How to ace a college class

How to ace a college class

Getting that A in college can be tough, but it’s definitely possible.

Who better to give you advice on getting a good grade than the people who give them out for a living? Here’s what professors from all over the country had to say about acing their classes:

1. Follow the syllabus.

Think of your professor’s syllabus as a carefully crafted cheat sheet to getting an A in the class. If you stick to the readings, know when your tests and projects are and do the homework, you should be right on track.

Cory Jorgensen, an assistant professor of Arabic at George Washington University, says paying attention to the syllabus in any class, especially a language class, is a must.

“To get an A in my class, students need to pay close attention to the syllabus, complete nearly all assignments on time, and consistently complete the recommended amount of homework,” Jorgensen writes to USA TODAY College.

2. Participate, participate, participate.

If you are actively participating in class it shows your professor that you know your stuff, and it keeps you engaged in the class material — two important factors to getting an A in the class.

For Bruno S. Sergi, a professor of political economy at Harvard University, students who participated in his class were more likely to do well on his midterm and final exams.

Sergi writes to USA TODAY College that “about the mid- and final-term written exams, the majority of them were able to earn the good score due to active ‘learning’ participation in class, which is the plus, imperative component for a college student for earning the coveted A.”

3. Build a relationship with your professor.

This not only key for getting an A, but for finding success in life after college, as well. Professors can certainly help guide you through their classes, but they can also provide recommendations and research opportunities. This stands true with Adjunct Professor of Journalism Stewart Powell of George Washington University,

Powell tells USA TODAY College that “I always encourage students to develop a personal relationship with their professor — a relationship that can not only help them improve their [assignments] in the course but also open the way for subsequent recommendations and internships.”

4. Take your time on the papers.

This one is kind of a no-brainer. If you want to do well in anything in life you need to take the time to do it right.

Sergi says this means turning in “quality papers with interesting propositions that [go] well beyond descriptive analysis.” He also notes that students who use their personal experiences in their papers tend to get a better grade.

5. Show an eagerness to learn.

Sure, sometimes you have to sit through a two-hour stats lecture just to graduate from college as a well-rounded student. But showing interest in a class and actually trying to make the most of it will go a long way in your professors’ eyes.

Powell agrees that, in his class, “successful students demonstrate an eagerness to learn the skills needed for journalism. They seek out their professor’s input to improve their [assignments].”

Kellie Bancalari is a student at George Washington University and a USA TODAY College digital producer.

This story originally appeared on the USA TODAY College blog, a news source produced for college students by student journalists. The blog closed in September of 2017.

How to ace a college class

All throughout school, math was my least favorite subject. I could never understand the complex equations or processes to ace the tests. It took time to really figure out some study techniques I needed to really ace the subject. Here are some tips and tricks I used to study and ace my math classes.

Do ALL The Practice Problems

Any math hater is going to avoid the practice problems section like the plague. However, that’s the best way to get the most practice. As much as you’ll hate doing it, do all the practice problems in the book as many times as you can.

If there’s extra problems, do them. Most people who suck at math (like me) won’t take the time to get the practice they need. Just like people who play sports, you’ll need to practice to get any better.

After reading the textbook and learning the material in class, go through and finish any practice problems. You’ll be surprised at how much little effort will go a long way.

Start By Understanding Formulas

In algebra and geometry, formulas are everything. Most students will fail exams because they didn’t properly understand the formulas being used in the first place.

If you’re struggling with formulas, focus on breaking down each part in the beginning. Once you’ve mastered where each number goes in the formula, the easier you’ll find the problem to be when it comes time for the test.

Apply Math To Everyday Life

I get it, not everyone does geometry or algebra in their everyday life every waking moment. If you can apply the current chapter you’re studying to your real life math problems, do so! Math is a lot easier to understand if you can apply to things you do every day.

For example, if you’re studying geometry and you drink coffee every day, try to figure out the volume of the coffee mug you use. This is another way you can get practice with math so you can find it easier to do.

Find Your Mistakes

When it came to tests, I always dreaded at looking at my past exams because they were riddled with mistakes. Mistakes are your friend in this next tip. When looking at problems you messed up or got points off on, try to find where you went wrong.

