Here are twelve tips on how to get better grades and improve your GPA.
Get organized. Write down test and assignment due dates on a calendar to help you turn in assignments on time and study before exams.
Don’t skip classes. If you skip classes, you will fall behind. If subsequent classes depend on material presented in earlier classes, you will find it more difficult to understand the material.
Don’t procrastinate. Do not put off your work until the last minute. Finish assignments at least a day before the due date. This will avoid any sloppiness when you run out of time. It also prevents last minute panic.
Read the assigned readings and textbook chapters before each class, not after. This will help you better understand the material as it is presented in class and ask questions when you don’t understand the lesson. Pay attention and participate in class.
Transcribe your notes every evening. Type or print neatly. This not only makes your notes more readable, but it turns the note-taking from a passive process to an active process. As you transcribe the notes, make sure you understand everything you wrote. Be selective as you transcribe the notes, rewriting only the most important material. If you are confused by something in your notes, take the time to resolve anything you don’t fully understand and clarify your thinking. Write an explanation of why you misunderstood the material. Add top ten lists to your notes. By transcribing your notes, you turn it into an active learning process. Not only does this help you understand the material, but it makes it easier to remember. You won’t have to spend as much time studying for tests, since rereading your notes should be sufficient.
Ask for help if you need it. Asking for help from the teacher, friends and family is part of the process of learning. Giving help to others also helps you, since you don’t really understand the material until you can explain it to others. Study with friends who know the material well, since they may have a better way of understanding it.
Eliminate distractions when studying. Arrange to have uninterrupted time for studying by studying in a quiet area with a door that closes. If you can’t study in your room, go to the library to study. Turn off your cell phone. Take breaks periodically to get up and stretch or visit the bathroom as necessary.
Don’t cram the night before a test. It is much easier to remember the material if you reread your notes several days before the exam.
Get a full night’s sleep and eat a nutritious breakfast every day, but especially before any exams. Visit the restroom 15 minutes before an exam, so that you aren’t distracted by a full bladder.
When taking a test, don’t get stuck on a question. If you don’t know the answer, mark it so that you can return to it later and move on to the next question. On a multiple choice exam, try eliminating some of the answers. Not only does this increase the odds of picking the right answer if you guess, but identifying the wrong answers can sometimes help you understand how to identify the correct answer. Read the directions carefully. Sometimes, a single word in the question will affect which answer is the correct answer.
Ask for extra credit assignments and treat them as though they were required. Extra credit presents an opportunity for improving your grades. Do the extra credit assignments even if you think you don’t need them.
Read the first section of a daily newspaper every day or the entire Sunday newspaper on weekends. This will help build vocabulary, reading comprehension and awareness of current events.