

English can be a time-consuming process with multiple editing phases, careful formatting and the much-dreaded works cited page. If you are in a research-heavy class, get started on your essay as soon as possible. Aim to finish about 2 days before the deadline in order to work out any last-minute issues. If you wait until the last minute, you may be able to finish the essay but it will not be as refined as your peers who finished well in advance and used the time to polish their submission. 

If you are in a class that focuses heavily on in-class timed writes, make sure to practice with the subject matter beforehand. For example, if you know the timed write is going to be about the book you are reading in class, brainstorm the different motifs, themes, and characters and make sure you understand the relationship between all these. By doing this, you will be able to discuss and explore more nuanced perspectives since you have a basic understanding of the text. 

Speaking of reading, make sure to actually read the book. Sparknotes and Shmoop can be helpful but reading the text helps you better understand the material and the discussions you have in class.

Science

Photo by Michael Longmire

Science has varying disciplines so it is difficult to impart general advice. This section is divided into three primary disciplines: physics, chemistry and biology. 

Physics is a theoretical and often abstract science, unlike chemistry or biology. You cannot see gravity, but a lot of physics deals with invisible forces like gravity. The key to physics is using the labs to help you visualize the principles of physics being taught. For example, we know that it takes more energy for a ball to roll across asphalt than smooth linoleum floors. This is friction in action. By making this connection, it makes it easier for you to understand that more friction requires more energy. Apply these concepts to practice problems to help gain an even more comprehensive understanding. 

Chemistry is hugely dependent on visual and practical labs. In order to see some chemical principles in action, pay attention to the labs and focus on what is happening to the substances you are experimenting with. Videos such as those by Bozeman Science are extremely helpful in illustrating dense concepts in an easy and digestible manner. Make sure to practice manipulating the various equations since those make up the majority of the tests.

Biology is a very visual subject because it relies on diagrams to illustrate human processes and body parts. Try and draw your own diagrams. You are more likely to remember them and the structure of an organ can help you better understand its function as well. Biology is also very vocabulary-heavy. Make sure to use Anki, Quizlet, or another spaced-repetition flashcard program to drill vocabulary for the final exam. 

Ready?

Take these tips and apply them practically to your study schedule. You don’t need to implement every single one, but try to follow the ones that align best with your personality. Good luck and go pass your class!