Until you can figure out the problem, you may make the same mistake again. Go through each step of the problem until you find your error and circle it. Then attempt the problem again until you can get it right. You’ll be able to identify where you’re messing up so you won’t make the same mistake again.

Attend Office Hours

Who is going to know the most about the math class you’re taking? The professor of course! Office hours are your friend when it comes to math, and if you’re struggling, you’ll want to be going a lot.

Whether you’re wanting some homework help, tutoring, exam preparation, or to just go over past tests, attend your professor’s office hours. They’re going to help you the most and give you some great pointers about the test or tips for solving specific problems.

Stay Ahead

If you’re a slow learner like me, you’re going to want to work ahead when it comes to math. Start looking over future chapters a few days before so you can start getting familiar with the material.

By the time your professor starts teaching the material, you’ll already have a basic idea of what they’ll be teaching and the basics of solving the problems.

Watch Some Tutorials

There are times when it seems like nothing you do with math helps. When you get to this point, it may be beneficial to look at some tutorials or educational videos.

I always rely on YouTube when it comes to math. If you don’t have the best teacher or can’t understand some of the concepts, sometimes all you need is just another brief explanation.

Here are some of my favorite YouTube channels for math help that I’ve used over the years for algebra, geometry, and other concepts.

How to ace a college class

By Spaceman Spiff Follow

How to ace a college class

How to ace a college class

How to ace a college class

In my college history I’ve taken 4 math classes and have aced them all. I can definitely say that by no means am I a genius, I’ve just discovered several tools that have helped me along the way. This semester I’m taking Calculus 2 and Statistics, as well as Calculus based Physics 1 which could also benefit from these tips. By writing this ible I’m hoping my experience will prove beneficial to those struggling in your mathematics classes this semester.

Step 1:

Tip 1: I’ve found out quickly that not all instructors are created equally. Especially in math. I really feel for you if you’re taking a difficult math class this semester taught by a stone face, monotone teacher that puts half the class asleep in 5 minutes. If you find you’re having a hard time learning from your instructor you may need to go elsewhere.

On youtube there are plenty of helpful math videos; however there is one author that has set himself apart from the rest. You can find his site here, PatrickJMT.

Trust me on this one. I’ve watched math videos from many authors on Youtube, many of them are just as bad as the professors that put you to sleep. Some have an accent so thick you can’t understand them. Of all the video’s I’ve seen PatrickJMT has the best, and is the easiest to understand.

Step 2: Rate Your Professors

Since we’re on the subject of Professors I thought I’d share this tip on how to select the teacher that’s best for you. This tip is more for college students than anyone else. When you sign up for a course it’s usually offered at many different times, and by many different professors. As it goes for Mathematics courses this list can be quite long. So how do you choose? Do you select a time and then randomly pick a professor from that time slot? This is a mistake. There is such a place that offers ratings and reviews given to professors by the students who have taken their courses. It’s called RateMyProfessor. Finding the right teacher can seriously mean the difference between an A and needing to drop the course because your professor’s a. well, you get the picture.

Step 3: Software

If you don’t mind spending your dinero, there is some software that leads you step by step to the solution. One that I’ve found most helpful is called bagatrix. Bagatrix offers many different products for calculations and graphing. There are three that I’ve found most useful, Algebra Solved, Trigonometry Solved, and Calculus Solved. Each of these have been a lifesaver in my math classes; however I must say they take a little getting used to, there are some problems that don’t compute correctly (I will explain further in the next step).

Step 4: Wolframalpha

As you progress in mathematics you’ll find that there are some problems that can’t be done by your graphing calculator or even software such as Bagatrix. I’ve run into more problems like this in Calculus 1 than I have in any other math class. For problems like these, and for any problem for that matter I’ve found an amazing site called Wolframalpha.

This Site may be the greatest treasure you will find when it comes to math calculators. I’ve never seen it’s equal. I discovered this site while attempting to solve this problem:

∫ (1/x)(sin x) from 1 to 12

Neither my calculator nor bagatrix could solve this problem; however with some searching I found this amazing site and to my surprise it was able to compute the answer with ease. If you only check out 1 of my tips, I recommend checking this one out, it really is amazing!

