Hints on becoming an “A” student in philosophy  (by Professor Tim Challans):



I understand that this course will challenge you at times.  A positive attitude will help you tremendously.  Realize from the start that learning is hard work and that philosophy requires a lot of hard reading, a lot of hard writing, and a lot of hard thinking.  Having fun also helps because in the end you will realize that the enjoyment and the payoff are in the struggle to learn, improve, and produce quality work.  Develop a sense of confidence as you continue to work hard, improve your skills, and achieve excellence.  Never take counsel of your fears; do not be overwhelmed by negative feelings.


Class Preparation

·         “A” students do the required reading and more (including recommended reading).

·         “A” students are always prepared for class – ready to ask questions about the assignment and ready to discuss the ideas from the readings.

·         “A” students do not complain about the quality, difficulty, or the length of the readings.


Classroom Decorum

·         “A” students participate in class; participation is measured by its quality, not its quantity.

·         “A” students are able to engage in mature dialogue, treating all others with respect.

·         “A” students do not disrupt or dampen or chill the learning atmosphere in the classroom by using inappropriate words or inappropriate body language.

·         “A” students have a sense of humor.



·         “A” students turn in all work on time.

·         “A” students write superior papers:  superior in substance, organization, style, and correctness.

·         “A” students do not complain about the difficulty or the length of the papers.

·         “A” students follow all guidelines, writing conventions, and formats prescribed, to include the paper length.



·         “A” students answer questions properly and completely, with complete sentences.

·         “A” students answer essay questions on quizzes and exams by writing good essays, complete with an introduction (that has a thesis statement), a main body, and a conclusion.

·         “A” students deal with short-answer questions on quizzes and exams by writing good paragraphs, complete with topic sentences.

·         “A” students use the space available on quizzes and exams.  This means they do not use more or less space than is provided (this is a skill you must learn).

·         “A” students don’t expect to get spoon-fed before an exam.



·         “A” students do not worry about their grades; they worry about mastering the material.

·         “A” students do not quibble about their grades:  they do not ask why a certain product received a “B+” instead of an “A.”  Instead, they ask what they can improve upon for the next time.

·         “A” students do not ask to receive grades ahead of time; the college processes grades and informs students of their grades according to a system and a schedule.

·         “A” students earn their grades and are rewarded with “A’s.”

·        “A” students have potential for success in graduate school, or in any other endeavor.