Many students always ask themselves “what can I do to do better in school and get good grades?” Although it may be simple to some, sometimes we struggle and all we need is a little guide to help point us in the right direction to reach the ultimate goal of good grades. Today, I’ll be explaining what has helped me stay on top of school. You’ll get my five best tips, possibly learn how to stay on top of your work and how to get out of a slump.
Study and do work alone
I know this might not be the best option for some people. You think working with other people is better. But honestly, it’s not. There are so much more benefits to working alone. To start, the key part is pace. I know there have been times when you’re working with friends or other people and either they work faster or slower than you do. If they work too fast, you might feel insecure that you’re too slow or you might feel like you’re “dumb” for not working fast enough. If they work too slow, this also slows you down and it may take you longer to finish the work because you’re waiting for them. But alone, you don’t need to worry about this stuff, you can work at the pace that best accommodates you. To add to that, when you work in groups, you’re more likely drawn to cheating. You either “help” each other out by copying their work or vice versa. Although this might be an easy fix, it’s not and you’ll get into the habit of copying from other people’s work and you won’t learn. When it comes to testing days or having to work independently you’ll be stuck not knowing the information. Lastly, when working in groups it becomes easier to place your attention elsewhere, which leads me to my next point.
We’ve all been there at some point. You have your assignment in front of you and you’re looking around at your window then back at your paper and then your pencil, dozing off and repeating the cycle. Some of us are there every time we open up our notebooks to do our work. Many times we start to do work and we end up on our phones and we end up not doing anything. In this case, what you could do is turn your phone off and put it somewhere out of reach.
Another thing you can do is go to a quiet place or a place where you feel comfortable enough to be able to focus. A lot of times, that’s the problem, you can’t seem to focus. Trust me, I’ve been there and it’s so frustrating whenever this does happen. One thing you can do is listen to some calm music while you’re working or maybe before. You can listen to this playlist. A lot of times when listening to music you find lyrics consuming your mind and it tends to be harder to focus, nice instrumentals may do the opposite and get you where you need to be.
Furthermore, maybe you could get up and be away from your work for a few minutes before you start. If you’ve tried that and more and nothing seems to work, this is my last tip and something that has worked for me. It’s a mini-meditation video. This is if you have tried everything and nothing works because you are probably not in the state of mind, and all you need is something that can declutter it. This video is a quick minute video, which can get your mind in the right place.
Get into a “Do now, not later” mindset
Getting into this mindset will be the most important step you can take. If you don’t have the right mindset, ultimately you won’t get anywhere. Truth is that “later” sometimes becomes “never.” Many times when we’re studying, doing homework, or doing projects we get lazy and say “I’ll do this later” or “I’ll take a 10-minute break and continue later” and never end up doing it. This becomes a bad habit and we find ourselves never getting anything done. In some cases, we do end up eventually doing it but we might not perform as well because we are under a time constraint. Having the “later” mindset is like having heavy books thrown at you and it is impossible to get up. Instead of telling yourself you’ll do your work in five minutes, tell yourself “NOW,” have self-discipline and I can guarantee it will change your life.
I know we’ve all heard this one before, and although it might sound repetitive, it is a huge part of doing great in school. Taking notes can happen in many different ways. This doesn’t mean you need to have 10 markers and pens ready and design your notes. Although this is helpful for some people, this can be lengthy if you’re just starting to take notes, and at the moment you probably won’t have time to make sure your notes are top-notch pretty. Don’t get me wrong, if this is you, and it works for you, that’s perfect. But a lot of times there’s a misconception that your notes should look that way to be good/helpful notes. In reality, “good” notes can vary depending on who you are. I like to abbreviate, to make it quick and efficient but remember, these are YOUR notes, they don’t have to make sense to anyone else besides yourself. Another thing I like to do is have colored highlighters and pens at hand to make it easy for me to go back and look for important things. Here you can watch a video and learn more about other approaches to taking notes.
Many people don’t like taking notes, but this can be very beneficial. Taking notes can help you memorize stuff, and it’s a good reference to use when studying for tests. I know there have been times when you’re doing an assignment and forget something and you start to wish you took notes to help you remember. In this case, you wonder if only you had taken notes and could’ve saved yourself from that bad grade. Overall, note-taking is super helpful, and you should start now if you want to increase your grades!
I know we all hate having to participate in class, “why do they care if we participate, they should just teach and leave us be.” This is a completely valid feeling but trust that it’s a crucial part of learning. Yes, it’s possible to get good grades without participating but if possible, you should try to do it. I’m not telling you that participating alone is what makes your grades boost because it’s not. A lot of times we tend to zone out and distract ourselves while our teacher gives us a lesson. If you make it a mission to try and participate at least two times or even just once during each class, it will go a long way. There are many pros to participating, for example, it helps you stay on track and pushes us to work harder. Also, it can make it easier for us to remember things we learned in class that can be useful for future assignments. Participating doesn’t mean having an answer to every question, you could be the one asking the questions or making any small remarks. As long as you’re engaged you’re building a relationship with the teacher and other students, they’ll know you “care” and it can help your grade. Who knows, if you start participating, your teacher will start to like you and can act more lenient with you and provide you with extra help and support.
In the end, there are many small goals you can implement in your everyday school life to get good grades. Keep in mind, you don’t have to do all these tips to do good, there are other strategies and different approaches to these tips as well. Perhaps if you have social anxiety you may not want to participate, but you can still take good notes. The most important thing is maintaining the “Do now, not later” mindset. Having this perspective will not only help you in school but in life. That is the most key part that has helped me throughout middle school and high school. Always try to push yourself to do your best, and when you’re stuck, asking for help is always an option. Remember, your grades won’t go from D’s to A’s or B’s overnight, it takes hard work and discipline.