How to Conquer College Math (and other required courses that might intimidate you)

 

By Katie Llewellyn

It’s true. If you’re a college student, the day will come when you have to add that one class that you’re dreading to your course schedule. You’ve put it off as long as you can, but now your academic advisor is starting to give you a bit of side-eye, even if through email or phone correspondence.

Whether it’s college algebra, statistics, or a writing and composition class, it’s likely that you’ll find yourself in a course or two you don’t think you’ll enjoy. You might even find it downright intimidating. Most majors will require you to take courses that are out of your comfort zone on purpose to help you become a more well-rounded human.

But that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a semester full of anxiety and stress. If you are proactive and take a few practical steps, you can conquer college math. Here is how to study math in college (or whatever required course intimidates you):

Get to know your professors

Chatting with your professors may seem like the last thing you want to do, especially if you’re taking a course that seems daunting. But getting to know your instructors early in the semester may be one of the best ways to get ahead.

At the beginning of the semester, make a point of introducing yourself (you can do this via email if you’re an online student) and even attend office hours. By connecting with your professors, you are letting them know that you are committed to learning the material and you open the lines of communication in case you have questions as the course progresses.

Stay on top of your work

Many courses, especially maths and sciences, build upon previous concepts. The best way to study math in college includes keeping up to date on all homework and assignments, so that you have time to get clarification or improve your skills before moving on to more complex lessons.

Join (or make) a study group

You are likely not the only student in your class with concerns about the coursework. Whether you meet in person or use a message board, building a support system amongst your classmates can help to spur you on. Talk to your peers about what you are struggling with, help explain a concept you’ve grasped well and build upon your knowledge. You may even gain some new friends in the process.

Make the most of the resources your university offers

Struggling in a subject does not make you a failure. You are certainly not the only student who has ever had a hard time with a class. That’s why some of the best universities already have your number and make math tutoring available. For example, Regent University provides a Math Lab at no cost to its students. Take advantage! They also offer tutoring for the math portion of the PRAXIS I. Individual appointments and math workshops are at your fingertips (on-campus or online). These math tutors come alongside to reinforce concepts you’re learning from your textbook.

Be sure to schedule your appointment at the first sign of confusion or concern; don’t wait until late in the semester to put your hand up for help. You may be surprised at the progress you can make simply by taking a little more time to review concepts.

Remember that learning is the reward

While you certainly want to maintain good grades and do well in your classes, it’s important to realize that college isn’t ONLY about making the grade. In classes that you find especially challenging, focus first on learning. Develop a sense of curiosity about the subjects you are studying by figuring out how you can practically apply what you will learn to your future –
and allow yourself to be stretched past your comfort zone!

College is a time of growth. If you find yourself in a class that intimidates you, know that you are not alone. Some classes will be harder than others, but with some planning and effort, your probability for success looks good.