How to Catch Up In a Class When You’ve Fallen Behind

It’s inevitable at some time during your college career, you may fall a bit behind in a class. Despite your best intentions, you may have missed one too many lectures, jumbled up your notes, or just can’t grasp the concepts properly.

But not to worry! Just because you’ve fallen a bit behind doesn’t mean you have to stay there. There are easy ways to catch back up in a class if you give it your best effort.

5 Ways to Catch Up in College

1. Go to class. Even if you’ve missed several class periods before this, the first thing you can do to turn yourself around is to attend class. This will help ensure that you don’t miss any more important information while you’re working hard to catch up with your classmates.

2. Take notes. Even if you don’t quite understand what’s going on in a class, take good notes as much as possible. This will help you later when studying or going back over the information. And if you get help from a classmate, tutoring center, or another resource, it will help them to help you if you have good notes in front of you.

3. Make friends. You don’t have to hang around outside of class or talk much otherwise, but it’s a good idea to make nice with a couple of people sitting around you in your class. This way, if you need to miss class for whatever reason, you can get notes from them later. Also, you can potentially form a study group with them when it comes time for tests or examinations. Having someone to bounce ideas off can be a big help, and they’re always available if you’re assigned a group project.

4. Go to office hours. Believe it or not, your college professors really want to see you succeed. Whether you have a class of 15 or a lecture hall of 300 students, your professor is there to help you. Go to office hours, regardless of if you’re ahead or behind in the class. But especially go if you’re behind; explain the problem, and ask them if there are any extra credit options or what they suggest you do to get caught up again. If you’re having trouble understanding the material, ask them to explain it again. Often speaking to someone one on one and being able to ask whatever questions pop into your head can help to clear it up. If not, ask them what other resources are available to you.

5. Do your homework. Even though you aren’t feeling it some days, you need to complete the assigned work as much as possible. Whether it means cutting down your internet time or multitasking when you watch television, get down to work!

This article was initially published in Feb. 2013 and has since been updated.