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6 Steps to Taking Challenging College Courses

6 Steps to Taking Challenging College Courses
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Some classes come easy for people and others don’t. When you find yourself struggling with a class in college, there are several steps you can take to try and improve your understanding of the material, and in turn, your final grade.

Voice Your Concerns
Email is one of the most popular forms of communication, but there is no replacement for speaking with someone in person. Most professors have office hours available. Make an appointment and use that time to discuss exactly what you’re struggling with one-on-one. Show them you’re committed to the class. If you have concerns about assignments or exams, bring up those specific concerns and ask if they have any recommendations for you. They may be able to put you in touch with a tutor or study group.

Ask About Extra Credit
Some college professors believe in extra credit and others don’t. It never hurts to ask. If you’re doing your best, but you really need something to bump your grade up, politely ask your professor if there is anything else you can do to earn an extra grade. Sometimes writing an extra paper or doing an extra project can make a huge difference in your final grade.

Step Up Your Study Time
Dedicate a specific day and time to studying just for the class you are having trouble with. Each study session, review what you did in class that week. Make notes about the concepts you’re still struggling with and discuss them with your professor. Read the material for the following week so you can really focus on the key concepts as your professor covers them.

Study What Is Important
When you’re preparing for an exam, spend the majority of your time studying concepts that were covered very well in class. Spend less time studying those that your professor brushed over. You may need to know them, but you likely need to know less about them if they were only briefly mentioned.

Think Through Your Struggles
Ask yourself why you’re having trouble with this particular class so you can learn from the experience. If the class is too late or early in the day and you’re having trouble focusing, see if it’s offered at a time that’s better for you. If you find the professor to be very hands-off or their teaching style is difficult for you, see if the same course is taught by another professor. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, or are regularly missing the class, make a conscious effort to eliminate those problems.

Visit Your Advisor
Express your concerns about the class to your advisor and ask if there are any resources on campus to help you. He or she may be able to recommend a study group or tutor that your professor isn’t aware of. If the class becomes too much and is not a requirement for your major, you may decide to drop it. Always discuss this with your advisor first. You should be aware of all drop dates, deadlines, any fees and any possible repercussions of your choice.

You may be surprised at what you’re able to overcome and accomplish when you put your mind to it. Use the tips above when you’re met with a challenging course. The lessons you learn from your struggles will benefit you as a professional in the future as well.

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