10 Secrets to get better grades!
Not everyone knows how to excel in school right away. Often it takes time, energy, and a few bad grades to figure out how to ace your way through school. Some people believe that they weren’t meant to study and “can’t” do it effectively. But despite what many people think, anyone can learn how to study! You just need to figure out what works for you. Instead of making you suffer to figure out what works, we at BYU Independent Study have compiled together 10 secrets we have learned over the years to help you master school and get better grades.
- Know your learning style
Study smarter not harder! Everyone learns the best in their own way whether that be by seeing, hearing, reading, experiencing, or a mixture of these. Most people fall under the “Vark Model” … Visual, Auditory, Read & Write, or Kinesthetic learning styles. Once you figure out you’re learning style you can become much more productive and effective when you study. Take this quiz to figure out your learning style!
- Get organized
One great way to get organized is by making a weekly timetable and writing in when you are going to sit down and study. Sometimes it can be difficult to stick to a schedule if it isn’t written down… so instead of saying to yourself “I’ll probably study around 3 today” write it down on your calendar!! It’s so much easier to stick to something once you’ve written it down and set a specific time for it.
- Stay motivated
Keep in mind WHY grades are important. Students that typically do well in school do well because they are intrinsically motivated. They know why they need good grades and are chasing after their dream, not necessarily the letter grade that ends up on their report cards. You don’t have to know exactly what you want to do, just get motivated by knowing that with good grades there will be so many more doors open to you. One way to do this is by asking yourself “What do I see myself doing in 5-10 years?” It’s easy to get caught up in the moment, but by looking to your future you will motivate yourself to turn off Netflix, get off the couch and get cracking on the books!
- Find a study group
Studying can be incredibly boring… especially during a test week. One way to spice it up is to study with a group! Group study is great because it encourages you to think out loud which can often help you remember information on test day. Students in study groups are also less likely to procrastinate. It’s easy to put off studying to the last minute by yourself, but if you have a group relying on you, you’ll get the job done before a last-minute cram session.
- Get a good night’s sleep
There is a certain attraction to the typical “all nighter” cram session. No matter how cool it seems, cramming and sacrificing a good night’s sleep will NOT get you a better grade on the test. One of the best things you can do to improve your grades is getting a good night’s sleep every night. While you sleep your brain moves information from short-term memory into long-term memory. It processes the info you’ve learned during the day and stores it so you can remember better later.
- Do the homework (even if it doesn’t count!)
Most teachers assign daily homework even if it doesn’t directly affect your grade. Some students think of this as a free pass to get out of homework assignments. It’s important to fully understand all of the material, especially in subjects like math and science. Make sure you do the homework so you don’t get left behind. Plus, if you do the homework you won’t have to study as much for tests!
- UNDERSTAND the reading
There’s a difference between reading it over and actually “getting it”. It’s important to actively absorb the information at you read, not just skimming it and hoping it’ll stick. One way to make sure you’re understanding it is after each section look away from your book and repeat the main information back to yourself. Don’t move on till you have all the information down!
- Make Mnemonics!
A mnemonic is a simple trick you can use to remember information easier. For example to remember the colors of the rainbow people use “Richard of York Gave Battle In Vain”. The “R” represents red, the “Y” represents yellow, etc., (you get the idea). Mnemonics are a way of remembering using association which can be easier than remembering the information by itself.
- Study Between Tests!
Try and make a habit to go over the material you’ve learned once a week. Then, a week before the big test, study one hour a night to make sure you’ve retained the material. By the time the night before the test comes, you’ll be ready to go and get a full night’s rest (which according to secret #5 is one of the most important things you can do).
- Be confident!
Everyone can improve in school, it just takes a little time and effort to really see changes. Be confident in yourself and your ability to learn and you’ll see improvement! Even if you aren’t confident, faking it often makes it real over time.