College Students: How to Improve Your Grades
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College Students: How to Improve Your Grades

As you open your report card or review your grades online your heart begins to pound.  Your heart drops when you notice that you have failed a class or didn’t get the grade you wanted.  If you are a college student this is a big deal.  If you have failed a class, you will have to take it over.  Also, if your grades have affected your GPA, you may lose your scholarship or grant; and or placed on academic probation or suspension. 

As you open your report card or review your grades online your heart begins to pound.  Your heart drops when you notice that you have failed a class or didn’t get the grade you wanted.  If you are a college student this is a big deal.  If you have failed a class, you will have to take it over.  Also, if your grades have affected your GPA, you may lose your scholarship or grant; and or placed on academic probation or suspension. 

You may have heard people say that grades aren’t everything; but in reality grades do matter.  If you have a high GPA, you will have better chances to pursue further education, change career paths, and get the job you want.  For instance, job applicants who have a 3.0 GPA or higher will be taken more seriously by employers than the applicant who has a 2.0 GPA. 

If you are not satisfied with your grades and sick and tired of just getting by, here some strategies on how to improve your grades during the upcoming semester.

Regularly Attend Class and Be On Time

It can be very tempting to skip class especially if you feel like the class is boring; and you believe your professor doesn’t care.  Sometimes, professors may post notes and assignments online.  You may think that just by reading the book and reviewing the notes will be enough to get by.  This may work for easier courses, but this will not work in other courses.   If you do not attend class regularly, you will miss out on important announcements, opportunities for extra credit, verbal explanation of the material, and listen to questions and answers from your fellow classmates.

Many students do not realize the seriousness behind skipping class;and consistent tardiness.  By skipping class and or being late to class on a regular basis can hurt your reputation.  Your professors will view you as a student who is not serious about their education.  By consistently being late or skipping class can hurt your grades as well.   If you have gained the reputation of a slacker student, it is unlikely that your professor will be willing to write you a letter of recommendation or serve as a reference.

Sit in the Front

When you sit in the front of the classroom, you will be more likely to focus on the lecture than sitting in the back of the room.  You will also be more likely to participate in class discussions. 

Avoid Cram Sessions

A common mistake college students make is cramming the night before a test, midterm, or final exam.  This may have worked in high school, but this won’t cut it in college.  It is practically impossible to learn an enormous amount of information in a short period of time.  The best way to study for an exam is to do a weekly review.  Pick The Brain blog suggest that students should review their notes at least once a week starting from the beginning of the course for at least 15 to 20 minutes.  This will help you build familiarity with the material. 

Take Advantage of Office Hours

If you  have questions about the lecture, reading assignment, or homework it is a good idea to ask your professor after class.  However, if you are unable to stay after class or your professor is unable to answer your question within a few minutes; don’t be afraid to visit them during their office hours.  By having this one on one meeting, this enables your professor to ask questions you may have; or discuss any problems you may be having in class.  As a former college student, I have found by taking a few minutes from your schedule to visit  professors during their office hours shows them that you are a serious student.  When professors see that you care about your success in the class, they will be more likely to work along with you. 

Look Back at Your Assignments

Did you keep your tests and assignments?  Take some time to look back at your grades from tests, homework assignments, and research papers.  As you carefully look over your assignments, determine exactly what your weaknesses are.  Did you provide enough details for discussion questions?  Did you make careless errors in spelling, grammar, and typos on your research papers?  The next time you write your research paper, make sure that you pay close attention to spelling and grammar because this will have an effect on your grade.  It is also helpful to get someone to proofread your paper. If you are given an essay or discussion question on your exam, you should make sure that you fully answer the question. 

Study Group and or Get A Tutor

If you do not understand the material, you should sign up for tutoring and or join a study group. If you sense that you are going to have difficulty with a class, do not wait until the end of the semester to get help with your coursework.  By joining a study group, you can compare notes with you classmates and discuss the study guide for the test or final exam.  By discussing the notes, your study group members will have a better understanding and different insights on the professor’s preferences as far as test questions and assignments.

Other Steps You Should Take

Another key factor to improving your grades is organization.  You should review your syllabus on a regular basis in order to keep up with reading assignments, test dates, and what will be discussed in class.  You should also make sure that your supplies for class are organized.  For example, you should keep your notebooks for each class separate and organized. 

Sometimes students may throw away their tests and other assignments thinking that they won’t need them again.  Why is this a bad idea?  If you are allowed to keep your tests and assignments, you can use them to review for the final exam.

By using the above strategies, you will have a happier reaction when you receive your grades and have the satisfaction that you have done your best in the classroom.

Sources:

How to Improve Your GPA.  Pick the Brain.

Fleming, Grace. Improving Bad Grades. About. 

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