Career Advice - A Community Blog

Erik Larson writes about the job market, resume improvement, and career advice

10 Study Hacks to Improve Your Grades

Written by Erik Larson, Community Blogger | Oct 30, 2017 5:47 AM

Getting good grades can positively affect your life in numerous ways. However, for some people, it's not as easy as it is for others. If you struggle and still don't get the grades that you want, try these 10 study tips to help improve your grades.

1- Go to every class!

This might seem like obvious advice, but you'd be surprised how many people let their grades skip because they don't attend class. Even lecture classes without attendance will guide you on homework and quizzes if you just show up. If you can't get up for early classes, suck it up until you can schedule your classes for later next semester. Get up, get some coffee, and be present

2- Take good notes

You need to give yourself proper material to study from. When in class, be sure to take the best notes possible. Listen for tips and tricks that might not be in the source material. Write down anything the professor might say about the test or the exam to help you study wisely. Also, print out the lectures if possible. If it's not possible, record the lectures while so that you can listen to them later and spend your time in class taking valuable notes instead of writing down the entire lecture. There are even services to help transcribe lectures for you later. Check out academic transcription services here. 

3- Turn off the television

When you're studying, you need to eliminate as many distractions as possible. Television is a proven distraction that will prevent you from devoting your full attention to the material you are studying.  Turn off the television, the video games, and the music. Save that for a reward once you've learned the material. Studies have shown that roughly 1/3 of students watch television while studying. Don't be one of those students!

4- Give yourself small breaks

Distractions will prevent you from learning material, but it's also important to give yourself small fifteen minute breaks every couple of hours to give your brain a rest. After two or three hours of studying, so get a snack or take your dog for a walk. Studying without breaks can start to diminish your ability to retain information.

5- Utilize the resources available

Too often, students don't take advantage of the tools right in front of them. Does your professor or somebody in class hold study sessions? Are there suggested readings that aren't necessarily part of the curriculum? Does the school have tutors available in the subject? Actively search for help, and you will usually find it.

6- Avoid studying the night before

Almost all of us have been in the situation where we forgot (or chose) to leave studying for an exam until the night before. No matter how smart you are, this is simply not the best way to study. Give yourself plenty of time before an exam to examine the material. Crashing for a test the night before makes it much more difficult to retain the information.

7- Get sleep

Being tired because you studied all night is not going to help your grades. When tired, you may make simple mistakes that you might not have made if you had gotten some sleep. And you definitely don't want to fall asleep during the test or miss your exam! Plan accordingly so that you can get an appropriate amount of sleep before your big test.

8- Study with friends

Having other people around can help you guys bounce ideas off of each other. It also dedicates a certain amount of time to studying. Make sure that you study with friends who want to actually study, and never rely on a study group to be your only way of studying.

9- Stay organized

When you have your study materials organized, you won't lose time by trying to find specific materials. When you stay organized, you stay in control. Keep your study space uncluttered, and you will also eliminate possible distractions.

10- Maintain a positive attitude

One of the biggest mistakes people make is giving into a negative outlook. Some people get nervous about big tests or are worried because of past failure. Don't be anxious or sad. If you are, remind yourself that a positive outlook can make things significantly better and help you relax.

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