Note to students

A note to students from a fellow student

Everyone belongs in Economics. There are enough seats for everyone to come to the table, although many students don’t feel that way in the classroom. We know from the data that our field has failed at bringing people in, but there is a growing force of people within that are moving the discipline in the right direction. 

The purpose of this website is to provide tools to members of the field of Economics in hopes of fostering a much more diverse and equitable environment. If you’re a student, whether you’re majoring in Econ, taking one class, or maybe just found your way to our website, we want to also be able to give you some resources that might help you along the way and help you contribute to diversifying Economics.

General tips
  • Familiarize yourself with the resources offered. Whether it’s your professor’s office hours, a Teaching Assistant (TA), or a group study session, ask for help! It’s often scary to do this and many times students are intimidated to go straight to a professor, although this shouldn’t be the case. If it is, try going to a TA or group study first. 
  • Find what is interesting for you. Economics is a tool to understand the world around us, which means that practically every societal issue can be looked at through an economic perspective. If your class feels limited in scope, check out these videos or our page on alternative economic approaches for something different.
  • Form or join a study group. 
  • Create or join a student organization for people of underrepresented groups in Economics.
  • Engage or prompt conversations about racial and socioeconomic inequities, and use economic frameworks to aid your understanding of them.
Study Tips

1. Take notes in class.

Note taking helps you process, organize, and retain information. It requires you to identify, summarize, and connect the most important ideas as they are presented. Research shows students who use laptops perform more poorly in classes.

2. Vary where you study.

Studies show that studying in different environments improves retention of the material. By studying in the same location time and time again, you can begin to rely subconsciously on external cues in that specific environment to recall information. Studying in various environments can aid learning by forcing you to retrieve the same information in different contexts.

3. Vary the type of material studied in a single session.

Improve your comprehension of challenging material by seeing it applied and presented in multiple ways. Use some study sessions to look across different course concepts and analyses and make connections between them.

4. Space study time.

Improve your comprehension of material by letting it sink in between multiple encounters with it. The benefits of spacing out studying has been shown in over 200 research studies.

5. Practice drawing diagrams and writing equations.

Don’t just memorize images. Practice drawing them on your own while reading the textbook. Use diagrams and equations to think through new problems.

According to the [research], some commonly used [study] techniques, such as underlining, rereading material, and using mnemonic devices, were found to be of surprisingly low utility. These techniques were difficult to implement properly and often resulted in inconsistent gains in student performance. Other learning techniques such as taking practice tests and spreading study sessions out over time — known as distributed practice — were found to be of high utility because they benefited students of many different ages and ability levels and enhanced performance in many different areas.

Dunlosky J., Rawson K. A., Marsh E. J., Nathan M. J., Willingham D. T. (2013). Improving students’ learning with effective learning techniques: Promising directions from cognitive and educational psychology. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 14, 4–58.

You don’t learn by listening, you learn by doing…When you want to train for a marathon, you don’t sit on a couch eating popcorn and watching tapes of marathon runners.

Dr. Eric Mazur, Confessions of a Converted Lecturer

6. Practice explaining economic concepts and logic.

Talk about what you are learning to classmates, roommates, and family.

7. Test yourself. Then do it again.

Practice tests and quizzes provide retrieval practice. They also help you learn and practice how to identify the right concepts and tools to answer a new question.

8. Fake it until you become it.

Click here to watch Amy Cuddy’s TEDTalk.