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Ashworth College Blog

3 Tips for Surviving Your Hardest Courses

Written by Des Sinkevich on Thursday, 09 June 2022. Posted in Online College

happy woman holding paper in front of laptop.

Online college offers flexibility and the opportunity to take your time when you’re working through tough courses and classwork. That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s easy. While you do have the time to study at your own pace and prepare for exams on the timeline that works best for you, that doesn’t mean you won’t run into an especially challenging class. When you’re struggling with a tough lesson or problem, you may start to feel discouraged or like you just can’t move past it. But there are ways you can survive your toughest courses and even come out on top! Instead of quitting, try these 3 tips for surviving your hardest online courses.

1. Change how you take notes for your classes

If you’re struggling to hold on to concepts you cover in your classes, it may be harder for you to feel like you’re learning – or that you can pass the class. One reason behind the confusion may be how you take and study your notes. While there are many different ways to take notes during your studies, what you’ve stuck to in the past may not necessarily be the best way for you to learn. Try switching up your note-taking process to see what works for you and how your brain processes information.

For some, that could mean taking notes by hand for every study guide you read. For others, that could be recording yourself reading your notes and listening to the recordings to better absorb what you learned. To determine which note-taking method could be the best one for you, it can help to understand what your learning style is.

Learning styles include

  • Visual. Visual learners do best when they can clearly see information and how it connects to what they’re learning. Using graphics, charts, images, and infographics can help visual learners better absorb and retain information. If you’re a visual learner, try adding graphs, drawings, and other visual markers in your notes that can help your brain categorize and remember the information you’re studying.
  • Auditory. An auditory learner is someone who learns best when information is presented to them vocally. If you learn better by listening, try reading your study material out loud or record yourself reading your notes so that you have something you can play back when you’re studying for an exam.
  • eading/writing. Reading and writing learners do best when they have written information to refer to, such as study guides. As a reading/writing learner, you may retain more information if you physically write down your notes in a notebook – old school – instead of using notetaking apps or tools.
  • Kinesthetic. Kinesthetic learners are hands-on learners; they need to do in order to understand and remember information presented to them. While many subjects aren’t necessarily “hands-on”, like history or English, you can still incorporate movement into your study routine! When you’re taking notes or reading, don’t be afraid to walk around a bit and take regular breaks between notetaking and studying so your brain doesn’t become overwhelmed.

If you’re not sure what your learning style is, you can take an online quiz to find out! Once you know what style of learning works best for you, you can adjust your notetaking and studying process as needed.

2. Know when to ask for help

One of the hardest things to do in school, and in life, is admit that you can’t do something by yourself. When you’re struggling with a hard course and you just can’t seem to remember what you’re trying to learn, it’s important to know when to ask for help. In fact, getting help from someone who isn’t as emotionally connected to your struggle can give you a new perspective and make a difference in how you get through your classes.

If you’re struggling with your online classes, you can get help through the following resources!

  • The LRC Library. The online library is a great place to find other reading materials and information on subjects you’re struggling with. As an Ashworth student, you can access the library 24/7.
  • The Guidance Center. The Guidance Center offers more than academic help – you can find resources on a variety of topics from budgeting to health and wellness. For students who are struggling with online learning or aren’t sure how to improve their studying, the center also has information on building effective study skills and test prep.
  • The Writing Lab. Writing, especially academic writing, is something that can be tough for anyone – even English majors. If you are having trouble with a written assignment, you can use the Writing Lab to become a stronger writer through style guides, information about properly citing your sources, and more.
  • The Student Community. The Ashworth College online Student Community is a great place to connect with other students and get help and motivation if you’re battling a tough course. Besides connecting with your peers, you can join study groups and get advice from people who’ve taken the class before you.
  • Academic advisors and teachers. Can't find the help you’re looking for? Still stuck on a tough course and can’t see a way of getting through it? Your instructors and academic advisors are dedicated to your success and can offer help if you need it. You can call in to speak with an academic advisor Monday through Friday.

3. Don’t be hard on yourself

When you feel like you’re not really grasping the material and learning is harder than it should be, it’s easy to beat yourself up. And once you start, it’s hard to stop. That feeling of failure can leak into even the classes you’re doing very well in, making you doubt your skills and lose the motivation to reach your goals. Remember, though, that everyone learns in different ways and at different paces. It’s not a failure to need help, struggle with difficult concepts, or take longer to finish your coursework.

And that’s a big benefit of an online college like Ashworth – you can take your time studying and complete classes and exams based on your needs. That means that if you’re struggling with a tough class, you can take as long as necessary to study, reread your material, and figure out what’s holding you back with no penalties.

Remember, you’ve got this

If knowing you can take as much time as you need to grasp a concept isn’t enough to keep you motivated through even the most difficult of classes, remember why you took the step to further your education in the first place. Was it so you can get your dream job? A promotion? Or just to show your friends and family you can do it? Whatever motivated you to go back to school can keep you motivated to reach your goal: earning a diploma or degree that can help you prepare to take the next steps in your life and career.

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