As a recent admit or prospective student you may be wondering, “what do I need to prepare myself for the econ courses?” Well, as a recent econ survivor, I have a few tips to share. Whether you go with calc or concepts, here are the five items that will help you get through your micro- and macro- courses.

*Disclaimer: These are all my personal preference! You are more than welcome to pick one, two, or none of these items at all. I’m also a by-hand note taker (6400 prospects, you will be too), so these tips are very much geared toward the analog rather than digital. You’ll retain the info better this way anyway.

5. Graph Paper Sticky Notes
This is really a point of personal preference, but I love a good graph-paper sticky note. I tend to reorganize my notes a lot, so movable graphs are really handy in this respect. It also makes comparing your graphs much easier

4. A Folder
As a chronic printer of notes and problem sets, a folder is an absolute necessity. How else will you keep all those loose papers in one place? And in order?

3. A Notebook
Arguably the most important item on this list. This is where all your notes will go, so make sure you get a notebook you will not forget/ lose. And make sure it’s one that you love! I’m also a big fan of matching my notebooks and folders so I always know which goes with which.

*Note: Tips No. 3 and No. 4 could easily be combined into a 3-ring binder with dividers separating the different concepts, but 1) I am entirely too lazy to hole-punch anything and 2) I hate binders. I’m really not into loose sheets of paper and I have bad luck with functioning rings. Team folder-notebook for life!

2. Highlighters
I’ve already mentioned that I’m a chronic printer of lecture notes, so highlighters are a must have. 6400 students: Gerratana gives you his lecture notes beforehand. I personally got a lot out of reading/ highlighting the notes the night before so that I had a good grasp of what we’d be talking about in class. Bubula (6401) is a post-class note disseminator, so his class notes are much more of a review.

1. The Holy Grail: Colored Pens
These were honestly my saving grace. There’s no better way to get organized than a set of colored pens. When I first started, I was a firm believer that econ notes should be done in pencil only, but the minute I started color coordinating, my life was forever transformed. Graph shifts? Producer vs consumer outcomes? INCOME AND SUBSTITUTION EFFECTS? What once was a monochromatic bloc of confusing arrows suddenly became an orderly sequence of concepts ready and waiting to be understood. Added Bonus: Even if you have no idea what’s going on (you won’t be the only one, that’s for sure) you’ll more easily be able to figure out where you’re having trouble AND you’ll look like you really have your stuff together. It’s a win-win!
Now that I’ve outed myself as someone who is clearly too excited about school supplies (though honestly, who isn’t?!), I hope you guys will find some of this useful! Of course, perfect school supplies are no substitute for actually studying the material, attending class, and going to recitation, so make sure you’re as focused on the concepts as you are on the pen colors and you’ll be good to go.