Comparative Politics (POLI 60) is one of the more difficult political science classes available at UC Santa Cruz. However, it is not impossible to pass, or even achieve an A grade. Although arduous, with these 5 tips, it will surely be easier for you to pass the class.
1. Go to Class
Obviously, this should go without saying. Attendance is extremely necessary if you want to pass this class. Lessons will go by quickly, especially here at UC Santa Cruz where we use the quarter system, so take advantage of all the class time that you can get. Moreover, comparative politics is somewhat of a difficult concept to wrap your head around, and being absent would not help you understand at all.
2. Take Effective Notes
Now, this may seem vague and you may ask yourself, “What are effective notes?” No, this does not mean to copy down every single thing that the instructor writes, it actually is quite the opposite. In class, you should try to simplify the notes that you take in class, then expand on them after. Doing this will not only help you rephrase certain things, but it would also allow for a better grasp on the subject.
3. Read Ahead
If this is not already emphasized by your professor, any student planning on taking Politics 60 must be prepared for an extensive amount of reading. However, it is always smart to read ahead before class, to get a taste of what you are going to discuss during the class. Going to class knowing what is going to be discussed is helpful because it then allows you to have some kind of prior knowledge. Plus, it could help you prepare any questions that you may have.
4. Use Online Lectures
Many teachers have sections or separate TA sessions where you can go if you have any questions or would like to further discuss the lessons. However, most teachers post video recordings or voice recordings of their lectures (this will be mentioned in the syllabus). These have been quite helpful in the past , and students taking Politics 60 should take advantage of the online lectures. The online lectures can answer questions that you may have or simply help when doing homework and you just can’t seem to remember which economic cleavages were most detrimental to Nigeria’s economy.
5. Ask Questions
This can never be stressed enough. Although it seems like this should have been left in high school, it is never a bad idea to ask questions. If you don’t know something, ask. Chances are, you may have asked a question that other students have as well. Many people have the mindset that professors don’t like having questions in class and should wait until after class. In Politics 60, it is the exact opposite. If you are confused about something and you don’t ask your question, you might get left behind trying to figure out the answer. So do yourself a favor and ask the question.
Although some of these tips may seem very general, they are still extremely helpful. Each of these tips were designed to make you a better student of politics and increase your chances of passing the class. Politics is arguably one of the most arduous paths to take in college, so use these pointers as a map to navigate through your political courses.