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What are Remedial Classes?

Jessica Ellis
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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Remedial classes are often used to stress the basics in a subject such as math or language. They can help students who are having problems with advanced concepts to fully understand the basics of a subject. Students can also use them to catch up on material after a long break from education. Some people look upon remedial classes as embarrassing, but they can in fact be useful tools to gain a more complete grasp of difficult ideas or rules.

Basic Purpose

If a student appears to be significantly behind the expected level for a class, a teacher may require him or her to take a remedial class. These classes act as a "safety valve" for struggling students, allowing them to work at a more appropriate level, rather than failing because they are not at the same level as the rest of the class. Remedial classes can be a positive environment for students suffering from low-self esteem, as they encourage students to ask as many questions as necessary to understand a subject, rather than feeling pressured to learn everything immediately.

College Level Courses

At the college level, remedial classes are sometimes necessary to compensate for different learning standards at preparatory institutions. Not all schools provide the same education, and college may throw together students who have entirely different educational backgrounds. Many remedial classes can also act as a refresher course for students who have taken time off, who are returning to studies after a long absence.

Duration and Structure

Remedial classes are not necessarily semester or quarter-length classes. Some institutions offer crash courses over a few days or weeks in order to bring students up to speed quickly. They can also be standard classes that go for an entire semester, depending on the complexity of the subject taught or the amount of information covered. These classes usually have tests and homework like any other, often with a focus on review to ensure comprehension by students.


Most remedial classes stress basic concepts that must be understood before complicated ideas can be applied. In remedial language classes, for example, teachers might stress grammar, spelling, and vocabulary. Remedial math usually focuses on basic mathematical functions such as addition, subtraction, and fractions. By getting these concepts firmly in hand, students can better focus on learning complex applications of them in more advanced courses.

Importance of Understanding

Any students required to take remedial classes should not feel ashamed. These courses only help students gain a better understanding of a particular subject. By reviewing and focusing on the basics, students become better prepared to keep up with advanced classes. Remedial courses can also teach students better study and learning habits, to help them succeed where they might have otherwise found difficulty.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis , Writer
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for Practical Adult Insights. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.

Discussion Comments

By anon310732 — On Dec 26, 2012

I was put in a remedial math class in middle and high school. Honestly, neither really helped. I think some people whether it be because of their genetics or something else will always be bad at math no matter what they do. Some people's brains are just wired to do certain things and perhaps complex math is not one of them.

As for students not being proficient English and reading, I really don't know what to say. I think the ability to read and write is needed more than the ability to perform and know algebraic equations in everyday life. When you get out of school and go into the real world, all what you really need is very good social skills. If you have that you're pretty much set for life.

By anon260696 — On Apr 11, 2012

What kind of help is there for a person who is a slow learner?

By anon157680 — On Mar 03, 2011

I am a returning student from a 20 year absence from college. I decided to return for a nursing degree. There is no way I could've succeeded in any of the required classes unless I took remedial classes from the most basic of math to English and reading. I am thankful that my college required me to do this!

By anon113368 — On Sep 24, 2010

the students, instead of being embarrassed about the remedial classes, must make the best of it.

By anon98359 — On Jul 22, 2010

Thanks for the heads up. Now remedial classes do not seem so bad.

By anon92595 — On Jun 29, 2010

are remedial classes necessary for primary pupils?

By anon25882 — On Feb 04, 2009

Remedial classes are actually good for students who didn't have a 75 or better in their English test throughout high school. The remedial classes offer very good help. Students will have greater self esteem than in their regular English classes. Personally, I took all the remedial classes except for reading.

Jessica Ellis

Jessica Ellis


With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
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