Step 5: Shady Tip Number Five

This tip might be a last resort for some of you though it can be very helpful. For those of you who don’t know this there are alternative texts for your textbooks. They are the instructors manual which provides the answers to not only the odd problems, but the even ones as well. Often, you can find these “annotated intructors editions” on the internet. I found out about this when I had ordered my precalculus book. While looking up the odd answers in the back I had noticed it had the even answers as well. I thought this was strange since I’ve only ever seen answers to odd problems. As I looked into this further I had noticed on the side cover in faint letters was written “annotated instructors edition”. Bonus!

In the future when it came time for purchasing my textbooks for other classes I made sure to always search for the instructors editions of the text. These will come with different ISBN numbers so make sure you’re getting the right one. And what’s really nice is that sometimes these special editions will be cheaper than the students version. Another bonus!

If you can’t find the hard copy of the book you’re looking for you can always do a search or request for what you need via “Solutions Manual.” This is a forum dedicated to providing solution manuals for mathematics, science, and engineering courses.

Step 6: Practice Makes Perfect

These steps have been enough to get me an A in all of my math courses so far. They do not guarantee an A; however I think you’ll find you will do much better than you will without them. That said it’s time for my final tip, practice makes perfect.

Throughout this ible I’ve provided steps that will help you through your math courses. By utilizing these tools you will be equipped with knowledge that will aid you in achieving a better grade in some tough courses. For me these have been a life saver. That being said it does not mean that you should give up studying, or attempting to understand the concepts and principles of mathematics. There will be tests that you have to take where you won’t have the help of Wolframalpha, or PatrickJMT. Here is where practice is really key. If all you are allowed on the test is your graphing calculator, learn to do the chapter problems with your graphing calculator. Use the tips I’ve outlined to help you along the way, and you’ll be off to a great start to this semesters math course.

On a final note, If any of you have any more tips by all means share them. We can all use all the help we can get. Good luck and happy learning!

We promise your teacher isn’t out to get you. As unpleasant as taking a test can often be, it actually does more than just show your teacher what you know: it can actually help you learn.

Studies have shown that students who are tested regularly actually learn more content and retain it longer than students who have not been tested. Great news for final exams. Frequent testing has even been shown to help decrease test anxiety.

Not sure how to study for a test? Follow these study tips to make your best grade!

How to ace a college class

1. Get informed

Don’t walk into your test unprepared for what you will face. Before you start studying, find out:

  • textbook chapters and topics the test will cover
  • test format

2. Think like your teacher

Your homeworks assignments, quizzes, handouts, daily notes, and classwork are all indicators of what your teacher thinks is important about the information and what might appear on the test.

3. Make your own study aids

When it comes to learning, a 2013 study showed that practice tests work BETTER than simply highlighting or re-reading your notes. So, turn your notes into flashcards or use a flashcard app for memorizing Spanish vocab. Ask your friends to quiz you or write your own practice test.

4. Practice for the inevitable

Outline essays ahead of time. For math tests, do plenty of practice problems similar to ones that you KNOW will appear. Make a list of questions that you think might show up on the test (and then make sure you can answer them!).

5. Study every day

If you have a test in a week, studying a little each day will help you identify tough concepts or weak areas in your knowledge in advance. Can’t figure out factoring? Log on to Homework Help and get your questions answered.

6. Cut out the distractions

How to ace a college class

Distractions make it difficult to pay attention to what you’re doing, which in turn makes it harder to commit facts to memory. Give yourself a leg up by turning off the notifications on your phone, temporarily blocking your favorite websites, or sticking to instrumental music while you study (so you’re not tempted to sing along!). Taking a break every 45 minutes or so will also help you stay focused.

7. Divide big concepts from smaller details

If you’re studying a big topic—like the Civil War for history or cellular processes for biology—try breaking the material you need to study into chunks. Study one battle at a time or one chapter section at a time—and then quiz yourself. Ask yourself questions about what you’ve just studied, and even write your answers down.

8. Don’t neglect the “easy” stuff

Even if you’ve been acing a certain subject or concept all year and think the test will be a breeze, you should still give it a review before the big day. You don’t want to lose points for careless errors or forget to memorize a key geometry formula.

9. Don’t skip school

Missing classes automatically puts you at a disadvantage. Make sure you go to class (especially during the week leading up to the test) and attend any review sessions your teacher holds. Did you have to miss an important class? You can always ask your teacher or one of our tutors for help catching up.

