Are you trying your hardest but only getting subpar results? Putting in the hours but still unable to get that ‘A’? You’re not alone.
Maybe you’ve even reached the point where you wonder if it’s even worth all the effort… That’s a hard place to be.
Year after year, millions of students struggle to cope with the demands placed on them by their schooling. And despite this being such a widespread problem, students are rarely ever taught the simple habits that can make success in the classroom almost guaranteed!
We have good news for you: there’s hope. In fact, we’ve put together a list of some of the very best tips and strategies you can use to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get where you want to go.
***These tips are only for students that really want success and are willing to do what it takes to get there. These are, by and large, not ‘fun’ activities or things that you will look forward to–at least in the beginning. But if you devote yourself to these tactics, you will be rewarded.***
Talk to Your Teachers
Your teachers are your #1 resource for improving your grades, and it’s not hard to imagine why. They know the material that you are struggling with inside and out. They have helped students of all kinds learn it before. And they probably already have a good idea of the exact steps you can take to improve your grade in their class. Remember that your success is their success and that they truly do want you to succeed, even if they don’t particularly like you–it’s their job! Humbly approach your teachers, explain your situation, show them that you really want to change, and put their advice into action right away.
Hire a Private Tutor
If you’ve talked to your teachers and you feel that you may need some extra help in learning the material, consider hiring a private tutor. Many people think that this option is only for the ultra-needy or the ultra-rich, but that is simply not the case! Private tutoring has exploded in recent years as people have realized just how helpful it can be to have an expert on your team. As the demand for tutors has gone up, so has the supply. This means that tutor fees are much more affordable than they used to be, even compared to tuition rates (and they’ll come to your house, too!). Explore your options here.
You’ve got to have a clear picture of where you’re going in order to get there. If you want to get better grades but you never actually define what that’s going to look like for you, you’re just about guaranteed to fail. Vague goals are dead goals. Determine exactly what you want to accomplish in a given time period so that you know specifically how to get there. What can you do today to get yourself closer to reaching your goals? Next week? Next semester? It’s ok if you adjust and evolve your goals along the way. The important thing is that you consistently have a specific target to aim for and that you’re constantly evaluating the best way to hit it.
Make a Schedule
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” -Benjamin Franklin
Preparation is a key ingredient to success in any field, and school is no exception. Professors, athletes, politicians, math tutors, musicians, etc… Those at the top of their field know the value of preparation and they cherish it as their insurance that everything is going to work out, come what may. So take time at the beginning of each day to make a general plan for the day. It could be task-driven or time-based…whatever works best for you. Just look at your goals, make a plan, and stick to it.
Take Killer Notes
Despite note-taking being one of the few tips in this list that is actually taught in many schools, it’s also one of the most neglected. We get it…it’s tedious, it’s boring, your hand is cramping, yada, yada, yada. But note-taking doesn’t have to suck. With a little personalization, you might actually enjoy it. Yes, really. Experiment with different note-taking methods and choose the one that works best for you. Many students find that taking what the teacher and the textbook say and putting it into their own words helps them to learn best. Instead of just copying down what’s on the board or the screen, be sure that you really understand it. Comprehension is far more valuable–in school and in life–than rote memorization.
***BONUS TIP***- Review your notes each night as part of your homework/study time. Practice explaining the concepts you are learning out loud as if you had an audience. Better yet, ask your family or friends to be that audience, if you like. Describe the concepts as simply and clearly as you can and then ask your audience if they have any questions. If they have a lot of questions then you have some more learning to do. After all, you can only teach a subject well if you truly understand it.
And of course, there’s always the “hail-Mary” tactic of begging your teacher for extra credit. It might be a good option if you’re really in a pickle, but don’t depend on it. It’s usually not enough of a grade boost to make a huge difference, even if your teacher does offer the opportunity.
Instead, invest your time and effort in the 5 tactics above and watch your grades soar to new heights.