Opening your report card, knowing not-so-fantastic grades will be staring you in the face, is a frightening concept.
The experience becomes even more nightmarish if your parents expected you to improve your grades and get a better report card.
If you continuously see poor grades, despite being a reasonably intelligent person who does their best, it’s time to give your study habits a drastic makeover.
Effective study habits do not involve cramming all night before a big exam, or just barely turning papers in on the due date.
Improve your grades and get a better report card by making sure you are taking care of yourself physically as well as doing simple things like always attending class and studying a little every day.
How to Improve Your Grades And Get A Better Report Card
1) Don’t Miss Class
Unless you are ill or are dealing with some family emergency, GO TO CLASS.
This may seem like an obvious tip, but there are plenty of students who think they can sail through a semester while making a few class appearances.
Poor class attendance generally affects your grades even if you ace the midterm and final.
Not to mention, borrowing friends’ notes or talking to the professor about what you missed will never make up for actually attending class.
Many professors often use what they discuss in class in exams, even if the material isn’t in the text.
Regular attendance is, therefore, essential to avoid that deer-in-headlights look during test time.
Having someone explain the material to you in detail can be more helpful than trying to piece together what you think something means from books and copied notes.
2) Take Notes While in Class
Not only should you be hanging on to every word your professor or teacher says, but you should also be furiously taking notes.
It doesn’t matter if only you can decipher your notes so long as you understand them. Besides, writing out information by hand is a great way to absorb the material.
Some people are auditory learners, and they can retain information by hearing better than others.
Such learners might benefit from recording the class and comparing the recording with your notes later, since they may otherwise be prone to distraction.
Kinaesthetic learners also tend to get restless when taking notes, so you could benefit from comparing your notes with classmates to see what you missed.
As mentioned in the previous point, things discussed in class are more likely to come up in your quizzes, tests, and exams.
Examples given in class may explain the point to you better than reading the textbook can, later.
Bottom line – make a habit of keeping regular notes.
It also helps you develop the habit of keeping up with your teacher as he or she speaks, instead of having your mind wander.
When studying, make sure you are 100% focused on the material.
This does not mean study all the time until you drop.
Study smart, instead of studying hard.
Focus on the material intently for about thirty minutes, then reward yourself with a break.
This allows the information time to sink in, rather than superficially race through your brain.
When you get back from your short break, see if you can recall the information you learned first before you continue with the syllabus.
We call this retrieval and it helps enhance your ability to recall information stored in your brain better.
4) Get Enough Sleep
Bad sleep habits definitely contribute to a lower GPA.
If you are continually getting poor sleep or not enough sleep, your body will not be able to recharge as needed.
This leaves you sluggish and makes it much harder to concentrate and focus on your work.
Sleep is like when your computer shuts down and restarts by downloading some updates.
Without this, if it’s left on for too long, it may start lagging and be slow in processing.
Just like your computer, you need adequate hours of rest to let your body and mind refresh itself, so you’re in optimum condition to tackle your studies.
Sleep is also when your brain consolidates everything you learned the day before, so it’s good for your learning and memory.
You should get 7-8 hours of sleep each night to wake up refreshed, full of energy, and ready to take on that physics final.
5) Eat Right
Like poor sleep habits, a bad diet will also interfere with your grades.
Diets full of takeout, sugar, and bad fats work as an energy black hole, leaving you sluggish and, therefore, not excited to study.
Refined sugar can also cause anxiety, hyperactivity, and difficulty concentrating, none of which are going to contribute towards good grades.
Bad food also puts you at risk for all kinds of health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Stick to foods that will give you energy and help you focus, such as leafy greens, whole grains, fruits, nuts, and other vegetables, including cauliflower, beets, and asparagus.
6) Do a Little Bit Every Day
Rather than staying up all night to study for an exam or write a paper, do a little bit every day.
Remember what we mentioned about sleep being the time your brain consolidates all its memories?
Pulling an all-nighter is tiring and stressful, and generally does not work. At all.
Review the notes you took that day, look over past tests and papers in preparation for the final, and go over what you highlighted in your text.
Keeping the material fresh in your mind daily will result in less panic come exam time and prepare you for pop quizzes or surprise essays.
Knowledge develops best in increments, so rather than trying to learn everything at once, learning bit by bit lets you consolidate what you learned and build on top of that.
This improves your understanding and recall of the material.
We call this strategy chunking.
7) Get Help If You Need It
Utilize teachers’ office hours or sign up for tutoring sessions.
Office hours are for when a student has a question about an assignment or project or wants a further explanation about a concept described in class.
Tutoring sessions are also perfect for getting help on a project or subject you are having trouble with, and both are ways to reinforce new material.
8) Schedule Time Effectively
If you have a spare 10 minutes while waiting for your next class or 15 minutes of free time while taking public transportation, use this time to get some reading done or to go over your notes.
All that time adds up quickly!
Students who score well will always tell you that budgeting time effectively is beneficial in terms of getting good grades.
It’s incredible how much you can accomplish in those “in-between” minutes.
A big part of studying is strategy.
So, with these 8 tips on how to improve your grades and get a better report card, we hope you can see a huge, positive difference in your report card!
Which tip to get a better report card are you going to try out first?
Kent Page McGroarty is a blogger for TutorDelphia.
Visit TutorDelphia.com for expert tutoring in Philadelphia and more information on how to improve your grades and get a better report card.
[ Updated – October 14, 2020 ]