10. Review the day of the test

Before you take the test, give yourself time for a quick review. Shuffle through those flashcards a couple of times or re-read your chapter outline. This will ensure the material is fresh in your mind.

Still stuck on how to study for your test?

Try an online tutoring session with one of our experts, and get help in 40+ subjects.

How to ace a college class

You have a lot of overwhelming information to absorb in your college classes. Mere rote memorization is seldom enough to ace university tests. In fact, the exams your professors give often requires you to show you can apply critical thinking skills to this information.

Improving how you attack your books and notes during your study sessions will make the difference between getting a mediocre grade of C or A which can make a big difference when you’re looking for a job or getting into grad school after graduation. Often the students who get the best grades are not any smarter than you. They’re just more effective in test preparation and test taking skills.

Are You Constantly In A Time Crunch As A College Student?

You may be worried that you won’t have enough time to study before you take your university exams each semester. You are studying as much as you can to improve your scores, but there always seems to be more content to cover and not enough time. You feel you’ve read the information carefully, consistently went to class and took copious notes. However, you are not sure if your scores are improving with each additional hour or studying or just wasting time.

The feeling is demoralizing.

The goal of this test preparation module is to help you prepare and to improve your chances of achieving a passing score. You will learn a test prep technique in which you will allow you to quickly improve your test content knowledge and test score in a short period of time. This means you can raise your test score dramatically in less study time and effort.

Why So Many University Aren’t Getting The Grades They Deserve

Many people who study for their university examinations spend too much time studying, but get too few results. The problem is that their review is not focused. Research has found that if we study small bits of information, test ourselves on that information immediately after we study, and then immediately restudy what we have missed, we will learn better and faster than if we study for longer periods of time without testing.

Whether you’re preparing for your semester exams or preparing for career specific exams like the Praxis test for education students or NCLEX for nursing students, the following test practice method will improve your studying and competence on any university related exam.

How To Accomplish More In Your Study Time And Radically Improve Your College Grades Using The “Study-Test-Review” Technique

The “Study-Test-Review” technique will help you get more studying done in less time, improve your test scores in university classes and raise your grades. The advantage of this practice technique is that you can prep in relatively short blocks of 45 minutes. The more you study the better, but even studying just a couple of times a week will make an impact on your college grades and future success.

Follow These 3 Simple Steps To Achieve More Productive Study, Test Prep And Better Grades Instantly:

1.) Break the content that you must practice into the smallest chunks that you can find. Each exam is radically different. However, for this example, let’s say your test has 3 major sections and then 12 subsections within each major part.

Treat each of these 12 subsections as a chunk. Examples of small study chunks are the following:

  • Vocabulary
  • Reading comprehension
  • Algebra problems
  • Geometry problems
  • Social studies

2.) Choose how many 45-minute time blocks you can commit to each week. Write this down and stick with it: For instance, you could write “Each week I will study in 6 45-minute sessions.” Try to choose times when you know you will be well-rested. Make a calendar with the days and times that you will be studying.

3.) For each of the study sessions:

• Find a place where you can study quietly and not be disturbed for 45 minutes.

• Study (15 minutes): Review the material in the module for this day. Study using whatever tips you have learned, but focus continually for 15 minutes. Only study the information in this module.

• Review (5 minutes): Take five minutes and review what you have studied. Do this as if you were going into the testing room to take the real exam.

• Test (10 minutes): Complete a 10 minute test on the topic you have studied. Set your timer and time the test for exactly ten minutes. Stop working exactly when the timer rings.

• Score your test (5 minutes): Score your test and review what you got right and wrong. Record your results.

• Review (10 Minutes): Restudy the material with the results of your test in mind. Focus only on the material that you missed, and not on the material that you got right. If your score on this module is high enough to suit, you, do not work again on this module for a while.

Now that we have reviewed the “Study-Test-Review” technique it is time to get to work.

Look over your test booklet or test guide and mark out the different topics that you need to learn. Make a calendar and block out your 45-minute study slots. By working in short time blocks using the study-test-review technique you will increase your learning speed and be successful on exam day.

