6 Tips for Improving Your Grades

My son is in high school and has a long travel day and a lot of extracurricular activities. Some of my friends are in college, many while simultaneously raising a family. These things make it hard to get good grades. Here are some tips from a reader on how you or your kid can raise your grades.

School isn’t easy, whether college or high school. Whether you're in college or your kid is in high school, there are so many stresses. On top of all the peer pressure and social politics, there is taking tests, writing essays, executing group projects and carve out time to study. Then there’s that part-time jobs you or your kid took to support yourself or to save up money for your post-graduation plans. Oh, and what about all the extra-curricular stuff, like sports and music?

It’s a small miracle anyone completes high school or college, let alone with good grades! Yet, if you want to continue on to the higher education of your choice, you need to make sure to keep up those grades.

If you or your kid want to ace your courses, you need a few aces up your sleeve. Below, you’ll find a few easy-to-follow tips for improving one's grades. No one can guarantee that these tips will improve one's marks (every learner is different), but they’ve worked for countless students in the past.

Without further ado, let’s hit the books!

Set Clear Goals

First thing’s first: You need a game plan. Without clear goals, how will you know what you’re reaching towards, and how to keep yourself on track?

For academic goal-setting, follow the SMART method. Make your goals:

Specific – E.g., you want to bump your overall grade average by 10%

Measurable – E.g., you will track your grade average after every successfully completed course to measure your progress

Attainable – I.e., don’t shoot for 100% in your math class; be realistic.

Relevant – Keep your goals relevant to your life, and remind yourself why you’re creating them. E.g.., maybe you want to get into a specific university to become a veterinarian!

Timely – I.e., give yourself a timeframe for achieving said goal(s).

You’d be surprised how powerful goal-setting can be to your overall mindset. Once you have something concrete to work towards, you can really start getting motivated.

Take or Retake Courses Online

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. That’s the great thing about education; it always allows second chances. If your kid is unhappy with a mark they got, consider getting them high school credits online by retaking a course. Or if you want to help your kid graduate early, you can help them get more credits while simultaneously learning in school to increase the number of credits they earn.

“Upgrade courses” are essentially condensed versions of regular courses. You enroll online to retake your course, then go through the material at your own pace with the support of an instructor and online tutors. At the end, the higher of the two marks you’ve received is added to your transcript. It’s a flexible, convenient way to boost your marks retroactively.

In fact, you may even consider enrolling in an online school for your regular courses. Some students find that the self-paced, virtual model of online learning suits their learning style better.

Create a Customized Study Space

One problem several students encounter on their path toward better marks is distraction. How do you concentrate when there's always the lingering presence of something more fun nearby – video games, your phone, etc.

The solution is to create a dedicated, customized study space. Somewhere in the home that’s just for studying. Pick a relatively quiet spot at home (or a library or coffee shop) and remove all potential distractors. Have everything you need close at hand, and make the space as comfortable as possible (not too comfortable – you don’t want to fall asleep!). Set a timer so that you take intermittent breaks and start hitting the books.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

A teacher’s job is dynamic. They aren’t simply there to deliver information and then call it a day. They are there to help guide you through the course material, and part of that means addressing your questions and concerns.

Don’t think of your teacher as an unapproachable authority figure. Instead, think of them as an experienced coach, a resource you can turn to when you get confused or anxious about your coursework. Ask lots of questions, participate in class, and never let yourself skip learning something because you were too afraid to ask for help.

Practice Good Time Management

A lot of the time, you can attribute an underwhelming mark to poor time management. You left your mid-term studies to the last minute, then crammed for dear life the night before the exam. Or you finished writing your big paper with minutes to spare and no time to edit.

This year, implement a time management system. Download a time management app or make use of your school agenda to ensure that everything’s done in a timely manner. Studying well in advance of a test is markedly more effective than cramming. And leaving time for editing a paper allows you to catch errors, reconsider thesis-supporting points, and add some linguistic flair!

Consider a Different Type of Learning

As mentioned above, consider shifting a few of your courses online. Some students really benefit from a self-paced, flexible environment that’s virtually free of social distractions and peer pressure. It can help you tailor your education to your particular style of learning, which may result in better grades (and a happier school life).

There are no sure-fire ways to improve your marks, but with these six tips – plus a bit of effort and determination on your part – you should be in good shape.

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal

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