Open your mind to studying a subject you dislike

How to open your mind to studying a subject you dislike

There can be an abundance of reasons to discourage you from studying certain subjects, for example, mathematics - you can't get the hang of a formula, or English - you hate the book you're analysing. While it can be easy to attribute these feelings to simply not liking the subject, there are numerous factors that can be responsible for the aversion. Is the classroom environment for that subject disruptive? Maybe you have a personality clash with the subject teacher? The question is, how can you shift your mindset to eliminate the mental block and make it easier to study this subject?

Changing your mindset and approach towards studying subjects you seemingly dislike can have a significant impact on your grades, and can allow you to have more fun throughout the learning process! The good news is there are many ways you can experiment in order to make it easier to approach any subject you currently dread.

Incorporate Incentives

A little reward can go a long way, especially when it comes to being disciplined with studying. Incentives to stay on track with your studies can range from treating yourself to your favourite snack, rewarding yourself with some time with friends, or even purchasing something you've wanted for a while. These can all be effective motivators to study a subject that does not interest you. Have a think about different ways you can motivate yourself to persevere with your studies and try some of them out!

Whilst this method can work for some, it may not materialise in this way for you. A different type of incentive can occur in a more mindful way, centred around the outcome of your hard work and perseverance. A fantastic way to create motivation for a subject you dislike is to visualise how you would feel if you were to achieve the grade you desired! Moreover, this positive reinforcement can also be broken down into smaller achievable goals, like practising a certain skill or exam question and visualising how you would feel once you achieve your set outcome. This feeling can have a domino effect on how you approach future work, especially after you begin to see minor or even larger improvements.


Explore Different Learning Styles

There are numerous ways to learn, which is why it can be so important to discover what works best for you. The three core learning styles are kinaesthetic, auditory, and visual. Using a combination of these learning styles while studying, or sticking to the one best suited to you, can create a mindset shift that assists in the learning of a subject you dislike.

Resources such as YouTube can be a valuable study tool to listen to, or watch, in order to help solidify learnings and revise. There are usually a range of videos and styles (such as animated explanations or guidance from real people), allowing you to choose the ones you find most engaging. However, if YouTube isn't for you, textbooks and online resources such as Khan Academy, Quizlet, and BBC Bitesize can provide alternative approaches to learning. You can also choose to colour code your notes and use different learning tools, such as flashcards or mind maps, to present the information you're studying in order to make it more memorable.

Seek Help from Friends or Tutors

At times it can be hard to admit you need a bit of extra support. However, the benefit of reaching out for help can outweigh feelings of apprehension. If your friends are excelling in a subject you can't get the hang of, try asking them for help! More often than not they will be happy to guide you through a concept, and you could also be doing them a favour! Research shows that verbally explaining a concept helps the speaker develop a better grasp of a subject. The act of retrieving information from the brain and communicating it effectively requires a deeper processing of details which solidifies their own understanding. Additionally, you could study with a friend, or even multiple friends, to make the learning environment more enjoyable as you can intersperse studying with socialising and benefit from the different strengths of your study group.

Finally, seeking support from a tutor can help you develop tools and techniques for approaching subjects you dislike. At Telos Education, our experienced tutors have worked with countless students to develop individualised approaches to their studies. We have helped students of all ages become more effective learners, empowering them with a range of strategies they can implement in the classroom, at home, or during lessons.

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