Author Resource:

The author Nancy Thomason is a test preparation expert. She has helped many college students pass teacher certification tests like the Praxis II test and nurse Licensure such as the NCLEX. Ms. Thomason helps college students study more effectively, improve their scores in university exams and raise their grades. As a leading contributor to Test Score Breakthrough she assists in the development of their study guides and practice tests for the Praxis II, TExES, GACE, NCLEX, FTCE, ASVAB, professional and graduate school admissions tests.

How to ace a college class

Eventually, you’re going to end up taking a very difficult or intense class that requires a lot of studying, reviewing, and overall hard work to earn your desired grade. I’m currently taking classes like Media Law, Copywriting, and several other classes that require a lot of reviewing in order to pass. I’ve come up with a study routine to help you ace and conquer any class of your choosing. While this method works for me, you can modify each step however you want to fit your needs. Here is my perfect study routine for intense classes.

Re-Read Your Notes

After your class, taking the time to sit down and reread your notes. Yes, the ones you just took. Statistics show that after twenty-four hours your retention rate will drop if you haven’t familiarized yourself with the material. However, just reading the material over and over again isn’t going to do you any good if you don’t understand what you’re reading. Take the time to think about the content in front of you. Do you understand it? If not, this is a good time to refer back to your textbook and other resources. Doing this will make you aware of what you are and are not understanding about the material before the next class. Still not sure what to make of some of your notes? Write down some questions you can ask your professor during or after the next class.

Revise Them If Necessary

I’ve had teachers who have personally talked too fast or flipped through the PowerPoint slides too quickly that I didn’t get to jot down all the information I wanted. If you didn’t get to write down all the information you wanted in the way you wanted it, revise your notes! This can be as simple as adding onto definitions and charts you already had written down, or rewriting them completely in another notebook. If you think your notes are acceptable, you can probably skip this step. However, even if your notes are perfect, it’s a good way to get the material in front of you again if you’re rewriting.

Review Your Readings Then Summarize Them

Now comes the readings. In college, I’ve had plenty of teachers give me hundreds of pages of assigned readings due in just a few days. Want to know something? You don’t have to read every single page.

Read The Summaries First: Your first instinct would be to start on the first page where the chapter is. While that’s something you can do, the summary at the end of the chapter is where the gold is. Reviewing the summary at the end of the chapter first gives you an idea of what is going to be discussed throughout the chapter. This summary will give you the important bits of the readings.

Skim: The best studiers don’t read every single word in the textbook because they skim. The things you should be reading in your textbook are:

  • Headings: You know, the big bolded things at the beginning of each new topic?
  • Vocabulary Terms: This is what the real meat is in textbooks. Most professors often quiz over vocabulary terms or at least discuss them in class.
  • Lists: Any list in the body paragraphs of a textbook is usually important and is brought up and used throughout the chapter.
  • The Question Section: Textbooks or readings often have test prep questions on the sides or bottoms of the pages. If you can answer these questions while you’re reading, you’re on the right track of knowing the information.

Finally, after you’ve done all the reading, write a summary of what you just read. These summaries can come in handy later if you’re studying for a test, quiz, or just need to familiarize yourself with the material before the next class.

Brainstorm Test Questions

After you’ve done all your reading and studying, start thinking of questions that might be on the tests. With enough practice, these questions could eventually become a study guide to use on later tests.

Things To Think About:

  • What is the test format?
  • How does the professor typically write their tests?
  • What topics have been covered the most frequently?
  • What information do you believe is the most difficult to learn?

If you base your test questions off these few things, this is likely a good starting point in predicting how the tests are going to go.

Take A Practice Test

Whether you design your own or use past exams, take as many of these as possible. Getting yourself in the mindset of taking tests and how the professor asks questions will better prepare you for when you have to take the actual test.

Flash Cards

My favorite method of studying has to be flashcards. Being a journalism major, many of my tests are over terms and vocabulary words. You can either make your own flashcards by hand (easier to carry around) or you can use an online flashcard maker. I like to use Quizlet because I can organize my flashcards how I want and access them anywhere as long as I have my phone.

What do you think of this study routine? What methods have worked for you in the past? Leave a comment below!

Math! A lot of people find this subject difficult and overwhelming. And I won’t exclude myself from those people. You see, ever since high school, I’ve been struggling with our Math subjects – Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, and Calculus. I’m the type of student who can’t even finish answering all the items in a Math exam. But I realized that you can actually ace your college Math classes if you just do some of the things that I will share here.

