Tips for Better Grades
Good grades are important. They enable you to have a higher GPA, give your resume a boost, and open up avenues for recommendations and job opportunities. Good grades also represent something else: an investment of time and effort. But life happens. Sometimes a less than perfect grade reflects a span of time when life just gets in the way. So before enrolling in a class, first make sure you have enough time to study. A general rule of thumb is for every hour of class you attend, you should expect to study for two hours. This is not to say you will need to study that much time for each hour of class each week, but your schedule should have that sort of availability. Another recipe for a lower grade is taking a class without first taking the recommended prerequisites. Make sure the class you are enrolled in is a good fit for you.
Since making sure you have enough time is an important factor in getting a good grade in any class, you should give the class a little test run before it starts. Most teachers will have a syllabus available before classes begin if not readings and assignments you are expected to accomplish during the semester. If there are no reading assignments available yet, the required book will most likely be revealed, as you are expected to have purchased it before the first class. Starting to read the book will get you used to the author’s style and will help you gain familiarity with the class subject. Getting a jump on things can be the difference between playing catch up the whole semester or being ready and prepared for each class. Keep in mind that things can and do happen throughout an entire semester (illnesses, family emergencies, transportation problems, work conflicts, etc.) so being ahead of the reading never hurts.
Always ask about extra credit. Weeks when the class study load isn’t too heavy are a perfect opportunity to do some extra credit if your instructor offers it. Extra credit assignments can often be the difference between letter grades and will also show your instructor your enthusiasm and interest in the class. Many times an instructor may offer extra credit to help the class prepare for its next assignment or to help students strengthen skills needed in the class.
Last, but not least, keep inspired. Inspirational quotes displayed where you study can sometimes get you out of a slump. One of my heroes, Martin Luther King, Jr., had a lot of inspirational things to say about education. Here’s one of my favorites:
“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” The pursuit of knowledge uplifts us. If you think of acquiring knowledge as a lifetime goal, studying won’t seem like an unpleasant task (like having to clean the bathroom, )but a kind of experience you want to have in your life. Everything you learn makes you a more prepared and insightful individual.