Every year you’re reminded of how impossible it seems to ace a difficult class! Everyone has unique strengths and weaknesses, so you may rock Calculus but struggle in English class, or vice versa. No matter where your struggle is, take heart because there are several simple ways to ace a difficult class! I’ve been in your shoes more than once, so I’d love to share my tactics for being successful in a challenging subject with you!
This one’s a no brainer- if you want to ace a difficult class, you’ve got to study! Still, you may find yourself reluctant to study. For an example, let’s say your difficult class is Chemistry. When you study, you may feel so defeated because the notes look like they’re in a different language! So what do you do? You shut your notebook and walk away. But that’s the opposite of what you should be doing. Each day, you should measure out a certain amount of time to study. At first, it will be frustrating, but eventually you’ll gain a firm grasp on the subject! Keep in mind that reading and re-reading your notes isn’t the only way to study; you can watch YouTube videos on the subject, make flashcards, or ask your teacher for help as well!
2. Hire a Tutor
If your parents are willing and can afford to, you should hire a tutor to help you ace your difficult class. One-on-one help in any subject helps bring you up to the level of difficulty at your own pace, but is especially beneficial to students struggling in a difficult class. Your tutor will create personalized studying and teaching methods that will make acing even the most impossible class totally easy!
3. Form a Study Group
The key to this phrase is “study.” Don’t form a group where all members bring your text books, then talk and eat all night long! Instead, get together a few of your serious, studious friends and study. Since each student has different strengths and weaknesses, a study group of unique friends will guarantee more success in a difficult class! You’ll be able to teach your friends what you understand best, as well as gain a better grasp on a difficult concept with the help a fellow student. I know that I do my best studying when I’m explaining a subject to someone else, and maybe your brain works the same way!
4. Focus in Class
No one has ever improved their performance in a subject by zoning out. Taking detailed notes and staying focused is key to passing a difficult class. Even if your teacher doesn’t sound like he’s speaking English during his lectures, you still need to focus on his instructions. The more you listen and stay engaged in a lesson, the better you’ll understand it.
5. Avoid Cramming
I know how tempting it is to cram for a test, even a final exam! But no good will come from cramming. Ultimately, you’ll end up sleep deprived and brain-dead the next day. The best way to study is to take a little bit of time out of each day to study what you’ve learned. As long as you’re consistent, you’ll learn much more than you would cramming. Some people need to study more than others, and we all benefit from various study methods. All you need to do is find what works best for you to help you earn an A in a difficult class!
6. Review Constantly
I can’t separate the memory of my U.S. History teacher from the phrase “consistent, constant review.” I took AP U.S. History, which meant I’d have a cumulative exam at the end of the year and had to prepare for that date all year long. There’s no way to be successful on massive exams without reviewing consistently and constantly. And you can’t ace a difficult class without performing well on the final exam. With all of the information you've learned all year combined into a single midterm or final exam, you can’t possibly study the night before and expect to know it all! Instead, study every day and add on new information throughout the year. This can be easily accomplished by making flashcards at the end of each chapter or unit you learn. By the end of the semester, you’ll have a stack of flashcards a mile high, but if you’ve been reviewing constantly, final exams will be a breeze!
7. Use Multiple Learning Sources
Sometimes it isn’t your fault that you struggle in a particular subject; in fact it usually isn’t! Sometimes it’s your instructor's teaching style that throws you off, or simply the way your brain works. So, pay attention in class, take notes, and study them, but also seek out other learning sources. Watch YouTube videos (CrashCourse is a great source for most subjects), read study guides, even ask other teachers on campus for help if you can! At the end of the day, your teacher doesn’t mind whom or where you’ve gotten the information from, simply that you've learned the material and passed the class! And that’s your goal too!
Teachers are notorious for assigning busywork; whether it’s a reading assignment, book work, or a worksheet, in all shapes and sizes, busywork annoys students! But you should take advantage of extra homework, especially in a difficult class. It never hurts to over-practice, so you might as well put 100% effort into all of your lame homework assignments, because when you see an A+ on your report card, it will all be worth it!
9. Don’t Cheat!
Not to get all preachy-teacher on you, but really, you shouldn’t be cheating! Copying homework robs you of the chance to get more practice in, and cheating on a test puts your grade and your credibility at risk. Once your teacher catches you cheating, they’ll not only enter a 0% for your test, but also label you a cheater for life and never trust you again. Cheating is a serious breach of honor in high school, and won’t help you at all in the end.
It's no simple task to ace a difficult class, but it isn’t impossible either! Trying out all of these ways to be more successful in a difficult subject will certainly help! What other methods do you use to ace a difficult class?