How to Succeed in Economics 2203
Lee C. Adkins
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If you want to succeed in Econ 2203 there are several things which you must do on a regular basis. Average students (those with 2.5 GPA) can usually make above average grades in my class if they develop proper study habits. The basic rule of thumb is: Spend 6 hours per week studying economics and success is likely to follow. Here is my personal formula for improving performance.
Read the book
Read the book. Read assigned material before coming to class. This prevents what I call the foreign language syndrome (FLS). FLS occurs when students attend class, but don't have a clue as to what the professor is saying... he is apparently speaking in an unknown tongue. Students then rationalize not attending class by saying to themselves, "I don't get anything out of his lectures."
Reread the book
Reread the book. The text is very concise. Although the material looks simple (few equations, graphs, etc) I can assure you that it is not. Read the book carefully and make sure you understand everything you read in it.
Attend class regularly. For most, reading the book and completing the study guide are necessary but not sufficient conditions for doing well in Econ. You will find that by attending class you will often discover what the teacher finds important. If the teacher believes something is important, then ... . By attending class and paying attention to what I say, you will often be able to economize on the amount of material you need to cover on your own.
Review your notes
After each class, it's a good idea to review that day's notes. Take a few minutes to make sure everything you have written down is 1) correct and 2) makes sense to you. You will usually find "truth" in you textbook. If your notes or your book don't make sense, either figure out why or ask about it in the next class. If you solve each of these little puzzles as you go along, then when test time comes you'll be working under much less stress and will tend to do much better.
Use the materials posted on Kennedy's website
There is no official study guide for this course. However, the author of your book is a very hardworking fellow and he has generously provided us with 119 pages of multiple choice questions that go with our text. By going through these materials you will know exactly what to expect on exams. Don't wait until the week before the exam to start. Use these materials on a weekly basis.
Don't fall behind
The knowledge you build in this course accumulates over the semester. The pace we will keep is brisk--just as it is in any real college course. If you fall behind you will probably not be able to catch up and your performance will suffer.
Rewrite your notes
If you are really serious about improving your grade, I've found that it is a good idea to rewrite your notes at least once before the exam. There is some mysterious force at work in the universe which imparts greater understanding and memory to those who actively participate in the learning process. Active participation includes such things as discussion and writing. Reading notes is not active. Writing the notes is active, and by doing this, you will improve comprehension and retention and will improve your grade.
For the type of thinking exams you will encounter in this class, it is very important that you keep up and study as you go along. And, whatever you do, please don't stay up all night studying before an exam. This is just about the biggest mistake one can make in an economics class. At that point, you will do better with a fresh mind than one dulled with fatigue and filled loose 'facts'.
Form a study groupIf your schedule and personality permits, study with others in this class. Don't just get together before the exam, get together regularly and discuss the media clips from the textbook.
Pay attention to economic reports in the mediaWatch the business news on television (like CNBC); read the Wall Street Journal, Barron's, the Financial Times or other business newspaper; look at the business pages of the Daily Oklahoman or Tulsa World, etc.
Do as many of the end of chapter media questions as you can stand. Work on the multiple choice questions in the test bank as we go along. Practice, practice, practice.
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