How to ace a college class

I remember back in high school, there was a time when all of my classmates have finished the exam early. And there I am, the only student who was left inside and can’t even finish answering all the items on time. My teacher gave me extra time for answering but I still didn’t finish it all, lol.

In college, there are still Math classes to take as general education subjects. Meaning, even if Math is not that related to your degree program, you still need to take it because it’s part of the curriculum.

I took engineering in college, looool! Imagine that! I’m really struggling with Math when I was in high school but I still took a program that is heavy in Math and Sciences, haha. I knew it beforehand that I’m not good at Math but at that time, I said to myself that I’ll try to beat that truth with diligence.

We had a series of four Math courses in engineering. My grades were pretty good for the first three, and just barely passed the fourth one, haha! And that was a great achievement for someone like me!

Enough of my stories, haha! Here are the things that I’d like to share with you to ace your college Math classes.

1. Beat your negative thoughts

IT’S TOO EARLY TO GIVE UP! If you grew up struggling with your Math classes ever since you were in grade school, try to beat those negative and traumatic experiences. College is a different world! And maybe, you were just chained from the thought that you can’t ace your Math classes because you had bad experiences from it.

I knew a lot of people who were not an honor student or an academic achiever in high school but are doing so well in college! So give it a try to ace your Math classes instead of dwelling how you can’t do it.

Some negative thoughts that may distract you:

I don’t have the control of what the outcome will be

  • My professor doesn’t teach well
  • I don’t have the ability to ace my math classes
  • Even when I study hard, nothing goes well

Dear, you may not have full control of it but your actions, perseverance, and diligence towards the goal of acing your college math classes will contribute to the outcome. You may not get a flat 1.0 grade but trust me, you will not regret it because you will learn a lot from it!

I hate Math and I’m too slow to ace it

Try to beat this thought by seeing the importance of Math! People view Math subjects as something that they will not be able to use in their daily lives. They think that they just need to learn the basic math operations. But hey, Math is the language of the universe!

If you understand Mathematics, you’ll have a better grasp of other sciences such as Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Earth Science, and so on. Math has helped a lot in improving systems and technology. To better understand the importance of Math, try to read Why Maths is So Important.

Your progress may be slow when it comes to grasping the concepts but the more that you practice solving Math problems, the more that it improves. Thus, even when you feel slow, try to be consistent in practicing and you’ll see a big difference!

2. Practice solving problems on your own

THIS ONE IS REALLY IMPORTANT! If you want to ace your college Math classes, you really need to practice solving Math problems. This is the very reason why your professors give you homework and exercises.

The more that you solve problems, the more that you’ll find out how formulas, concepts, and theories can be applied. Try to consistently solve at least two problems a day from your Math class to test your understanding of the topic.

3. Don’t panic right away. Think first!

I realized that that PANIC is my biggest enemy when it comes to solving any problems, whether in recitations, exams, or seatworks. I really get overwhelmed when I see the problem, especially when I don’t have the idea how to solve it. Instead of analyzing and thinking how to solve the problem, negative thoughts like “I can’t solve this!” or “This is so hard!” occupies my mind first.

When panic troubles you as you read the questions, try to do some deep breathing to calm you down. When the tension subsides, put your energy into thinking about how to solve that certain problem. If negative thoughts arise, try to think of encouraging words in your mind that you can do it! YOU CAN DO IT!

4. Answer sample exams way before the exam

This one takes discipline and perseverance but is really effective if you want to ace your college Math classes.

Weeks before the exam, I get photocopies of sample Math exams available in the institute and try to answer them. When I don’t know how to solve some items, I try to ask my friends about it. Sometimes, I also ask my professors for consultations whenever I feel like I’m not sure about a lot of things.

You can also do the same! This way, you’ll know the time it takes for you to solve one problem and be able to improve it before the actual exam. Some sample exam questions may also be parallel to the actual exam questions, haha! 😉

If you know some higher years who also took that Math subject, you can also ask them if they still have a copy of their previous exams.

5. Ask for help from your classmates or professor

No explanation needed 🙂 Just ask help from your friend or your professor when you’re having a hard time understanding how the concepts can be applied or when you don’t know how to solve a certain part of the problem.

