I was recently approached by a fellow UConn alum who asked me to write an article on how to get good grades without going to class. He pointed out the fact that while both of us tended to skip class a lot, we still managed to get pretty good grades.
I am not here to recommend to anyone that skipping class is the way to get through college easily.
While you may think that skipping class will help to reduce the stress/strain in your life, this is not true. As a matter of fact, skipping class frequently only creates more problems, and essentially, more work for you.
With that warning, I still put together some tips for those of you who aren’t going to go to class whether I tell you to or not. This article is also for people who have missed a few classes and need some tips on how to get back on track.
1. Make a Friend in the Class
One of my greatest strengths as a person is my ability to make friends with anything with a pulse. Making friends with people in my classes helped me to graduate, no doubt about it.
If you can make it to the first few classes to either scope out the room to see if you know anyone in the class OR to make friends with someone who looks nice, you may have created a resource for yourself.
Unless the person in your class is your good friend, this person will typically not enjoy sharing his/her notes with you, helping you to study for exams, or helping YOU out when you don’t even go to class.
However, if you can make it to at least ONE or TWO classes a week, enough for you to form a bond/relationship with the person, to offer them some of your snack, a piece of gum, some entertaining doodles during class, WHATEVER it is, give them something of VALUE so they feel better about helping you out when the time comes.
I had a friend who I had two classes with. She went to every class religiously while I attended only a few times a week. When it came time to study for the exam, I had created a ridiculous set of detailed notecards which I offered to share with her if she would fill in the gaps from my notes I had missed.
Long story short, we both ended up with good grades on the final and she saved a lot of time making notecards.
2. When in Class, PAY ATTENTION!
One of students’ biggest mistakes is going to class and tuning out the professor. I will tell you one thing: I may not have gone to every single class while in college, but when I did, I made it count.
I took detailed notes, I drank two cups of coffee before class so I could stay alert and listen to every word my professor said. I sat next to smart people, asked them questions, figured out when our papers were due, and when the pop quizzes were coming up.
If you only go to class a few times a week, you need to make up for the fact that you missed all the stuff in between.
Ask your neighbor what happened last class, which chapters were discussed, what was included/omitted, and if you are feeling lucky, ask to borrow his/her notes and make up some excuse for why you missed the ONE class.
A friend of mine would go to class and ask a different person every class for the notes he had “missed” from the day before. He acted as if he was always there, but because of some extenuating circumstance, he had to miss the last class and needed the notes. He would copy the notes during class, return them to the person, and do the same thing the next time he came to class.
3. Do Your Homework.
If you really want to avoid going to class, then you better stay on top of your assignments from your syllabus or those who you talk to outside of your class and make sure you always know what is going on.
Make a calendar and fill in all of the chapters, homework and home quizzes you should be doing on the days you missed class so you are never “technically” behind. If you stay informed on which chapter the class is on and where you should be in terms of knowledge, then you should be able to get away with missing class here and there.
If you make the effort to stay caught up with your readings/assignments, you will feel much less confused when you DO go to class. If you know what the professor is talking about already, you will get much more out of the days you decide to attend than if you go in cold turkey.
4. Take Advantage of Extra Credit
If you are aware of an opportunity to get extra credit, whether that means doing an extra paper, taking another test, or submitting a project, you should always take advantage of it.
Why pile more work on? Because more likely than not, you skipping class all the time has adversely affected your grade in one way or another, whether it’s your participation grade or the fact that you missed a few pop quizzes; you don’t get out of going to class Scott free.
If your teacher offers you this option, ALWAYS take it! You could use the extra points and it’s not like it’s going to hurt your grade, so just DO IT.
5. Start Studying WAY Before the Exam
Hey, I never said skipping class was easy. Like I said before, skipping class = more work for you.
I used to have to start studying for big exams anywhere from a month to two weeks before the exam just to fully teach/catch myself up on all of the material I had missed.
I am not saying I was reading two hours of Econ every night, four weeks before the exam, but you need to realize that if you didn’t learn it in class, you need to teach it to yourself in order to pass the exam.
Whether this means going over math problems a bunch of times until you get it, or re-reading a chapter on the sodium-potassium pump, you have to put in the effort if you want the grade.
To Sum Up
Like I said before, skipping class is really not a good idea.
You end up doing twice, sometimes three times the work just to catch yourself up before each exam, so this is not something I recommend.
However, if you like to sleep late, can’t get to class on time, or you just don’t care, these tips will hopefully help you to pass the class….even if you’re not technically there.