In college, depending on your strengths and weaknesses you will have a few hard classes at some point and time. Sometimes these difficult classes are unavoidable as they are required by general education (Gen Ed) and major requirements.
The key to passing a hard class is preparing for it. So, when you find yourself not understanding the material or when learning it is more complicated than it should be, it’s time to make a few changes and reach out and ask for a little help.
Here are my top 5 tips for passing a hard college class…
1. Meet With Your Professor
Your professors will be key to you passing a hard class. If he or she is willing, your professor can be your biggest help. Though they can be intimidating, most professors don’t want you to be afraid of them, they genuinely want to connect with you. Professors want students to learn, grow and succeed in their classroom. Utilize this to your fullest.
Every professor holds office hours at least once a week, giving students a chance to drop in with questions or problems they may be having with the course material. Meet with your professor and let him/her know that you are struggling with the material. They may give you a little one-on-one or provide additional resources.
I met with almost every one of my professors during office hours. I even had a professor who was willing to review and grade my papers before I submitted them because I visited during office hours and she could see I was dedicated to doing a good job and working toward the best possible grade.
2. Take Good Notes
Take notes physically even if your class allows computers or recorders. Physically writing something down keeps a student engaged as it forces you to pay attention to what is being taught. You learn as you are writing, and you can use the notes to study later.
They can help you remember important information for exams and assignments. I can’t count how many times a professor would mention, “This will be on the test” or “This information is on tonight’s homework”. I would pay special attention to that content, and maybe even ask for clarification or additional information just to be sure I understood it correctly.
A trick I used for passing hard college classes was to write my notes in pencil and then after the class, re-write over my notes in pen. I know this sounds like a lot of work but a little more work is what it’s going to take to pass a hard class (trust me, put in the extra effort, if you fail the class retaking it is way more work). Tracing over what I had written made it so I reviewed my entire notes instead of skimming over them. It also allowed me to add anything extra that I thought of while I was reviewing them.
3. Read Required And Recommended Reading Assignments
Sometimes Professors will assign chapters to read before class, this may be required or recommended. Many students don’t give the reading assignments as much attention as they should because they assume they will learn what they need to during the class lecture.
Not reading or skimming over these reading assignments can be detrimental to your academic performance, especially in a hard class. Take the time to read these before class. These reading assignments may present the information in a way that you understand better than if your professor presented it.
Reading all the reading assignments will make the class lectures easier to follow. Additionally, it can help you identify concepts that are difficult for you to understand early, giving you plenty of time to ask questions and seek extra help.
4. Reach Out To Classmates
You are not the only one who is struggling on passing the class. Most students you walk by on campus and sit with in class need a little extra help understanding and interpreting course content. Studying with your classmates can be an excellent way to learn material that is hard for you. Fellow students might have a better understanding of the class or a specific subject than you. Therefore, they can explain important concepts and topics.
There are a lot of benefits to making friends with fellow students. You Should Make Freinds With Your Classmates because studies show that students have a higher success rate in classes if they work together. Forming study groups with peers leads to better grades and study habits. Having a bit of moral support is great motivation to do better in a class.
5. Use Free Tutoring Or Other Campus Resources
There are many free academic resources available on campus. Use them. They are there to help you when you are struggling.
The first place you should look when you are struggling with a hard class is the Tutoring Center. Tutoring is available and free to every student. They will provide support tailored to your needs. A tutor will have you gain a better understanding of the course material, they will be able to review key concepts for the course, they may offer new methods of note-taking and textbook reading, and they may teach you new study strategies.
Sessions will most likely need to be scheduled through appointments. However, there may be walk-in times, be sure to check with your center. Tutoring isn’t only one on one. You can schedule time for a group. If you learn well with others, I encourage this for the reasons I mentioned above.
The campus library is always a great place to find additional reading material and information on subjects you’re struggling with. Librarians can help you find resources, just tell them what you need. The library can also provide a great place to study if you need a quiet place or if you want to meet with a study group.
For many students, math can be one of those hard classes. Your campus math lab can offer tutoring in everything from math classes to learning how to use a specific type of calculator and software. If your major has a lot of math or you simply struggle with the subject, learn how you can Pass All Your Math Classes.
The Writing Lab:
Writing at a college level can be hard. This is where your campus writing lab comes in. If you are having trouble with a written assignment, you can use the Writing Lab to become a stronger writer. You will learn how to structure an essay or term paper and properly cite your sources.
If you can’t find the help you need or you’ve done all that you can do and you are still struggling, reach out to your academic advisor. Your advisor will go over your options and guide you to the resources you need and your college has available. Academic advisors understand what is needed for passing a hard class.