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Tips to Improve Your GPA

Updated on January 22, 2013
Increasing your GPA is going to take a lot of work, will power, and correct studying techniques.
Increasing your GPA is going to take a lot of work, will power, and correct studying techniques. | Source

With a lot of emphasis on a high GPA, it's understandable why college students are constantly stressing over this number. Even if your GPA is low, it's important that you don't become devastated or discouraged by it. It's completely possible to turn your GPA around, but it's in your hands. Here are some tips and steps you can take to increase your GPA.

1. Know how to calculate your GPA

This is an important to understand what kind of grades you need to get in the rest of your classes to obtain the GPA you desire. The link below offers an awesome GPA calculator, and is much quicker than doing it by hand:

GPA Calculator


2. Quality over quantity

I've heard lots of students say that they've studied for hours (in which they managed their time, and spread out their study hours), and still did bad in the course. Keep in mind that just because you put in tons of hours into your studying for a subject does NOT mean you're going to do well- especially if the quality of your studying was bad. For instance, if you had a lot of distractions or were fooling around on your favorite sites on the internet means that you didn't really study all that well. You shouldn't expect to get the grades you want when your study time is hasty and careless. Make the time you study matter! It's your time that you're wasting, after all. So instead of putting 14 hours a week into hasty studying, why don't you cut that time in half and study right?


3. Manage your time

This goes hand in hand with number two. The question is- how exactly can you manage your time? How can you force yourself to optimize your study time? How do you schedule your time and stick to your goals for the day?

Personally, this was the hardest thing for me to do. I knew that I had to manage my time, but couldn't for the life of me figure out how to make myself do it. The planning part- well that's easy. But taking the action and doing it is hard. There's a few things you can do to motivate yourself to study the way you need to, and stick to your plans, which can be found in:

How to Study Effectively

Managing your time is more than half the battle.


4. Get help

If you're genuinely trying and struggling- you've used your textbook, handouts, the internet-if all of these resources are exhausted you now have to take the time and go into your professor's office hours. It may be a little scary, but I can tell you this- there was never one time that I regretted going into office hours for a professor. It actually made me feel better about learning the material, gave me new found motivation and helped to boost my confidence. Ask for help on specific questions, tell them what you're weaknesses are, ask what you can do, discuss your concern over your performance in the course. A professor can be your most useful tool in succeeding, however many students don't utilize this.

If you find that you're constantly struggling with the material, and feel uncomfortable going to see your professor, then you should consider hiring a tutor. A tutor can be awesome with helping you understand the material, because they'll better understand your struggles than your professor. The only downfall with this is that they may not know what your professor wants you to know.




5. Drop the class

If a course is just not working for you, and you've done all you could, if it's not too late you should consider dropping it. If it's a course you need, maybe you should consider taking it at a later time, when you feel you're ready. If it's a course you really don't need/ could be replaced by a different course, you should really consider dropping it. If there's no hope of recovering from the pit you dug yourself in, this is a good option.


6. Ratemyprofessor.com

This, by far, is one of the most awesome sites that will help you get a better GPA. Before you register for a class, you should find out about the professor who is teaching the class. I have found a lot of my professors on ratemyprofessor.com, where students give feedback about a certain professor. It rates on easiness, fairness, and clarity of the professor. I'd like to believe that I've avoided a lot of GPA devastation because of this site.

Raising your GPA isn't all work. You have to reward yourself to with some fun activities when you meet a goal.
Raising your GPA isn't all work. You have to reward yourself to with some fun activities when you meet a goal. | Source

7. Find you study environment

Do you study better in your room? In a different environment? With music or without? I stress this because I've learned that I actually do NOT study well in complete quietness. I study best when there is a TV on low in the background and I can't see the screen. It makes me more productive knowing something is on in the background.

8. Testing anxiety could be lowering your GPA

I would get mild testing anxiety when going into a test. My first multivariable calculus test I was so completely nervous that I ended up getting a 45 on it (and I thought the test was easy!). I had clammy hands, my heart was racing, my hands were shaking- I was scattered brain. It was very difficult to think straight. However, by talking to one of my professors about my nerves, he suggested something really cool to me. Right before you take a test (literally, while you're sitting at your desk with the paper in front of you), take three deep breaths. This triggers a reaction in brain making your body think that you're relaxed (even though you know you're not). This allows you to think more lucidly. By doing this, I was able to get an 85 on my second math test, which in turn boosted my confidence in math. This confidence inspires me to study harder, better and to do all that I can to succeed.

9. Set small goals

Do not expect to raise your GPA by a whole point by taking one semester's worth of classes. Be reasonable. You have to find what's reasonable for your particular case by using the GPA calculator. For instance, maybe your goal is to raise your GPA by 0.2 points. Or perhaps your goal is to get one B and three A's one semester. Set doable goals for yourself- ones that you can achieve.

10. Don't be too hard on yourself

If you got a low GPA one semester or a few poor grades in some classes, don't be completely discouraged or devastated. This isn't the end of the world. Honestly, if you feel devastated after having a low GPA, that's going to affect your success in your future classes. You're going to feel hopeless, and your confidence in school is going to drop. This will result in a vicious cycle of low grades. So, understand that there is hope and that it's very possible to achieve the GPA you desire. All it takes is will power.

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  • mariexotoni profile image
    Author

    mariexotoni 4 years ago

    You must have been an excellent test taker. When I use to cram- I would often forget everything while I was testing due to my nerves.

  • Lipnancy profile image

    Nancy Yager 4 years ago from Hamburg, New York

    I must confess that I did better in college when I crammed. I know that I am a poor example.