Ten Steps to Better Grades in College
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Getting Good Grades Is Possible
It’s not easy to get good grades but it is possible, I know I manage it, and was recently accepted into the Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society. Quick and simple how do you get good grades? Here is a list of 10 key points to getting good grades.
1. Go To Class. It may seem common knowledge but it’s true, you want good grades go to class. My psychology teacher stated recently as the semester was coming to an end, “Every person who comes to class every day will pass my class, no question.” Teachers are not going to give you a free passing grade but they will give you the tools to pass the class, along with surprise extra credit that isn’t listed in the syllabus. Along with that you will have your notes that will make it much easier to study for a test, and gives you easy access to the professor if you have questions.
2. Get And Stay Organized.
a. Use a planner, take it to every class and use it, when you get your syllabus write (in pencil, things will change) the dates of all key assignments and tests. Use this for all appointments for school related information.
b. Friend a classmate or two. There are going to be students just like you in class, if you think you might miss a day or two, be prepared, get the phone number and email addresses to the students next to you. Introduce yourself and ask them a few questions about themselves. Tell them about you. It will help if you have someone who you look forward to seeing in class and can give you notes if you miss a day, providing you are willing to do the same for them.
c. Finish your assignments, again this sounds like common knowledge but in reality it is much more than that, tackle them a little at a time taking breaks as needed. Plan out larger assignments with small goals and keep with it until it is done.
d. Get a 3 Ring Binder. Binders are great for keeping notes, assignments, tests and everything else you need for the class, most colleges have hole punches get one and use it for papers that are not pre-holed. Keep everything, remember your professors are human, they miss-grade, lose papers and forget to post the information properly in the computer system. Make photocopies or extra printouts of key assignments, just in case they get lost.
e. Keep your work area clean. You will develop an office of sorts at home; keep it clean and organized, free of clutter and trash. A clean area is easier to work in.
3. Do Well in Class. Participate in Class. Answer questions, ask questions, give opinions, tell stories when asked too, and interact with the processor and the other students. Be active in groups, and use your strengths. Adapt to the professors and students in the class, each will be different. Try not to stress, even when personalities clash, remember you are all there for the same thing, to better yourselves.
4. Time Management. Don’t try to do too much, focus on just a few key things, don’t overload your schedule planning too many credits, more than nine credits if you work is not a good idea, and more than fourteen if you do not is going to be difficult. Make time for family, work and hobbies/recreation along with school.
5. Take Good Notes. Listen to what your professor has to say and make good complete notes, if you can write shorthand that will help but it is not necessary. Pay close attention, and when the professor mentions a page number write it down, it will help when going over the chapter to see where they are discussing the text from. Sit as close to the front of the class as possible, there will be fewer distractions then. Plan a study time with other students if you can and read your notes to them and listen to their notes they will note things you miss and vise-versa.
6. Learn to Read. You probably already know how to read if you are thinking of going to college, but now you must learn to read smart. It is really quite simple. Scan the chapter, look at the pictures, read the captions, look at anything bolded or set off from the rest of the text. This will give you a good idea what you are covering. Read, if you are planning on keeping the book, highlight key areas, study the text, read it twice if you have time, you will pick up lots more the second time around. And last review; skim the text, looking again at the pictures bolded texts, highlighted areas, etc. If there is a review section in the book, go through it, if you don’t know an answer look it up.
7. Get Smart. The best way to do this is to study smart. Don’t procrastinate, it will be the death of your good grades, find a good quiet place to study and get to work, keeping a scheduled and organized study time.
8. Know the type of test you are getting ready to take and be prepared, different tests take different methods and information. Multiple choice tests are way different then essay tests, ask the professor what to expect. If essays then write a couple short essays on the topics. If multiple choices then prepare and study, multiple choice tests are often very tricky, with multiple answers that are similar or misleading. Read them closely and take your time.
9. Take Care of Yourself. Get plenty of rest, eat well and exercise. These three things will make you more alert and make it easier for your mind to store and access the information you need.
10. Use the Resources Available. Use the library and tutoring services. Schedule an appointment with your advisor each semester to make sure you are on track for the degree you want. Look into financial aid to remove some or the entire financial burden off of you while you study. Check with your student services for programs and clubs that can help you study and enjoy the campus environment.
Remember this dream is doable, with enough focus and hard work. Keep your eye on the goal and you will get there.
Now that you know some of the basics to getting good grades lets take a look at successful test taking.