Every student, whether you are a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) major or not, will have to take a STEM course during their academic career. Although it is true that some individuals have a better aptitude or interest in STEM, everyone has the possibility to succeed academically in STEM. As a new academic year starts it is an excellent time to implement new habits to ensure your academic success.
Here are a few strategies for STEM courses:
Have a designated folder/notebook for each course
This approach helps you to stay organized which is the first step in academic achievement. This provides a designated place for you to have paper to take lecture notes, take notes when you study, complete homework and keep track of your course syllabus, exams, homework, quizzes and other course handouts.
Have a designated place for and time to study
The selected location should be a place that creates an environment that allows you to focus on studying and completing homework. It is usually a place that is quiet and has the tools you need to study i.e. your textbooks, pencils, paper, calculators, computer, etc. The designated time is a time when you can focus entirely on studying and are mentally at your best. When scheduling your designated time for STEM courses, be aware of the fact that you may need to devote more time in your schedule than you would for courses in other subject areas.
Take Lecture Notes (Write Down Everything Your Teacher Writes on the Board)
Due to time constraints, your instructor may not be able to cover all the material you will be responsible for learning during class. However, the material that he/she covers during class is important, so be sure to take good class notes. If it helps you to write notes faster, you can develop a shorthand for note-taking.
Read Your Textbook
Your textbook is an important tool for you to master the concepts that you need to do for each of your courses. When reading your textbook especially in STEM courses it is important that you learn terminology, practice any sample problems, study any tables, diagrams, charts, etc. that you may find in addition to text.
Rewrite Your Lecture Notes
This is a good study tool to help you master and review concepts. The purpose of re-writing your notes is to check your understanding and provide time for you to look either in your textbook or online for more information about concepts. It also can help you make a list of questions to ask a classmate or your instructor during your next class, after-school or during their office hours
Do All of Your Homework
Homework is bigger than whether your teacher will collect it or not or what percentage it has in your total grade for the class. The purpose of homework is that it provides an opportunity for you to learn concepts through practice.
Redo All Your Exams, Homework and Quizzes
When your instructor returns your homework, exams and quizzes even when you have a passing grade take note of what questions/problems that were incorrect. Rework all of the problems that you got incorrect until you get the correct answer. In STEM courses, the concepts usually build upon each other, so although redoing your exams, homework and quizzes won’t change your grade for that particular item. It will help you get a better overall grade in the course and prepare you for other courses that may contain the same concepts.
Form Study Groups
Study groups are important because it provides a support group where you and your peers learn from each other.
Get Help/Tutorial Support When Needed
When you are struggling to master a concept get help immediately, whether you ask your teacher, a classmate or get a tutor.