Improving your grades does not have to be a huge lifestyle change. Making simple alterations such as acknowledging your learning style, doing a little outside the classroom research, and possibly going out of your comfort zone at times will help you achieve better grades. Outlined below are ten simple tips that will make the difference of a failing grade or even enhance a passing one.
Read a sentence or two from each paragraph
It’s common with college and grad school not to afford the time to read all the assignments before class. As a result, instead of skipping it altogether and hoping you might catch up by listening to the professor’s lecture, read a few sentences from each paragraph from the assigned readings/work. As a result, you won’t fall too far behind in class when the professor discusses the assignment, and you might be able to participate in the class discussion.
Keep that hand in the air
Typically in small classes, teachers will randomly call on students to see who is following along and who is not. In order to win brownie points and decrease your chances of being called on when you don’t know the answer, raise your hand when you do. This will be beneficial if class participation counts towards your overall grade. Keep in mind, many teachers may not list class involvement as part of your grade, but when it’s time to evaluate your overall score, this might just sway the professor to give you a “B” instead of a “C+.”
Always do extra credit if it’s available
Extra credit will never hurt your grade. Also, if you’re unhappy with your grade or failing a class, ask your professor if there is anything you can do to raise your score. Professors are there to teach, and although you might believe some seek satisfaction in failing you, most just want you to gain something from their classroom. By expressing your concern, this shows you care. As a result, most teachers will grant you some kind of extra credit if you’re willing to do the work.
Express your concern if you’re unhappy with your grade
If you feel l as though you deserve a better grade on an assignment, dispute it. Kindly approach your teacher after class and ask to make an appointment with him/her during their office hours. Once you’re face-to-face, respectfully tell the professor that you feel you should have received a higher grade and state a few reasons why. The teacher will most likely negotiate a solution and probably respect your courage for doing so.
In the event the professor does not compromise on your grade, make an appointment to see the dean of your college and discuss this matter with him/her. A college experience not only teaches you academics, but how to stand your ground. Do not be frightened to do this. As long as you are respectful and have good reasons as to why you should receive a higher mark on your work, you should be absolutely fine.
Get a study buddy
If you lack motivation or feel you are not learning enough on your own, ask one of your peers in class if they would like to study with you. When doing this, make sure you choose wisely. Pick someone who will be beneficial to you and out of respect for this person, please take the study session seriously. You don’t want to waste your study buddy’s time or hinder him/her from gaining any additional knowledge had he/she studied alone. Also, lock your study buddy into a commitment. Decided when and where you should study so that you will actually follow through with this.
What’s your learning style?
When studying, make sure you get the most out of your time by recognizing your strengths and weaknesses. Find out if you’re more productive studying when it’s quiet or if you prefer a steady noise in the background. Also, take the time to discover how you retain information best. Are you a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner? When you discover your style, create habits that cater to your learning needs. For example, you may want to make flashcards if you learn better visually or you might want to read to yourself out loud if you’re an auditory learner. If you’re a kinesthetic learner, maybe you want to take a field trip and discover hands on what you’re studying in class.
If you’re having trouble understanding your textbook, Google it
Perhaps you’re reading Shakespeare or taking calculus and you cannot seem to grasp the material. If you turn to the internet and do a little research, you just might find a supplemental guide to help you comprehend the subject better. There’s nothing wrong with using CliffNotes, PinkMonkey.com, or even an answer key to solve questions/problems as long as you don’t abuse it. Use the original textbook alongside the supplement to help you develop a better understanding. Eventually you’ll be able to ditch the extra help if used correctly.
Look beyond what’s available in the classroom
If you cannot understand the teaching methods of your professor or want additional help, seek outside resources. Check your campus for Math Labs, Writing Centers, or clubs that offer additional means of learning. People who run the Math Labs and other resources are handpicked by the campus so they are very knowledgeable and can approach the issue in different ways that might help you understand the subject better.
If you understand the material, but want to have it overlooked or proofread by someone, this is a great way to do so. You are less likely to discover your mistakes and by going over your work with someone face-to-face, you will learn not to make these same errors in the future.
Write the test
Teachers will discuss almost everything they plan to include in tests. By taking great notes (even if you did not do the assignment for that class) you will practically write the test. Anything the professor covers in class, whether they list it on the board or include it in their lectures, write it down in your notebook. If you really want to be ambitious, keep separate notes for when you’re studying outside of class and for the ones you take inside of class. It is also helpful to research note taking tips if you need to brush up on your skills.
Second guess yourself
Many times students pull “one-nighters” and do not give themselves time to double check their work. Whether you’re rereading a term paper or overlooking math problems, always proofread or look over your work before handing it in. This small task can make the difference of a whole letter grade in many cases.