Study Hacks: My Tips to Ace the Hardest Classes

Academic Guidance

Study Hacks: My Tips to Ace the Hardest Classes

During my first quarter at Stanford, I took a chemistry class that was undoubtedly the most challenging course I had ever taken. I remember actually flunking my first exam and going through a tough period of re-evaluating the way I was studying. I grew a lot academically throughout that course by trying new strategies for studying and this blog post is actually the fruit of everything I learned that quarter. So without further ado, here are my four best tips for acing the hardest classes.


1. Re-Read your notes the Same Day you Take them. I usually Understood every concept that was taught in Lecture, but I Always found that, a couple days later, I Would forget when I needed to Those Concepts Apply them in a discussion section. In an attempt to keep this from happening, I started re-reading my notes the same day that I took them. I found that this really helped me to remember the concepts better and allowed me to identify any topics that seemed to make sense in lecture, but were now unclear once I had a second look. If you know what you don't understand, then you can get help on more specific questions instead of spending your time later trying to relearn basic concepts that were covered in lecture.

2. Do practice problems at the End of assigned readings. If you need More practice problems outside of the ones assigned by your Professors, the problems at the End of assigned readings are usually a good Source for Additional practice. I have found that These Questions usually start out more basic than problems assigned in class in order to reinforce the foundational concepts you need to know. As you work more of these problems, they become increasingly difficult in order to challenge your ability to apply the basic concepts. I found these questions to be extremely useful for practicing the application of concepts and they generally reflected the ways that concepts would be tested on exams.

3. Form a study group. For me, study groups were Especially Useful for learning Material Because They Gave me a chance to Vocalize my Understanding of Different Concepts. Once I could explain a concept to another student well enough for them to Understand it, I knew for sure that I understood it myself. Study group discussions also exposed me to questions from other students about the material that I hadn't even thought of, giving me good practice in thinking about all the different ways a concept could be tested and applied .

4. Go to TA / Professor Office hours. TA Office hours were by far the MOST Useful resource I had for learning new Material. Obvious They were great for the reason that you can get any Questions you have answered, but I Would Also sometimes go to office hours just to listen to the questions that other students had. I often found that I would learn something new just by sitting in on the session and listening to the different discussions that were going on. If you want to take office hours a step further, I would highly recommend going to you professor's office hours as well. I found these sessions especially useful for learning difficult concepts that even the TA's had a hard time explaining. It may seem intimidating to discuss problems with your professors, but they really are the ones that know the material best.