– By BROOKLYN SALISBURY
When it comes to college we are all working to get better grades. Whether your goal is to achieve a 4.0 or merely to pass, here are 10 ways to ensure better grades this semester.
1. Learn to Focus on One Thing at a Time
In this world of technology constant distraction is hard to avoid. Your girlfriend may be blowing up your phone, your Facebook is demanding an update, there’s that guy in your dorm who constantly blasts his music, or your roommate who won’t turn down Youtube. Regardless of what’s demanding your attention, multitasking is not helping your grades.
Unfortunately, our minds have become accustomed to doing several things at once. Just try and sit through an entire television show and not check your phone. See what I mean? We have a constant itch to have our senses stimulated, which makes retaining what we study quite difficult.
To stay focused on your homework, turn off your phone. Designate an allotted amount of time (an hour is a good start) to studying ONE of your subjects. Turn off your phone for this period. If you want to listen to music while studying, use your phone for that, but turn off all other notifications.
If you find that you are having trouble focusing, having an itch to check your phone, eat, or any other thing that takes your attention, employ techniques to start retraining your brain to focus on singular tasks. I’m going to suggest prayer, meditation, or yoga. Even if you’re a dude, these are great ways to get the mind refocused and trained.
If you don’t have time for yoga, use study time as your brain training time. If you start your focused study habits at the beginning of your semester, you’ll find that your brain will be more cooperative and recognize designated study sessions as a one-focus affair.
2. Get Your Priorities Straight
If you don’t truly want better grades, you’re not going to get them. Remember your reasons for being in college and reflect on those daily. At the beginning of your semester, day, or week, start with considering your agenda and prioritizing what you need to do. School and work should come before social events, recreational activity, and yes, even dating.
Work hard to play hard.
3. Learn Your Strengths
It’s important to know what you are good at and what you struggle with when it comes to school. Are you a good test taker? Are you good at writing papers? Maybe you dominate in presentations? Whatever you’re good at, and passionate about, find ways to use your skills to the best of your ability.
Look at grading weight to determine what projects weigh the most on your grade. If you can, get some projects out of the way at the beginning of the semester that you know you’ll be good at. Then, you have more time to focus on projects that you may be less skilled in and need more time to do.
Additionally, try and figure out ways to use your strengths in every project. Work on your critical thinking and give extra work to your weaknesses to turn them into strengths.
4. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
College can be super scary. New subjects, beliefs, concepts, opinions, and cultures are constantly bombarding you. Change is hard, so it’s important that you have a game plan, especially when projects are stretching your limits. It is important to work hard to understand the people around you, your professors, and the new things that you have never done academically.
Too often, I hear fellow classmates saying to my professors, “But, I don’t know how to do that!” That’s what you’re in school for, to learn new things. Don’t let fear of the unfamiliar keep you from trying, learning, and attaining new skills! Work hard and employ other’s help to understand the concepts that are foreign to you.
5. The Professor’s Office is Your New Favorite Place
Yep, the professor’s office and the department in which you are majoring is your new home. Get familiar with your professor. Ask questions to see exactly how they like to see papers written, research performed, and projects done. However, DON’T make them hold your hand through the whole process.
Make a genuine effort to understand concepts that you are having difficulty with. If you express a willingness to understand hard concepts and put in the work to get them done, your professor will be overly excited to help you!
Make use of your professor’s office hours.
6. You Don’t Actually Know Anything
You heard me right: you know nothing. You’re young and you are in college to learn. You do not, under any circumstance, know more than your professor does. Don’t argue with your professor over formatting, concepts, or standards. All you’re going to accomplish with that is hatred from both your teacher and fellow classmates.
7. Eat Healthy
Hey, I know you’re a poor college kid, but Ramen isn’t great brain food. Trust me, the food you eat converts to the level of performance you can offer. As often as possible, eat veggies. Stay away from soda and other sugar filled drinks. Stick to simple carbs, and don’t eat those candy bars from the vending machine down the hall. Also, stay away from the alcohol. The freshman 15 is real!
Drink lots of water. Eat fish as often as you can and exercise. All of these healthy habits help to feed your brain, and as a result improve your grades.
8. Go the Extra Mile
Extra credit is your friend. Do all of the extra credit you can. By extra credit, I don’t mean during the last week of school. Asking your professor last minute for extra credit to make up for the 200 points you didn’t work for is no bueno. Do the extra credit projects provided at the beginning of the semester. If extra credit is not provided and you feel as if you need it, talk to your teacher EARLY in the course to see if you can work something out.
Also, go the extra mile in your regular projects. The point of college is to learn things, and you learn more if you work more on a project. Going the extra mile ensures that you attain a better grade while learning more than your peers, giving you an edge in both in college and your future career.
9. Know Your Learning Style
I cannot emphasize this one enough. Make sure and know the ways that you learn the most effectively. Don’t expect the teacher to adapt to you learning style. You must figure out how to adapt the content to yourself so that you can retain the information in a more efficient manner. If you don’t know your learning style, do some research to figure it out.
- Visual: These people prefer to use pictures, images, diagrams, colors, and mind maps.
- Physical: These are the “learn by doing” people that use their body to assist in their learning. Drawing diagrams, using physical objects, or role playing are all strategies of the Physical learner.
- Aural: People who prefer using sound (obviously), rhythms, music, recordings, clever rhymes, and so on.
- Verbal: The verbal learner is someone who prefers using words, both in speech and in writing to assist in their learning. They make the most of word based techniques, scripting, and reading content aloud.
- Logical: The people who prefer using logic, reasoning, and “systems” to explain or understand concepts. They aim to understand the reasons behind the learning, and have a good ability to understand the bigger picture.
- Social: These people are the ones who enjoy learning in groups or with other people, and aim to work with others as much as possible.
- Solitary: The solitary learner prefers to learn alone and through self-study.
10. Keep Tabs on Your Grades
It is important to check your grades regularly. If you teacher doesn’t have a system on which to post your grades, check with him or her on a regular basis. It is good to check your grade after each project you complete. This will tell you where you are in the class and whether or not you are meeting your goals. If you find that your grades are not satisfactory, work with your teacher to figure out how you can improve your work.
DO NOT merely check your grades at the end of the semester and expect your teacher to work with you to get better grades last minute. Also, when asking your teacher how to improve your grades, DO NOT expect your professor to simply change your grades on request. A bump in grades depends on more work from YOU, not your teacher.
There you have it! 10 ways to improve your grades this semester! Stick to these and you’ll see an improvement in your GPA in no time!!!