College Composition is not your typical college course. While other courses involve primarily left brained study habits, college composition is more of a right brained activity. Study methods such as flash cards and fact memorization are great methods for classes like Biology or Spanish, but Composition is a little different. College composition isn’t so much focused on teaching students a set of facts as it is focused on teaching students to become better writers.
Here are a few tips on how to incorporate good study skills into your College Composition courses.
Read, Read, Read!
There is no better way to improve your writing than to read. Your Composition class will likely have several reading assignments as well as writing assignments. Read all of them, and have a highlighter in your hand to spotlight special points of interest within the text. The more you interact with the text, the more you will remember it for class quizzes. It is also a good idea to jot small notes in the margins of your books with a pencil as you read. Or if you don’t want to write in the book, use small sticky notes and attach them to the pages, allowing them to stick out from the book. Write your notes and comments on the sticky notes. Also keep in mind that all of your reading, even reading for other classes, is an exercise in writing improvement.
Your Composition instructor will not long tolerate poor grammar. She might be lenient for the first few days or weeks, but when the class is in full swing, she will dock points off of writing assignments for improper grammar. Since most people are inclined to write like they talk, the best way to practice your grammar is in your every day conversations. Listen to how your Composition professor speaks, and take thorough notes in your class lectures. Ask your roommate or your friends to hold you accountable to the use of proper grammar in your speech. It might get annoying to be corrected so much at first, but you will be surprised at just how little you use proper grammar in your conversations! The more you speak correctly, the better you will be able to write.
Class participation is one of the best learning methods you can implement in any college class. Composition classes often spend time discussing or analyzing works of literature. Don’t just sit in the back and nap during class discussion. The more active you are in the class participation, the better you will understand the reading material, and the higher your grade will be on the class examinations. Raise issues and ask questions regarding your interaction with the text. Your class participation will make class time more enjoyable, and will increase your ability to comprehend different types of literature.
Studying for your Composition classes is an integrated process. It involves more than just completing the bare minimum homework requirements. Learning how to speak and write well are skills you will need for all of your classes, not just Composition courses. If you are willing to make reading and proper grammar a part of your every day life, you will succeed in your College Composition courses.