It’s that time of year already.  You have looked at your first semester grades and frankly, they need some help. The good news is you are not out of luck.  Here is a strategy that can help you raise your grades without wasting your energy.

Focus Your Energy

This strategy utilizes the 80/20 rule also known as the Pareto Principle.  The Pareto principle states that roughly 80% of effects come from 20% of the causes.  We can rephrase this principle like this: roughly, 80% percent of your grade is the result of 20% of your assignments and tests.  With this in mind, let us look at a strategy to help boost your grades without the unnecessary work.

Get The Information You Need

The first step in this strategy is to ask each of your teachers or professors for a list of second semester assignments and the weight they have for your final grade.  Just explain that you want to prepare for your assignments and tests so that you can perform better.  Most teachers will be happy you are taking an interest in looking beyond what is due tomorrow.

Pick Your Battles

After receiving a list of assignments and their weights, it is time to figure out what to focus on.  Choose highest weighted assignments and tests from each class that will add up to around 80% of your second semester grade.  These are the assignments that you should focus most of your energy on.

Focus Your Energy

After creating a list of the most highly weighted assignments and tests, it is time to get an edge on your classmates.  Ask your teacher how you can best prepare for each of these items.  Some teachers may give you study guides and hints for tests or you might get insight into what the teacher prefers to see on assignments.  Any information you get in this step can help focus the energy you put into your assignments.  This will ensure you are not wasting time studying the wrong things or going down the wrong paths on your assignment.

Create Your Plan

Now develop a plan for how you will complete your studying and your most important assignments.  Write down dates and times of when you will begin working ahead on them. This can keep you on the right track.  Do not forget to incorporate any information that you gathered from your teacher.  You may want to add times to check in with your teacher to discuss the progress you are making in specific assignments.  If you want to spend more time on your plan, apply the 80/20 rule to each of your biggest assignments.  Decide on the most important aspects for each assignment and plan to focus on these.

Follow Your Plan

Getting your grades up is now simple. Just follow your plan and focus most of your energy on the most highly weighted assignments and tests.  Do not forget to put some energy into your smaller assignments.  These will still have a small effect on your grade.  However, it is easy to get a decent grade on these items without putting too much effort into them.  You will not need to get the highest grade on these items as they will not pull down your grade as much as your highly weighted assignments.

Putting your best effort into your most highly weighted assignments is your best strategy for success.  After all there’s a reason your teacher weighted assignments in the way they did, the more weight they have given an assignment or test the more important it is to them. So take cues from your teacher and bring your grades up without all the stress, wasted time and energy.  If you keep your energy focused in the right places and take cues from your teachers you can bring your grades up this semester.  Good Luck!

Raising Your GradesJosiah Garber

About the Author: Josiah Garber is a fan of the 80/20 rule and of learning new things. He uses 80/20 tactics to run a medical ecommerce website

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