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Improving Your Study Skills for Learning the Tough Stuff

Some subjects and concepts will come to you easily and naturally as a college student. Others will frustrate you and make you wish you never came across them in the first place. While these difficult subjects can be infuriating at times, don’t give up too soon when it comes to trying to master them. It could be that you’re just going about learning them in the wrong way. Here are some pointers that can help you learn dry, boring and downright difficult material with greater ease.

Take it all in. When facing a tough subject you might be tempted to take it slow, read it bit by bit and try to force it all into your brain. What can be better, however, is to first glance over the material, give it a rough read and get the larger ideas. It sounds counterproductive, but it really can work.

Go back to concepts that confuse you. Once you’ve read through the material for the subject once, go back and more carefully examine the parts of it that you find confusing. Focusing your attention on these particular portions will ensure you get a whole lot more out of the time you spend studying.

Establish the key concepts. You’ll also want to take some time to sit down and think about what the main concepts and skills in the material are. These are the real big things that you’ll need to take away from your learning. The little stuff is nice, but make sure you focus on the big concepts before dealing with the details.

Figure out what you really need to know. When you’re learning something there are always things you really need to know and things that are just kind of a bonus to know. Establish what you need to commit to memory and focus on these things. If you have time you can look to the other materials, but ensure that you have down pat what you’ll need for tests and homework.

Test yourself. How can you know what you know? By testing yourself. Try out homework assignments, tests online or talking with a professor or fellow student. This way, you’ll also expose where you need to improve and can go back and review the material.

Use different resources. Textbooks and material provided for class should be your main resource for learning but it doesn’t have to be your only one. With the library and the web, there are likely dozens of other books and potentially hundreds of websites that can help you in learning the material. Sometimes all it takes it something being explained in a different way for it to make sense, so never be afraid to seek out alternative learning resources.

You might never fall in love with calculus or economics, but you can learn them– no matter how much you struggle. Hard work, and a plan of action can make learning even the tough stuff something anyone can master.

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