Hey everyone! I hope you are all having an amazing day! For today’s article, I decided to give you guys some helpful tips to getting good grades. I know some of these might not apply to all of you guys, but I still hope it helps you (even in the slightest way)!

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PREPARATION + ORGANIZATION

I really cannot emphasize how much preparation and organization will be helpful for a successful school career. Being prepared doesn’t just mean having all the materials and books needed for your class, but also knowing and studying the things you learned for future tests or (pop) quizzes! If you review things each night (more or less), you will feel really good about it, and if you are unsure about something, always ask questions. If for whatever reason you have plans or aren’t feeling up to doing this, it’s okay to skip a day, but just don’t make it a constant occurrence. And yes, also always make sure you have what you need for each class so you don’t have to leave in the middle to get it or struggle without it for the rest of the day.

Staying organized is also extremely important. A lot of stress is caused by not managing your time wisely. One of the biggest things I can ever tell you, is to never procrasinate. You will have to do it really close to the due date, and you really can’t put in your best effort if you are feeling rushed. Also, it just causes a lot of stress to try to cram for a test the night before, or to finish your homework when your teacher collecting it. My recommendation would be using a planner/agenda, because you will be able to keep track of all your homework assignments/projects/due dates/etc, and its just really great to list certain priorities and check them off when its finished so you know what you have to do first.

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TEST TAKING 101

I get that we all have tests that we dread two weeks before the actual class. However, it could be time spent reviewing things you don’t understand or quizzing yourself so you get everything 100%. There are many great studying methods, and for it to actually be effective is if you find your own learning style.

Here are a few learning style examples as well as some studying methods:

⇀ Visual — If you are a visual learner, you could try creating your own diagrams and charting graphs, or simply finding pictures of what you need. Highlight/color-code your notes to better organize your ideas, or make a mental drawing/symbol to remember what you are learning.

⇀ Auditory — If you prefer listening over anything else, try recording your lectures (if allowed) or reading aloud your answers. Hearing yourself speak as well as other people’s explanations might help it stick to your brain. You could also find some stuff online too, if that would help (just make sure its relevant information).

⇀ Verbal — If you have a way with words, you can review your information as if you’re trying to teach someone else about that subject. This also goes in hand with writing, so I would recommend writing essays surrounding that topic, or just a bunch of detailed notes. If you read your notes out loud, repeat it several times so that it might stick better.

⇀ Physical — If you like hands-on stuff, keep yourself active when you’re studying, instead of just sitting in one place and reading your notes over and over again. You can go outside and listen to someone read notes, or just make flash cards. Actively write down questions/key words/definitions, and flip them over to give yourself something to do. Also, you could continuously re-write sentences or important vocabulary.

If you want to learn more about other learning styles or want to discover your own, you can check out this link:

https://www.educationcorner.com/learning-styles.html

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The actually test taking portion is also very important. You could prepare weeks before, but still get caught up in a very little mistake. If you have a multiple choice question: read the question and think of your own answer first (don’t look at the choices), and then go in to find the one that is most similar to your own answer. If two (+/-) are a bit similar, read the answer very carefully and find a word that would throw off the whole answer. Same thing with true or false questions, as one word may break the whole thing. If you are ever stuck on a question, don’t waste too much time on it, and just bookmark it for later.

For open-responses/essays, never start writing right away. Always always always plan your answers before you begin writing. I actually did an article about how to write a good essay, so if you want to check it out, it’s right here:

(I’m not trying to promote this article, it’s just that I’ve already written about essays and don’t want to repeat that information.)

And when you are done, check your work a million times!!!!! Silly errors will get points taken off and you won’t show what you really know, so always make sure you are submitting what you want to submit.

HOMEWORK

As I’ve already stated a few times, doing your homework will definitely help you in the long run. Always do your homework whenever you get the chance. It’s best to do it right after school, but if you have spare time from other classes, get a head start there (as long as you’re not doing it while the teacher is talking)! You won’t feel the need for procrastination if you do it right when you are able to.

