Syllabus Checklist

Learn about syllabi. Then use this checklist to help decide which courses you want to take and evaluate semester plans.

  • Consider goals and objectives
    Is the description of the course what you expected?
    Is the course a good match for your abilities, interests, and goals?
  • Evaluate texts, reading assignments, and required materials
    How much are you required to read each week?
    What books are required?
    If possible, look at the textbooks (on the web, at the bookstore, or in the library) to answer these questions:
    Does the content look interesting?
    Is the reading easy or challenging?
    How much new vocabulary will you need to learn?
    How much are you required to purchase?
  • Determine how your learning will be tested
    How many quizzes and tests will you have?
    How much material is covered on each test?
    Is the kind of testing something you're good at (essays/multiple choice/short answer)?
    What percentage of your final grade is each test?
    Are the tests in class or in the testing center?
  • Review assignments
    Are assignments and expectations spelled out in the syllabus?
    Do the assignments sound interesting and manageable?
    How much writing is required?
    How do assignments factor into your grade?
    How much work is online?
    How much work is in groups?
  • Know about grading
    How will your grade be determined?
    Will the forms of evaluation allow you to demonstrate your learning?
  • Consider the course instructor
    How accessible is the teacher?
    What forms of communication does the teacher prefer?
    Does the instructor communicate in a way that works for you?
    What are the prof's policies on absences, being late for class, making up work/tests?
  • Check out resources and help
    Does the course have a companion website?
    Are there suggested ways of studying?
    Is supplemental instruction available?
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