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How to Improve Bad Grades in High School

Updated on May 8, 2011

School is serious business. Even if you don't think you'll use the math, science, history, and other subjects you learn in school, you still probably know the importance of grades. And in reality, grades aren't the only important thing - high school trains you to think, to be a contributing citizen, and to succeed in school, career, and life at all levels.

If you have bad grades in high school, you'll feel the effects throughout the rest of your life. It can even have negative short term effects - no one wants to spend time in summer school after all. It will be difficult to get into a good college without solid grades, and it will be even harder to secure scholarships and grants to help fund your education. If you do get in a school, you'll have to take on loans to afford your schooling.

All is not lost - you still have time to improve your study habits and improve your bad grades in high school. In addition to these benefits, building these skills will serve you in college and beyond. Here is a brief guide to get you started on this path.

STEP ONE: Learn study skills.

You need to learn how to learn - in other words, understand and create your own study methods and habits that will help you absorb material and perform better on exams and essays. There are many products and systems out there that can help you improve your general approach to schoolwork; here is one program that might help you out with this crucial step.


STEP TWO: Cut out the distractions.

TV, internet, cell phones, video games - there are too many things available to us nowadays that can distract us from important, long-term activities like school work. Thus, you'll want to reduce your usage of them, at least during certain times of the day.

STEP THREE: Create regular work habits.

Your schedule is probably packed, but this just makes it even more important to set aside a period during the day when you can focus solely on schoolwork. Set up a schedule every Sunday night with your obligations for the week, both in school and out of school, and then block out times where you can study. Then, write in what exactly you'll do during those period, obviously modified depending on the homework you'll get. You'll find that by doing this you'll be more efficient overall, and you'll probably get more work done more quickly by doing this than by winging it.

STEP FOUR: Ask for help.

Your teachers, parents, friends, and guidance counselors can all help you succeed in school. They will all offer you different benefits, but together, you will have a team ready to support you. So tap into this network, particularly for classes in which you are struggling.

STEP FIVE: Commit to your new habits right away.

Cut cramming out of your schedule. You'll want to distribute your efforts throughout the week, not focusing simply on short bursts of effort closer to deadlines. This will be a more sustainable path to a diploma than 'binging' on studying.

STEP SIX: Take care of yourself.

Have fun, get out, take a breather. Get enough sleep, exercise, and eat well. You don't want to sacrifice your health, no matter how important school is!

STEP SEVEN: Get started today.

Don't delay. Get a system like this to give you the framework to succeed, and begin building your new academic life right away. This is especially crucial if you are under time pressure, such as if you are a high school senior. Either way, you won't be disappointed by putting in the effort.


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