As you progress into more challenging educational settings, you will notice that your lecturer or teachers will pause upon occasion to ask an open question. This question is answered by a few students, and those students will often come up with very different views. This is the beginning of an important classroom discussion.
Classroom discussions are teacher tools -- discussions are prompted by teachers who want students to acknowledge that there can be very serious opposing views on a particular subject. As you are reading your text and preparing for the next day, write down anything that seems controversial or anything that might deserve a good discussion. Be prepared to discuss further.
When classroom discussions do arise, you should not take a break from taking notes! You should record important points on opposing views. This is the sort of thing that will pay off on your test essay!
There are a few tricks to picking up clues as you listen to your teacher, or you watch an important video, or you participate in class discussions. Once you learn to become an active listener, you will be able to study the right material and process new concepts with ease.
The most effective way to study is to study in a repeating pattern. The act of reading -- going away -- and reading again is the best practice when it comes to retaining information. To do this you must start early!
Writing skills are important for several reasons. First you will find that you will be required to write many types of essays for homework assignments. Secondly, you'll discover more essay questions on your major exams. Third, you will find that strong communication skills (writing good letters and emails) will make you stand out from the crowd.
One good way to improve your writing skills is to keep a journal. Journal writing can also be great therapy!
It's very important to use a planner and maintain checklists for completing all of your tasks in a responsible and timely manner.