How to Get Through a Difficult College Class

Whatever your major, chances are good that at some point in your college career, you’re going to face a class that seems nearly impossible. Most majors require students to take a class that’s either out of their wheelhouse (i.e. an English major taking a Math class), and at the very least, you’ll more than likely face a higher level course once you reach your junior and senior years.

If you’ve looked ahead to classes like this with an underlying feeling of trepidation and have found yourself dreading the courses and professors you’ve heard terrible rumors about, there is still hope! While tough classes can be a challenge to your mind and body (all those late nights studying!), the good news is that you’re more than likely going to emerge on the other side of that class with a wealth of knowledge you wouldn’t have had otherwise. Stay the course, hang in there, and instead of panicking, take a look through these tips we pulled together on how to make it through that challenging class.

1. Take advantage of help

Does your professor offer office hours? Don’t shy away from talking with your professor and asking those hard questions. Professors are there to help you learn, and if he or she is open to meeting with you, it’s in your best interest to drop by and work through a concept you’re struggling with. Another great resource that students can easily sign up for is tutoring! Most colleges and universities have a great tutoring program that’s available for free. No matter the subject you’re struggling with, there will more than likely be someone who can help you with the more challenging aspects of your homework and projects.

At the very least, try and connect with other students from your class or connect with a student who’s already taken the class. Studying together and looking through an older student’s past notes can make a world of difference in helping you remember the content and grasp difficult concepts.

2. Record your lectures and take notes

Can’t keep up while your professor is explaining quantum physics? As long as it’s allowed, there’s a huge benefit to recording your lectures to listen to later. Not only will it take some of the pressure off of you as you type like a madman to get all the notes down, but it will help reinforce information when you listen to it again at a later date. Make sure to check with your professor first, though, before you whip out that recording device.

It’s also important to keep diligent notes. While it may seem like some of the information you’re recording might be sort of useless, you never know what will show up on a pop quiz or test later on, and you might find that information helpful to look back on while working on projects or papers in the future. If you have to miss a day of class, connect with a fellow student who’s good at taking notes and see if they wouldn’t mind sharing theirs with you.

3. Keep your materials organized

Depending on the class, you might be required to keep track of lots of papers, notes, books, and other materials. While it might seem simple, keeping your class materials neatly organized can be a challenging feat. Even though it can cost a bit of money, investing in some binders, notebooks, and other organizational systems can really make a difference. If you’re having to dig through a whole pile of slightly crumpled papers in your backpack every time you sit down for class, it’s probably time to start considering the use of some pocket folders.

Keeping yourself organized also applies to your schedule. As often as you can, update your personal calendar with due dates and deadlines so that you don’t find yourself missing easy points for late homework or being unprepared for a quiz. If you’re taking a lot of classes at once, this is especially important. Using systems like color coding or certain kinds of labels can also be helpful in keeping everything straight.

Don’t lose hope

While you’ll more than likely have to take a tough class, don’t give up. There are people at your school who want to help you, and there are definitely resources that you can tap into.