Unlike most kids I shared class with in high school and the earlier part of college, I actually enjoyed literature class. Taking a book and dissecting it, writing about it, and discussing it was fun and even made me fall in love with books and/or authors. Until I reached a certain level in my education in literature, almost every literature class had a few students that obviously did not enjoy being there or those who just didn’t try. Whether you aren’t a big fan of literature classes or are looking at ways to do well in a literature class to improve grades, here are my top five tips to help you survive or improve. While they may not guarantee success, they can be a great improvement if you are one of those who thinks SparkNotes will help you get through any English class. Do Better Grades Come With Better Attendance? Do You Get Better Grades With Better Attendance?
Whether you want to do well in a literature class or in any other studies, attendance is one key to success. Many studies, such as the ones listed in the article to the right, have proven that students who attend class more, tend to have a higher grade average than those who skip out. This is probably the easiest tip to follow when it comes to doing well in a literature class. All you have to do is show up and pay attention. Many literature classes are just as dependent on discussions as they are on the outside reading you do for the class. Miss the discussions, and you lose that extra insight you could have used in your essay. Plus, if you did not understand something within the novel, you may have missed an explanation or clarification (or at least the option to ask for it) in the class period you decide to skip.
Of course, everyone misses a class every once and a while due to whatever emergency, illness, or other situation that comes up. Every class and professor has their own policy, usually found in the class syllabus, that concerns how many absences you are allowed before it begins to effect your grade. Do you enjoy talking about books you read? While just being in class everyday can ensure your grade stays up, actually participating is an even more sure fire way to do well in a literature class. Coming to class awake can be one major cause for students to have a lack of participation in the classroom. Making sure you get plenty of sleep or have that cup of coffee before class can really help you stay awake and alert during class. Some students even brought snacks to help them stay focused (be sure to ask your professor if this is okay beforehand). Another way to stay focused is to come prepared with at least one question or point you would like to make in the discussion. In addition, pay close attention to what other students say and add whatever commentary or questions as needed.
While participation is a great guarantee to do well in a literature class, never force it. Believe me, everyone can tell and usually forced statements or questions can lead to a dead end in discussions. Only participate with something that can continue the discussion. If you don’t have anything to say, just wait and listen until you do. It is almost a guarantee that at some point the discussion may reach a dead end anyways. This is why, even if it isn’t required, it is always handy to come to class with three questions and/or points you would like to discuss. Do you prefer books or e-readers? The worst thing you can do when enrolled in a literature class is to come without your book. One professor of mine actually had a policy in the syllabus that she could kick you out and consider you absent if you did not have the book with you.