Improve Your Grades In High School
You’ve got your eyes set on a good college, but your grades aren’t exactly dean’s list material. Don’t worry. There are things you can do to improve your grades—starting today. Here are some strategies to consider.
Participate in Class
Even if participation isn’t part of your grade, it’s one of the best ways to understand what’s being taught. Most of the questions on tests are taken from material taught in class, so there’s no better way to absorb information than hearing it and then studying it again later. Ask questions, answer questions and volunteer to help if the teacher requests it.
Ask for Help
There’s no shame in asking for help. In fact, reaching out to your teachers for clarification or help understanding something can go a long way to impress them. Plus, it’s a good habit to get into before college. Professors post their office hours specifically so students know when to come to them with questions.
No good ever comes from waiting until the last minute to start that science project, cram for an exam or write that paper that’s worth 25 percent of your grade. Manage your time by using calendars or other apps to help you get organized (see Page 18), and set reminders for important deadlines. Simply writing “paper due” may not help much if you tend to put things off. Instead, create deadlines for coming up with a topic, outlining your idea and doing your research. Give yourself plenty of time to edit your work.
Do Extra Credit
Not all classes will offer extra credit, but if they do, it can not only help your grade for that class, but also boost your overall GPA. Even if there’s not extra credit offered on the syllabus, it’s worth asking your teacher. Just knowing that you’re being proactive may nudge them to come up with acceptable types of extra-credit work.
Brush Up On Helpful Study and Test-Taking Tips
Did you know that studying before a nap (or bedtime) can help you better retain information? Or that being dehydrated can decrease your ability to think, memorize and recall?
Create your own mnemonics—memory devices to help you learn lists of information. Some popular mnemonics you probably already use include the order of operations for math (Parentheses, Exponents, Multiply, Divide, Add and Subtract = Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally) and the number of days in each month (Thirty days hath September, April, June and November. All the rest have 31, except February my dear son. It has 28, and that is fine, but in leap year it has 29.)
If you’re taking a timed test, skip the difficult questions so they don’t slow you down. Go back to them after you’ve completed the rest of the questions. Use any remaining time to check your answers. Get plenty of sleep the night before, and eat a breakfast that offers a balance of carbohydrates and protein.
Whatever technique you use, remember that you get back what you put into school. If you don’t try, your grades will reflect your attitude. But if you work hard, ask for help when you need it and stay organized, you’re sure to succeed.