How can professor reviews help you study?

One of the things that I wish someone told me back in my first year is that you can look up what your professors are like when choosing classes.

Restaurants, trips, etc. all have platforms where customers leave comments about their experiences in those places. This helps future customers to make their decision on whether that place is the right one for their needs. In a similar way, most professors receive ratings from their previous students in order to inform future students of what they experienced, provide tips for studying and feedback for professors on things to improve on.

Previous students leave lots of useful information about their professors, including tips of how to study for their exams. Every professor has a distinct teaching and evaluation styles: some professors test you based heavily on textbook material, some only test you on material in their slides, others put in a good amount of questions about their personal stories that they told in class just to see whether you attended lectures, etc.

As you are choosing your classes, it is important to look up your future professors. The goal here is to learn about them and their teaching style. There are websites where students review and rate their professors, like “rate my professor” for universities in Canada, U.S., England, Scotland, and Whales. Don’t wait for the first day of classes to realize that you might have made the wrong choice with a lecture section, learn as much as you can beforehand.

There are distinct teaching styles that professors use. Some of them give you clear slides with all the definitions, others tell you stories based on material that you were supposed to pre-read, others give you in class exercises, or solve math problems with you following along, etc. If you get familiar with your instructor’s style ahead of time, you will feel less confused, scattered, and overwhelmed come first class. Prepare for what to expect for each class as they all might have different structure from one another.

This is going to be some extra work beforehand. However, you’ll know it’s paying off when you work on the assigned material efficiently while your classmates are trying to figure out what is required of them, reviewing insignificant data, and spending way too much time on an unnecessary hustle.

TIP: some reviews will tell you how to study for exams!

Photo by Nguyen Dang Hoang Nhu on Unsplash

We’ve mentioned different teaching styles, but did you know that with each teaching style comes a different examination style? For example, some professors put more emphasis on the slide material, some test you mostly on things in the textbook, some test you on remembering application stories, and others drop many questions asking to describe an activity class was doing while learning a particular concept just to see if you attended lectures, etc. Many professors have a mix of some sort, so look for the reviews that tell you what to look out for and what study strategy is most efficient for your course section.

A little warning, take everything with a grain of salt as not all of the reviews are trust-worthy. There are some students that get bad grades for a variety of reasons and badmouth a professor out of spite. So, if there are 4 out of 20 people rating a professor “2 out of 5” saying that a professor is rude or grades unfairly, etc. while others left positive feedback- it probably means that those four students are the outliers who might have had a different experience due to external circumstances. The same goes for the other way around. There will always be a couple of people who have a different experience from others as we all interpret things differently, so make sure to assess information critically.

Hi, I’m Alona! I’m open, compassionate, and love adventures. Welcome to StudyTips, a place where I share knowledge from years of experience, studying, and hard work.

It is possible to do well in school and have fulfilling balanced lives. I learnt it the hard way but hope you won’t have to. Studying more is not always better, the trick is to know how to do it well.

Here you can find tips, concepts, and techniques based on various psychology principles that I wish I knew in my first years of university.


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