How to Tackle "Weed-Out" Classes and Other Difficult College Classes

Posted by Chris Zhang

August 11, 2019 at 3:00 PM

College College Classes Guide

What is a “Weed-Out” Class?

For those unfamiliar, a “weed-out” class is a specific class in a major (generally intro or lower level courses) that your college makes harder than normal to discourage students from continuing with the major. Although this may not seem fair, the thinking behind these courses is to separate the students who are genuinely interested in the course and those who aren’t. When students start to progress through their respective major and take harder classes and more advanced electives, then those who aren’t interested in the subject will struggle greatly. For instance, my college makes general chemistry the “weed-out” class for the chemistry major because if you decide to continue on with the major, then you’ll take harder courses like organic chemistry, which you’ll greatly struggle in. By having these weed-out courses, colleges allow students to get out of majors that they won’t like/will struggle in early.


## Stay Organized Staying organized is important in every class you take, but when you encounter especially hard classes in college, staying extra organized is really important. Staying organized will make your brain feel more organized. Also, harder college courses require notes and organization in order to do well. By staying organized, you won’t have to comb through a bunch of material when you’re studying. I recommend using notebooks, folders, binders, and flashcards to organize your notes. A really useful website that I use to study definitions is Quizlet.

Read/Practice the Material Daily

There are some courses when you can get by just studying the night before a test, and you are still able to do well. However, hard college courses will require you to look over the material on a daily basis. There’s a reason why you almost always have homework everyday. This isn’t a huge commitment: looking over your notes for 30 minutes a day is really all you need. This will not only help you perform better in these difficult classes but also will help reduce your stress come exam time since you’ll already have a good understanding of the material.

Make the Material Interesting - Even If It Isn’t

Times flies by when you’re having fun. This saying is even applicable to studying. Part of the reason why you’ll struggle with difficult college courses is because you just aren’t interested in the material. By not being interested in the material, you’re less motivated to study. In addition, you also won’t study as intently as if you were interested in the material. I didn’t enjoy the material in my financial accounting class, but I imagined how investors would use the balance sheets that accountants created to determine a company’s financial stability.

Next Steps

Every major has a difficult course. They’ll require a lot of effort on your part, and even then, you aren’t guaranteed an A. Don’t get discouraged if your class seems impossible. No professor or college wants you to fail so by putting in some effort and applying the right strategies, you can get through these hard college classes and ace them!

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Posted by Chris Zhang

Chris scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT in high school and is currently studying Economics and Data Science at Colby College. Fun Fact: The only movie he ever cried in was Fast and Furious 7.