One sometimes hears on a campus, “I want to make better grades, but I just can’t”. Now this may be true in some cases, but not in all. There is more truth in the statement, “If you really want to do a thing, you’ll do it”. It is not difficult to make better grades – as a matter of fact it is surprisingly easy. What you must have is the right attitude and the desire to improve.
There are several steps to the achievement of better grades. The first is to be interested in the subject being taken. Consider History, for example, as a story of important people and events and not simply as a course baring facts of the past.
The second step is to organize your study time. This does not involve more time spent in studying, but enough time spent in studying effectively. Figure out how much time you need each day to study and do your homework, and set that time aside. Discipline yourself to begin studying as soon as the time to do so arrives.
Thirdly, you must study effectively, so have a place set aside which you think of as a place to study. Make sure it is a place where the lighting is good and where you will be away from distractive noises. Study in a desk chair, not an easy chair, making yourself comfortable, but not too comfortable.
There are three other things you should do to study effectively: improve your reading, improve your listening, and improve your method of preparing for exams. If you really work at these, you will almost certainly be able to improve your grades.
To improve your skill in reading, you must learn to read in order to retain this information and this is so called, “Study Reading”.
There are three basic steps to study reading:
a) Skim through the material very quickly to get the broad outline of discussion.
b) With the outline in mind, read the material one again quickly for understanding. Pick out the main ideas.
c) Read the assignment a third time for the exact meanings and detail, making brief notes to assist you when the time comes for review.
Most of what you learn in school is taught in a class; therefore good listening is an essential skill. The skill in listening is to concentrate on what is being said or demonstrated and to eliminate all other thoughts. You must fill your whole mind with the one subject being discussed if you are to absorb and digest it. Taking notes will help you to keep your mind on that subject.
Preparing for exams is basically a review of all the ideas and facts which have been covered in the subject. If you have kept up and understood the subject, this will not be difficult.
Just imagine your material for study and review the broad outlines of the subject. Then study the specific parts of the subject, reviewing each with care.
Finally, review the whole subject once more to get all parts into perspective. If you prepare adequately, you will have a feeling of confidence when you take your exam which is very important.
Following these steps is no guarantee that you will make “A’s”, but your grades will improve and the rewards you will reap in the future will be great.