How to Succeed in Psychology Classes

Succeed in psychology classes
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Starting a new semester of school can be stressful and overwhelming at times, but there are steps you can take to ensure that you get off to a great start and enjoy a successful school year.

Fortunately, these steps don't have to be difficult or time-consuming. By simply tweaking your existing habits, you can minimize back to school anxiety while improving your performance in all of your classes.

1. Start Preparing Early

Be sure that you are fully prepared before any class, assignment, or exam. Create a simple plan of action to help you determine what you need to do to be ready.

Start by finding an organizational method that works for you, and always write down the due dates for assignments, papers, or exams.

Consider all the steps you'll need to check off (such as research, outlining, writing, and studying) to ensure the task is completed.

Next, schedule these tasks into your organizational plan. By writing down these steps, you will be better able to keep track of the things you need to accomplish.

2. Find Ways to Combat Procrastination

Putting things off until the last minute can hurt your classroom performance, grades, learning, and health.

While it can be tempting to set aside tasks that seem dull or daunting, procrastination will only create more work for you down the road.

Avoid last-minute stress and frustration by finding innovative ways to fight the urge to procrastinate. Try breaking your assignments up into more manageable chunks. Tackling a small portion of a task each day will help you complete assignments on time.

3. Reevaluate Your Study Habits

As you begin a new semester, start by taking a serious look at how you study for each class. While your current study habits may be effective, there are always new tips and tricks you can incorporate into your routine to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your learning.

The strategies you use to study may vary depending on the demands of each class you are taking. For example, a statistics class may require more intensive rehearsal and memorization of problems and formulas, while social psychology courses might require more reading and group discussion.

Do you know your learning style? Understanding how you learn best will help you plan more effective study habits.

For example, if you learn best by hearing information, consider downloading and listening to psychology podcasts. If you learn best by visually reviewing information, read your course texts, notes, and psychology study guides.

4. Do the Required Readings Early

Professors generally instruct students to read the assigned chapters before coming to class. While it's good advice, students often wait until the end of the given week to do the readings—or worse, try to read all the material just days before an exam.

Get the maximum benefit out of course lectures and discussions by always going to class prepared. Read assigned chapters prior to attending your classes so you're familiar with new concepts.

During class, ask questions about the readings if something wasn't entirely clear to you. Participate in discussions in order to expand your understanding of the topic and develop richer connections to the information you're learning.

5. Learn How to Write Psychology Papers

The ability to write well and communicate effectively is important for success in psychology classes. From lab reports to critique papers, you will be expected to plan, research, and write on a wide variety of topics.

Writing papers for a psychology course is similar to writing papers for other subjects. Your papers should be well-organized, accurate, and communicate information clearly.

Many types of psychology papers follow a specific format. Understanding how to properly format your paper will make the writing and revision process easier.

Start by finding an interesting topic, then spend some time researching the subject using psychology journals found in your university library. Finally, always remember to use proper APA format when writing your psychology papers.

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