Keys to Good Grades

Do you want to get good grades in college? Here are twelve proven strategies you can use to get better grades, reduce stress, and save time. 

Which do you use? Check off the ones you use regularly.

Twelve Strategies to Get Good Grades 
1. GET IN THE HABIT. Pick a good time and a comfortable place to study. Study at the same time and place every day until it becomes automatic. This strategy helps you keep up with your assignments and helps you remember better.
2. CLEAN UP YOUR ACT. Study at the place you feel is best for you. However, make sure your study area is well-lit and neat. A cluttered, messy area will distract you and you will waste time trying to find things.
3. WRITE IT DOWN. Get a calendar and keep it with you. Write down all the activities that you plan do. Include school, work, and social activities. Add assignment due dates and test dates to your calendar as soon as you know about them. Learn to avoid last-minute emergency cramming.
4. KNOW THE PURPOSE. Each time you start studying ask yourself these two questions: "Why am I studying this topic?" and "What do I want to learn about it?" You will study more effectively and remember better if you have goals and understand what you should accomplish.
5. DO TOUGH STUFF FIRST. You will remember the beginning and end of each study session better than middle. Start with the most difficult materials first. Then work on the easier things. Finally, end each study session with a quick review.
6. TAKE SHORT BREAKS AND CHANGE SUBJECTS. Do not spend a whole night on just one subject. You will end up just staring at the book or the walls. You concentrate better by taking a short break and then working on a different subject. During breaks, take a short walk, do some pushups, or do stretches. Exercise can help freshen your mind.
7. MAKE A NOTE OF IT. Take notes on main ideas in discussions and readings. Your notes will help you concentrate and understand the material. Abbreviate, use symbols, and skip lines between ideas to separate them in your mind.
8. USE PAPER CREATIVELY. Draw a line down the paper about 1/3 of the way in from the left margin and write your notes on the right hand side. Later, use the left column to note important words and ideas; also use the left column to add important information.
9. STUDY ACTIVELY. Outline, reword, summarize, write questions, make lists or flash cards. Use memory aids such as mental pictures. Study with other people and quiz each other. The more ways you see and use the information, the better you will remember it.
10. REVISE RIGHT AWAY. Reread and revise your notes as soon as possible after taking them so the information is still fresh in your mind. When you revise, spell out confusing abbreviations and complete partial phrases.
11. BREAK UP BIG PROJECTS. Start a long project while you still have plenty of time. Spend about 1 hour every day, from day one, to do some work on it. Large projects become manageable and less intimidating when you divide them into smaller tasks.
12. CONNECT NEW AND OLD INFORMATION. Look for relationships between ideas. When you study something new, think about how it is similar and different from things you already know. Try to see each assignment not only as one specific assignment, but also try to see how it relates to other assignments in the course. This will help you to remember information better for midterm and final exams.
How many of these strategies do you use?
   11-12        You should be an A student.
   9-10          Expect some Bs. 
   7-8            Are Cs your goal?
   6 or less     You're in trouble. 

Print this list and keep it near your desk. 

During the next few weeks, review this list before you study and try a strategy that is new for you. In two or three weeks you should be using all of them regularly. 

Based on E. J .Kirst, Tips for your students.

This page was last updated on 8/06 by KEC.