You might be taking summer classes to get ahead of the curve, possibly speed along your graduation, or you might just be seeking some mental stimulation this summer. No matter your situation, summer classes can be tough. The condensed format makes for a fast-paced, intense study session. And, let’s face it, keeping the same drive and motivation from spring to summer isn’t easy. Here’s what you can do to knock it out of the park this summer.
Choose classes you actually enjoy
Of course, this suggestion is up to your preference, but if you’re not fully enrolled in classes (and you have the luxury of picking and choosing classes) try to sign up for classes you’re excited about. Especially if you’re in your first years where you might have a bit more wiggle room with electives, choosing a summer class you actually like will make it go by faster and it won’t feel like quite as much work.
Don’t overload yourself
The goal of a summer class is likely to boost your GPA and add credits to your total, but overloading yourself with a bunch of classes all at once might not be in your best interest. Instead, see what classes you’d like to take and make sure you pay special attention to the different sessions they’re offered under. Some classes start right away, others might not begin until June or July. There’s also different time frames for classes: three week, five week, seven week, and ten week. If you plan ahead, you can take as many classes as you want and none of them will be overlapping.
Try out some more effective note-taking methods
Taking detailed notes will help you retain information when it feels like the lessons are flying by. Secondly, it will give you study material for quizzes and maybe even your final. Lastly, you can take this well-documented knowledge into another class down the line. There’s no right or wrong way to take notes, but there should be a method to the madness. Check out some tried and true methods of note-taking such as The Mind Map, The Cornell Method, flow charts, PowerPoint slides, bullet journaling, and more. Find a method that you gel with and stick to it.
Use Google Calendar to schedule everything
Summer classes usually have multiple assignments and projects that need to be done each week and that is hard to keep track of. Google Calendar is great for daily planning because you can schedule classes and meetings, time to study, when assignments are due, and any other milestones you need to know during the summer (even down to 15-minute chunks). You won’t feel so frantic when your day is perfectly planned for success. Your Boise State email is automatically connected to your own Google Calendar and you can download and sync the app on your phone.
Find an audience
One of the best ways to prove to yourself that you’re familiar with the material you’ve been taught is to teach your lessons to someone else. This is particularly helpful when you’re studying for a test or getting ready for a presentation. Write your main “have to know” points down on note cards and grab someone you can teach. That might end up being a parent, sibling, friend, yourself in the mirror, or maybe even your dog or cat. Just showing that you fully understand the lessons by summarizing it out loud can reinforce your long-term memory of the class.
Don’t wait to ask for help
There’s not much time to struggle in an online class. If you’re feeling like you don’t understand what’s happening, it could become a big problem quickly. Reach out to your teacher immediately if you have trouble wrapping your head around the class, even if that means day one. They can likely help you personally, or help get you set up with a tutor, or with a class study group who can all work together on the toughest parts of the class. Remember, your peers and teachers want to help you succeed.
There are so many awesome reasons to take summer classes, plan ahead now to take some of the weight off of your shoulders. If you’re able to set a structure for how you’d like to take notes, study, and plan your day, you’ll have a plan of action if things ever get a little tough. You’ll be ready to tackle any challenges that summer semester throws at you. Crush those summer classes!