Balancing courses

It’s that time of year again Western. Course registration is just around the corner, and it’s a good idea that you plan early so you can be ready when your course registration starts.

With so many different types of courses to choose from, putting together your schedule can start to feel like a project you don’t know how to start. Fortunately, with some research and careful planning, you can master course selections like a pro.

Essay vs. non-essay courses

It’s good to get a mix of essay and non-essay courses in your schedule. Having too many essay courses can be overwhelming because you will feel like you’re writing nonstop, and you can run into writers block. Also, some essay courses require three to four essays to be completed per course. If each course requires that many, you’ll constantly be scrambling to get your next essay completed. 

On the other hand, having too many non-essay courses can be difficult too, especially if you’re not good at multiple choice or memorization. Most non-essay courses are exam based and are usually in the form of multiple choice.

Essay and non-essay courses each have their pros and cons but getting a nice mix into your schedule can be beneficial — even if you’re not the strongest writer or great at “choosing the best answer.” 

Full vs. half-year courses

Balancing full-year and half-year courses is also important. Full-year courses are good if you are really interested in the class you’ve enrolled in or if you need more time in between projects and essays. Also, if you’re lucky, sometimes there’s no midterm.

On the flip side, full-year courses can be tiresome if you become uninterested in the class because you’re stuck in it until the end of the school year. Also, these courses can have a lot more material to study for during final exams because it’s content from a whole year. It can be hard to remember what you learned in September when you write your final exam in April.

One benefit of half-year courses is that they aren't as large of a commitment. On the flip side, assignments or tests will likely be assigned with less time in between. Although some majors are inflexible, if you’re able to take an elective try mixing up your schedule by taking a course you normally wouldn’t. What you find interesting might surprise you.

Bird courses

Whether or not you think they exist, some courses are arguably easier in some ways than others, and it doesn’t hurt to take a course you feel confident you'll do well in.

One benefit of taking a bird course is that it can take pressure off your overall academic load because these courses typically contain essays, assignments or tests that have reputations for being lighter and easier to complete.

However, one disadvantage of bird courses is that they can be tedious and boring. It might be hard to sit through lectures and complete assignments if you're not genuinely interested in what you’re learning. Another con of taking a bird course is that the course you thought was going to be a breeze can actually be a lot more difficult than you thought. Be careful when assuming a class is a bird course. Try searching course syllabuses online to get a general idea of what the class might be like.

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