What to do if you're struggling with your course I Oxford Open Learning

What to do if you’re struggling with your course

Are you struggling with your studies? If you’re returning to education after a break or have gone back to learning as a mature student, it’s easy to find the demands of a GCSE, A Level or any other formal education course to be quite overwhelming. It can be especially difficult to get to grips with studying if you have other commitments, such as work and family responsibilities. With all that in mind, here are some suggestions for what to do if you find yourself struggling…

  • Decide what the problem is

Although it might be tempting to throw your hands up in a blind panic and declare that you just can’t do that course, you need to work out exactly what the issues are. Are you struggling with the workload? Do you find it hard to get your head around certain concepts or ideas related to your subject? Maybe you aren’t enjoying your studies, and you’re wondering if you’ve chosen the right subject. Pinpointing exactly what the issues are will allow you to take control of the situation and take steps to find a solution.

  • Talk to tutors and teachers

The people who are delivering your GCSE or A Level course aren’t just there to provide you with information and deadlines. Tutors and teachers want to help you if you’re struggling. If you keep getting low grades for the work you’ve submitted, ask why. Ask for detailed feedback on where you’re going wrong, and for advice on how to improve. Don’t be embarrassed about asking for help: no one gets everything right first time, and your tutors are paid to make sure that you get all the support you need.

  • Consider alternatives

If the course of study you are on really isn’t working for you, think about other ways you could get the qualifications you need. Maybe you should change the level you’re working towards, or go for different subjects altogether. If you’re in full-time education and finding it a struggle to make it work in conjunction with other responsibilities, think about learning from home in a part-time capacity.

  • Resolve distractions

If you’re having difficulty with your studies because you can’t focus on your work, examine what is distracting you from knuckling down. Do you have a quiet space for your studying? Are family members pestering you when you’re trying to do your coursework? Are you getting enough sleep to be able to concentrate properly? Take steps to resolve the factors that are holding you back and you will be much more productive and motivated about your studies.

Finding it hard to keep up with a course of study doesn’t mean that you should give up. It just means that you need to identify what’s going wrong and take practical steps to resolve things. Getting those qualifications will be an immense source of pride when you do manage it, so stay positive and get all the help you need to make results day the best it can be!

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I'm a former English teacher and private tutor who is passionate about education. I've been writing professionally for the past three years and have written educational worksheets for use in schools as well as contributing to an educational journal. I've also written on every other topic under the sun!

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