How to Study
|I understand that this is a required course
for most of you. Still, I want you to enjoy the class. For many
students economics is a new way of thinking and it doesn’t always
come easy. I often have students tell me that they understood the
lectures and readings, but they still did not perform well on the
exams. If I’m doing my job well, and if the book authors are
doing theirs, then you should understand the lectures and
readings. Attending the lectures and reading the assignments is
necessary, but not sufficient, to perform well on the exams. The exams
ask you to apply what you have learned. Simple memorization
doesn’t help too much. Learning economics requires that you practice,
just as if you were learning to speak another language.
Students frequently ask for studying tips. I suggest the following study strategies:
(1) Attend all lectures and take good notes. (This means you should write the notes down, even if you have the lecture notes outline/book.) If you miss a lecture, make sure you get the hand-written lecture notes from another student.
(2) Re-write each day’s lecture notes, making sure that you understand what you’re writing— especially the graphs.
(3) Keep up with the assigned readings, and write a brief summary of each chapter/article immediately after you read it.
(4) Work the problem sets immediately after we go through the relevant material.
(5) Pair up with another student in the class and explain the course material to each other. If you can explain it, and the other person can understand your explanation, there’s a good chance that you understand the material.
(6) If you use the Mankiw text, see his study suggestions (5th ed., p. 16; 6th ed., p. 17).
If you have been consistently studying as I have suggested above, and still something is not clear to you, please visit me in my office to get help. Bring your lecture notes (original and rewritten), as well as any other work you have done to learn the concept(s). If you need help, please ask. But do not wait until right before exams!
You may also seek help from tutors who work with the College. Contact the Center for Student Learning (Library, room 116) for more information. Another option is to hire a private tutor. I can recommend a tutor who previously took this class and performed very well.