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How to Study for a Class You Don’t Like

We’re in the last few weeks of the semester, and while the weather is warm and the flowers are blooming on campus, there are still finals standing between us and summer. Motivation is at an all-time low, so here are some tips for studying for a class you don’t like.

  1. Save it for last. Sometimes the only thing that can motivate me to study is that I absolutely have to and there’s no more time to put it off. One method I use is getting ahead on all my other work so that I have a day or two before the exam that I can dedicate solely to that subject. Even though it won’t be enjoyable, I know that I have to do the work at that point, so I don’t waste time. This method is a little risky though, so be sure that you set aside enough time to get all your studying in!
  2. Listen to music. This is one of my favorite ways to make any task more enjoyable. Sure, it may distract me from my studying a little bit, but I consider it a necessary sacrifice. I would probably procrastinate more if I didn’t listen to music while studying. If you’re extra skilled, you could even listen to a podcast while doing some easier studying like flipping through flashcards.
  3. Give yourself an incentive. Right now I’m one episode away from finishing a show, but I told myself I can’t watch it until I catch up in one of my classes. It actually has motivated me a lot! You just have to be sure you can stick to your rules, and that the incentive is good enough to make you want to do your work.
  4. Pretend you like it. This method doesn’t work as well when you’re stressed, but I find that by getting in the mindset of liking a subject, time goes by a lot quicker. Something as simple as playing happy music or drawing smiley faces in your notes can force you to be more excited about it.
  5. Remind yourself of your goal. If you don’t like the class, you’re probably taking it because you have to. In that case, remind yourself what you want in the future, and think of it as a stepping stone to getting there. Even if it doesn’t apply to your career at all, the discipline and lessons you learn will still help you.
Hi! I'm a sophomore from Madison, WI, studying biology and writing. I'm on the pre-dental track and love to write about music (huge Taylor Swift fan), lifestyle, and wellness.
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