Sometime in your college career, you’re going to stumble upon a college class that seems impossible to get a good grade in, whether it has to do with the material or how the professor teaches. My first semester freshman year I landed myself in an introduction to astronomy course. Who would’ve thought that learning about stars and planets could be so tough! For the majority of the class I had a 65% and saw no hope of passing, but I made it through and ended up with an 87%! Just know, there are other options than just dropping the course! Whether you know you have to take a difficult class or get thrown into a chaotic class with no warning, here are some tips to make that class a little easier and help you get the grade you want.
Take the Class with Friends
Know a few people who are in your major or haven’t taken a certain general education course yet? Take the same class with a few of your friends or people you know! That way if you miss a class or have questions, you have a resource you’re comfortable going to. In one of my media classes I had a lot of girls in my sorority take that class. I felt so much more comfortable there because I knew I’d have people to go to if I needed anything, whether it be notes or advice, or a helpful tutor.
Sit Near the Front
Although sitting right next to the professor may not be your ideal situation, but being able to hear the professor more clearly and see everything on the board could help you better understand the concepts. Sometimes just hearing the information up close can help you grasp the information better.
Go Over Your Notes Multiple Times
When class is over, be sure to go over your notes several times before your next class. Just getting that repetitive studying in can help you comprehend the material better into your memory, and make studying for that future test a little easier. Just looking over your notes each day for fifteen minutes can make a huge difference in memorizing the material. Whenever I had breaks during the day, I’d pull out my notebook and just re-read everything. I found I remembered things so much better after seeing the information multiple times.
Make a Study Group
My study group for my Astronomy class freshman year was probably the biggest thing that helped me the whole semester, and I made some great friends in the process! On Tuesday and Thursday nights we’d rent a study room for an hour in the library and go over all the notes from the last few class periods. It was really helpful to talk to other people because most often they understood something I didn’t. It was also nice that if I missed a class, I had several people’s notes to reference instead of just one!
Go Over Old Tests and Quizzes
Whether you did well or poorly, going over your old tests and quizzes in the class can help you get a better idea of what questions could be on future assignments. By hoarding all my old quizzes and tests for Astronomy, it actually helped me on the final because some of those questions were repeated and I was more than prepared. Also see if any of your friends have kept any of their old assignments or quizzes from previous years because most likely the information would be the same!
After I took a quiz or test, I’d always ask to go over it with my professor to see if there was something I was repeatedly getting wrong. And I was! Nearly all the questions I missed were about a particular formula I hadn’t understood very well in class, and apparently not on the test either. By identifying the problem, I could avoid this mistake on future assignments!
Meet With Your Professor
Whether it be sending an email or meeting face to face, communicating with your professor is definitely something I suggest. Although you may not think so, they want to see you succeed. If other students are getting bad grades in that professor’s class, it doesn’t make the professor look very good either. Don’t be afraid to visit them during their office hours and talk about some things you aren’t understanding. I probably annoyed my astronomy professor so much in the time I took his class because I went to his office hours nearly every day to ask him questions, but I saw my grade start to improve!
Take Advantage of Your Extra Resources
If your college has a tutoring center, don’t hesitate to stop in if you’re struggling. Scour the internet for Quizlets and informational videos on the topic you’re researching. Looking at the information from a different angle can make a huge difference, and you can potentially learn things you never knew before that your professor might not have taught you. I found watching a few of those “The Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey” educational films helped me a lot because a lot of what we learned in class was based off those videos. To be honest, they were actually kind of interesting to watch and it helped me answer questions in class! I felt confident giving answers because I felt I knew enough about the subject, and it impressed my professor.
Do the Extra Credit
DO IT! Extra credit has saved my grades so many times for so many classes. Not every class gives extra credit either, so when they do, TAKE IT! Whether the extra credit work is tedious or difficult, complete it! Any time a class offers it, 99% of the time I will do it. (Unless it’s something super time consuming that offers maybe five points for hours and hours of work.) My second semester of my freshman year, I was able to obtain a 4.0 GPA with all the extra credit offered in my classes. Those few extra points don’t seem like they matter, but they can add up quickly. So make sure you jot down all the extra credit due dates for your classes, it could bump you up a whole letter grade!
What are your tips for passing a hard class? Leave a comment below!