6. Attend your classes!

This may not be applicable to some but if you’re struggling with Math, attending your classes will help you ace your Math classes. Even if your professor is not that good in teaching, you will somehow get something from the class and you’ll get updated to the lessons that you need to study.

Also, you’ll have the opportunity to ask your professor during the lecture or after the class when you attend your classes.

I KNOW YOU CAN DO IT! Just do your best and study well! If you want study tips in general, read my 12 Tips to Study Smart and Ace Your Exams.

Try to apply these and let me know if these tips have been effective for you! 🙂 Let me know more about your Math experiences by reaching out to this blog through comments, DMs, or email.

If you need some resources for studying, you can visit my printable collections for free printables.

A “difficult” college course depends on the student. Some people breeze through a class considered hard by other students. It just depends on your strengths. That isn’t, however, to say that certain college classes aren’t more demanding than others. Labs, department offerings requiring off-site observations, or courses with hundreds of pages of daily reading clearly fall under the classification of difficult. Managing hard coursework requires you to use high-level study techniques and a plan to manage the work in small packages.

Big Picture

Evaluating the big picture required to pass the class involves making a formal travel map that includes course readings, class lecture notes and supplemental course materials as stations along the route. Skim the large headings and major subpoints in the required readings and review vocabulary from your textbooks before the lecture or lab. This will help you clearly understand new concepts and ideas presented during the class.


It’s easy to promise yourself that you won’t fall behind in a course, but scheduling time to make sure you don’t offers a better guarantee of passing the class. Make an outline of the overall course requirements, keeping the big class picture in mind. Use monthly calendars for the semester or quarter and your outline to develop a schedule for the required weekly readings, using pages from the text, laboratory meetings, and a list of midterms, finals and any required reports or term papers. Add assignments for other courses taken during that time to plan your overall work commitment for each week. Pencil in at least an hour a day on your calendar to study for your difficult class.

Staying Current

Seek help immediately when you get a sinking feeling during a difficult college course. If you wait until you receive a poor test score or a failing grade on a paper, you’ll risk getting a lower course grade. Stay current on the reading and attend the lectures and any optional lab or discussion sessions. Ask for on-campus help from the tutoring center, the class teaching assistant or the class professor when you have questions. Write down questions to ask before the meeting so you keep the discussion focused on finding the answers.


Hard college courses demand you to set aside time to complete the required reading before class lectures or labs. These classes also require you to take detailed notes using an organized system. Mastering the new information means editing your notes immediately after class and highlighting material that fits into the course big picture. “Active studying,” a term used by the University of California School of Medicine to describe effective study skills, requires you to make important editing decisions and filter class material and readings. Active studying involves identifying and organizing important information, memorizing this information and then applying the memorized material to complex situations, such as developing an essay answer.


Evaluate your peers during the first class meetings and target several students as possible study partners. Discreetly look for department majors in same field as the class and ask honors students, if available, to join your study group. Introduce yourself to teaching or laboratory assistants assigned to the course. Keep a paper handy during class to write down questions and explore answers to them with your class study group.

How to ace a college class

Optional: bring your laptop or tablet to take notes. Just keep in mind that some professors don’t allow note-taking on electronic devices, as computer screens can easily cause a distraction. It’s best to have at least a notebook and a writing utensil. Even though the first week is “syllabus week,” and you may think it’s unlikely you’ll have to take an excessive amount of notes, be prepared anyway. Strolling into the first day of class with no backpack, no notebook, and no pen is a surefire way to NOT impress your professors. Plus, you’ll probably receive a hard copy of the course syllabus in all of your classes, so it’s good to have a notebook (even better, a notebook with a built-in folder) to store them in.

2. Introduce yourself to the professor.

3. Sit front and center.

Again… a little ambitious. Front and center in a lecture hall isn’t an ideal location for many college students—but that’s what makes YOU different from everyone else. Sitting in the front puts you in the best position to pay attention to the course material. The back row allows you to look at everyone else in the classroom, which is fun, but also pretty distracting. How to ace a college class This may seem scary or intimidating at first. You might even feel like you’re trying way too hard (ahem, freshmen), but trust us; you’re over-analyzing it. And once you establish a front row seat on the first day, you’ll feel so much more confident about sitting there for the rest of the semester. Of course, the front row doesn’t have to be a permanent spot — just feel it out for the first day or two and see how it feels.