For those of you in the Honors College here at UCF, it can be tough to decided which honors classes to take to fulfill your requirements. Most of the lower level classes will come from your gen eds. So which ones should you take honors? If you need a science credit, definitely take Honors Astronomy with Dan Brit.
1. Go to class? Sometimes.
When Professor Brit teaches, it could actually be really interesting, for he works for NASA and often travels to work on new projects. He even brought in a remain of the oldest rock in existence (yes, over 14 billion years old) for us to see and touch. However, given that he does travel often, he has a substitute professor who fills in for him when he can’t be here. He will almost always tell you when he’ll be away. The advice is don’t bother showing up when he’s not there. You could look at the powerpoints yourself online, and you’ll learn way more from the textbook anyway.
2. Focus on the chapter quizzes.
You’ll have an online quiz for each chapter in the textbook. They’re usually 10 or 15 points, but they add up and play a big role in your overall grade, so definitely aim to get full credit on all of them. While reading every chapter and taking detailed notes isn’t really necessary for the class, but you should read the parts that are highlighted in the quizzes, for that’s usually what appears on the test, so it’s good to be familiar with it.
3. Ask/Answer questions.
If you do go to class, ask questions. Professor Brit loves when you ask good questions and gives you extra credit for them. He also wants people to participate when he asks questions, so if you do answer one, he’ll give you a yellow notepad to write your name on. Since it’s an honors class, there’s not many kids in it, so take advantage of being able to talk.
4. Fill out the study guides!
Before each test, Professor Brit will post a study guide, which is essentially 10-12 slides full of questions that could appear on the test. Fill them out! Make sure you know all those questions, for about 95% of the test comes directly from the study guide. If that’s the only thing you do the entire semester, memorize all those answers. You’ll finish the test in about 20 minutes and then be free from class.
5. Always know the phase of the moon.
On every test and about half the quizzes, one of the questions will be “What is the current phase of the moon?” If it’s a quiz, you can easily look it up online, but make sure you know it before going in for a test, or you’ll be kicking yourself for losing some easy points. Bonus tip: if you do the chapter quizzes right when they open, sometimes you’ll get extra credit for doing them early if Professor Brit sees you completed it during one phase of the moon whereas the rest of the class waited a couple of days and completed it during the next phase of the moon.
6. Explain yourself.
Many quiz questions are short answer. They usually only require or word or sentence, but if you don’t know the answer, try to explain yourself as best you can. Even if you’re completely wrong, you’ll often get half credit for showing that you put thought and energy into your response.
7. Take advantage of extra credit.
Professor Brit offers one extra credit assignment: go to the campus observatory and fill out a form in which you observe three constellations/stars/planets and answer two or three questions about them. The whole process only takes roughly half an hour, and you hand in everything there so you don’t have to worry about it. It gets you extra points and you get to look through professional telescopes with people there to explain what you’re looking at, it’s pretty cool if you ask me.
Having honors classes usually means they’ll be tougher and require more effort. But AST2002H is definitely an easier choice than it’s non-honors counterpart, as long as you follow these tips. Plus, it’s best to get your honors requirements out of the way as soon as you can!