Self-correcting your homework is also great so that you know what mistakes you made. If your teacher tells you the answers or you do it with a friend, ask them to explain how they got an answer if you are ever confused. Also, homework is actually a really big part of grades, and if you don’t complete it or turn it in on time, you may lose a few points, so always make sure its done! Plus, it’s usually not that hard (from what I have, I could be wrong) so you really shouldn’t have any excuses not to do it.

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PARTICIPATION + EFFORT

Along with all the test and assignments you have, the most important thing you can do in school is simply try. Everyone is at school to learn, so don’t feel intimidated to fail or make mistakes. Always try to put in your best effort, and don’t hesitate to raise your hand or ask question. Also, don’t be afraid to be wrong! As long as you are at least trying to learn, you are already doing enough. If you ask good questions, I’m sure at least one other person in your class would probably be wondering the same thing.

Also, if extra-credit is available to you, take the offer! It usually does not take up a lot of time, and you will get a few extra points for your effort. If you don’t know what extra credit is (because I believe some places don’t have it...), it is an optional assignment a teacher gives you so you can bring your grade up (if you already have an 100 or so, it will still be higher, but will only remain an A+).

As I’ve stated in my essay-writing-article, don’t ever plagiarize! The smallest consequence you will get is a 0, and that is still bad (because it will be on your permanent record). Put in the time and effort to cite your sources or just rephrase it. It does not take long, so don’t be lazy and take credit for someone else’s work!!!

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PRESENTATIONS

This is to all of my horrible public speaking lovelies out there! I am absolutely terrible at standing in front of a class and publicly speaking! I always face the board or speak too quietly and that can get some points off the project. So, I’m here to share some tips with you. I don’t know that many, because if I did I would be much better, but nonetheless, here are some of the most helpful ones!

Be clear. The thing I struggle with most is not being loud enough or stumbling over words. Practice your speech before the due date, and project your voice so that everyone is able to understand every word. You can also try recording yourself speak, and although it sounds weird, it helps (I’ve done it, and it was great catching what to fix). Also, turn your body towards the audience. If you have a sheet of paper in front of you or you’re reading off the board, no one will be able to hear you well. If you can’t/don’t memorize what you say, write some notes on flashcards and go off of those. You want to keep your presentation short, so explain what you have to, and don’t ramble off topic!

Treat your audience like people. Instead of just reading off something or memorizing it to the extent where you sound monotone, connect with your audience! Make eye contact, smile, ask for questions, walk around the room, anything to make your audience feel more comfortable about the subject! Just act like an actual teacher, and your presentation will be bomb.

Know how to stall. We all get that awkward moment of silence when no one knows what to say and it’s just really hard to move from, right? (No? Just me...?) Anyways, if that comes up, you need a few standard ways to stall for time. If you forgot what to say or drop all your notes, you need to think of something right in the spot. One thing that I find really helpful is bringing a water bottle and if someone asks a question you don’t know or you just need time to think, take a sip (maybe a reaaaally long one) and come up with your answer there. People will probably catch on if you do it three consecutive times, so just do this when you really need it. Another idea is asking around is someone else knows the answer, like you’re expecting them to know. I’ve never actually used this way, but I’m sure it will work, and if you don’t know and others don’t either, just say you didn’t find it in your research and brush it off — it’s okay.

Practice. Practice. Practice. No one is going to get better at something overnight. If you stuggle with public speaking, practice reading things aloud in front of people. Whether it’s in front of your family, your friends, or random strangers, this will help you build confidence and work towards being better at presenting something to your class.

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BREATHE

And last but not least, take control over yourself. Don’t let stress or anything else be the distraction from school. Everyone comes to learn, so don’t feel bad if you are having a bad day or need some extra help. Give yourself the time to relax, but don’t forget that there will be times when you have to study and actually work.

breathe in — breathe out

You will feel a lot better if you just allow yourself to calm down a bit. If you are really struggling (like, REALLY struggling), you can (maybe) ask for an extension if you explain a reasonable situation. The only way you won’t feel stressed is if you don’t let yourself feel it. But in the end, everything will be ok.

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That’s all I have for today’s article! I really hoped this helped you in some sort of way, and if you would like a part two, I’d be happy to give you some more tips!

~ Caylie