Everyone wants to succeed. It’s an innate human desire, and we often find ourselves upset or disappointed if we fall short of goals we set for ourselves. Having good grades is a common goal most high schoolers set to determine their success. As I finish high school, I know I’m constantly trying to keep my grades up. Over the last three years, I’ve come to realize you should be proactive to earn good grades. Here are five tips to help you keep your grades up.
1. Stay organized
Having a folder or multiple folders for your tests, notes, and homework assignments is extremely beneficial. Once upon a time, I never kept track of anything. I did badly on tests and quizzes because I had no idea where my notes were, and I never had any of my homework assignments with me. My grades tanked because I was never organized. I learned (the hard way) that aimlessly shoving papers into my locker and backpack is a bad idea and got folders to keep tabs on all my assignments. You can even coordinate classes by folder color to keep better track of handouts and assignments.
Related: Video: 5 Tips to Increase Your Junior Year Success
2. Do what you’re supposed to do
That’s right—do your homework! For many classes, homework is the majority of your grade. It can pile up fast, so it’s crucial to stay on top of all your assignments. Get a planner or agenda so you always know what’s due and when. You can even check off assignments as you complete them so you know they’re done. Doing homework also helps you practice what was taught in class, meaning your test scores will be higher because you have a better understanding of the material.
3. Do what you’re not expected to do
When you go the extra mile, your grades will reflect that—and you can always do more in and out of class. It’s important to pay attention and take notes. Notes should be on important topics, with room for side notes and perhaps pictures that correlate with the lesson (if that helps you learn). Study your notes at home, and use them to help you with your homework. The more time you spend going over the content, the better you’ll understand the material and the higher you’ll score on tests and quizzes. As a starting point, after you finish your homework, spend five minutes going over what you learned in each class that day.
Related: How to Take Better Notes in High School and College
4. Ask for help
If you’re completely lost and have no idea what’s going on, don’t be afraid to reach out to your teachers and classmates. Teachers are there to help you, so asking for a tutoring session or to speak with them after class is completely normal and acceptable (even encouraged!). No one’s saying you have to have an hour-long session or anything—it’s okay to ask them a few questions to clear up any confusion you may have.
5. Understand expectations
When it comes to projects, essays, and any big assignments, it’s crucial to make sure you understand exactly what you have to do. When you have a topic or prompt for an essay, make sure you fully understand the expectations your teacher has. Normally you’ll have a rubric, so it’s important to use it in order to get the highest grade you can. Feel free to talk to your teacher if you’re confused by anything on the rubric. Stay on topic, do your research, prep in any way possible, and try your best. Don’t put things off until the last minute. Try to work little by little so you don’t get worn out, and plan according to your schedule.
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Everything you do, do it to the best of your ability. You can want good grades, but nothing happens until you start doing the work. It’s important to stay diligent with your work and continue to do your best in and out of school. After all, we all want to succeed.
Check out our Majors and Academics section for more study and homework tips.