How to Succeed in Hard Science Classes


So I think at least once in everyone’s college career there is that one class that just becomes the bane of your existence. Either the professor cannot explain the subject well enough, or the material itself is practically in another language (Read: Physics). For me as a chemistry major, these classes were E&M Physics, Chemical Thermodynamics, Multivariable Calculus and the NMR Spectroscopy part of Organic Chemistry. Evil! Evil! Evil!

Yet, somehow I passed! Not always with a perfect A, but close enough that my GPA survived! 🙂

How did I manage, you ask! Here are my tips and tricks on surviving those evil, difficult classes!

Pay Attention in Class

I know it’s hard to pay attention, especially when you don’t really understand what’s going on in the first place. However, at the very least you can manage to take good notes for you to review after class. Who knows, you might even catch those two seconds of lecture that completely explain your confusion!

Revise/Summarize Your Notes

Sometimes, it’s as easy as going over something a second or third time! Reviewing my notes and summarizing them into a more understandable manner allowed me to better remember important information such as equations and mechanisms, while also forcing myself to drill general concepts into my poor, tired brain. Repetition is key! The more you expose yourself to a subject, the better your understanding of it!

Google Everything

This is especially helpful in math, physics and organic chemistry, in my opinion. However, this tip is applicable for any subject if your Google-Fu is strong enough! Believe it or not, you’re not the first person to take this class, nor the first to find it difficult! Therefore, the internet is a wonderful place of resources such as Khan Academy, YouTube videos and academic websites dedicated to helping students such as yourself pass your classes! Google away!

Practice Problems

Practice makes perfect. This is especially true for difficult classes. Find as many practice problems as you can and DO THEM UNTIL YOU GET IT RIGHT! This will help you better understand how to approach problems you might see on the quizzes and tests!

Study Groups

The only way I survived the Physics series in my school was to create a study group with my friends. That way, even if I didn’t understand a question, someone else in my study group might. Better yet, even if no one understood it, we could work together with our different perspectives and eventually figure it out! Study groups also serve as a nice support system, especially before those stressful exams!

Office Hours

If you’re having difficulty in a class, chances are most of your class is too! Therefore, your TA or Professor is probably already prepared for all the questions imaginable! So, grab a group of friends, head to office hours and bombard your instructor with questions on anything that’s confusing you. If you’re instructor is competent enough, you’ll be coming out of their office with a better understanding of material!

And that’s it; my recipe for surviving those evil, difficult, weeder classes!

Hope this was helpful! Good luck in your classes! ❤


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