⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ How To Get Good Grades

Monday, September 20, 2021 7:16:19 AM

How To Get Good Grades



I did indeed go through a lot of stress how to get good grades high school and put in a ton how to get good grades effort. The how to get good grades to human behavior is experiencing internal satisfaction and maintaining To Blame People For Global Warming relations at their optimal levels. Make a list how to get good grades things you want to avoid doing in the future e. Different functions behave in different ways; the derivative of 2 x 2 is 4 xbut how to get good grades derivative of sin x is cos x. Anki is a good tool that does how to get good grades for you automatically. I think how to get good grades reason this is so difficult in the context of coursework is that students don't understand the root cause of why they've failed. You John Seabrook The Song Machine Analysis ask your teacher for extra credit opportunities as well.

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This is also true in the humanities. When you learn how to write an essay in English or history, look beyond just following the standard essay template given by your teacher. Here's what you need to understand:. Once you build this trunk, the details of how to do this with actual words and phrases will come naturally. If you don't build your trunk, you'll become frustrated with following someone else's instructions without knowing why. When you learn something, really try to ask yourself what the root of what you're learning is.

Once you identify this, the details will come more naturally to you. Many teachers don't teach this way, so it's up to you to do it yourself. When I visualize how knowledge works, I imagine a network of nodes connected to each other. Each node is a unit of information—a math formula, a concept, or a historical fact. When two nodes are connected, I see them as related to each other. Two linked nodes might be the area of a circle and the perimeter of a circle, for example. How I visualize my knowledge: each circle is a concept or fact, and lines connect related concepts. Nodes that are weakly linked and not accessed often tend to be forgotten much more quickly. Intuitively, this makes sense: if a particular concept is related to other concepts, every time you recall one of the related concepts, you'll have a better chance of activating the related concepts.

This then cements all the concepts around. I know this is very abstract, so let's use an example. In US History, you'll learn about three core events: the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and slavery abolishment, and women's suffrage. The brute-force way to learn about these events is to memorize the facts and details for each event, as though each were in its own independent vacuum. After all, you're likely taught and tested unit by unit, so this is the natural way to learn. These unifying themes help you see the patterns among these important events.

When you learn about Abraham Lincoln, you can relate his achievements to those of George Washington, strengthening your understanding of both. Now, these events are clearly tremendously different from each other, but defining contrasts is just as helpful. During the Revolutionary War and the fight for women's suffrage, the main instigators were those being subjugated—the colonists and women. In contrast, in the Civil War, the action was more strongly led by white men in the Union and less so by the slaves themselves. Defining these contrasts still develops a connection among the events, in turn leading to a stronger understanding of both. It also helps you ask interesting questions about why these events differed from each other.

You can see how altogether you're building this interconnected network of events. When you learn world history, you'll be able to fit the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, the end of colonization, and other events into this framework. This rich, multi-dimensional network-building is a stark contrast to the usual way history is taught—as a one-dimensional timeline. The one-dimensional way was how I was taught history and it made history a pretty boring collection of historical facts, which is a shame because learning could be so much more interesting and effective. If you can focus on building a strong trunk of knowledge and connecting what you learn to what you already know, you'll be able to learn much more effectively. If learning is your job, your teacher is your boss.

Your responsibility is to follow the teacher's guidelines and give the teacher what she wants. Your performance will then determine whether you get a promotion an A or get fired an F. This can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. Even though teachers might seem like imposing vanguards of knowledge, in reality they're humans, with ambitions and flaws like everyone else. By understanding how a teacher thinks, you'll be able to customize your approach to the class to increase your chances of performing well in it. This is especially important in subjective pieces such as essay grading, group projects, and class participation. There's a huge variation in the types of teachers you'll have. Some teachers are veterans—they've seen it all and won't put up with your whining.

Others are new—they're still trying to figure it out, really want to do a good job, and crave approval from students. Some teachers are passionate, want to connect with students, and achieve carpe diem moments daily. Others are perfunctory and just want kids to keep quiet and cause less trouble in their lives so they can go home and watch The Walking Dead. Some teachers want lively class discussions and want to see students inspire each other. Others run class like a prison—no outbursts, or you get solitary. The more you understand how a teacher thinks, the more you can give the teacher what she wants. This might sound sociopathic and calculating, but in reality it's a social skill you already use without thinking much about it.

It's also a skill you'll be using throughout your life, from college applications to job applications and work. They chose education as their craft for a reason, usually because they like the idea of inspiring students and contributing to their growth. They also care about the subject matter—if they teach math, they find math interesting. If they teach history, they find history interesting. Grizzled veteran teachers might be disillusioned by this because maybe their kids have historically sucked, but they're still open to being surprised and inspired by the young people they teach.

Most teachers hate students whose sole concern is getting a good grade and who make this desire clear from their questions and behavior. Most teachers love students who sincerely care about the class material and show curiosity. They love passing on their subject matter knowledge to students, filling the jar of the student's mind. One place this is clear is in the syllabi that teachers write for classes. You might not know that AP courses at every high school are audited by the College Board for curricular soundness, and teachers are required to submit their syllabi for approval.

Here's a real example from a teacher for AP English Language:. This lesson plan is an X-ray into the thinking of the teacher; it clearly describes the meaningful skills students are expected to learn, and the teacher's enthusiasm is palpable. While this is probably an example of an above-average teacher, it illustrates how teachers who care really do understand what they're teaching and what they want students to get out of it. If you can prove to the teacher you're learning what she wants you to learn, you'll be in amazing shape.

You are the future, so teachers want to see admirable qualities in their students. You'll be liked if you're honest, take responsibility for your mistakes, contribute positively to the class, and work hard. You'll be disliked if you're sneaky or dishonest, disrupt the classroom, act arrogantly, or blame others for your mistakes. Teaching requires a huge time commitment.

After school ends, teachers have to grade homework at night and plan for the next school day. Some of them supervise extracurriculars. This can mean an effective workday of 7 am to 6 pm. If, instead, you can offer ways to lighten the teacher's load and solve his problems, he'll love you. Understanding how the teacher thinks is critical to getting good grades on assignments, tests, and participation. On a history test, does the teacher care more about the big picture or about reciting minute historical facts? In an English essay, does the teacher care about executing a standard template well, or about having a novel point of view?

What skills and concepts does the teacher really want to see in this essay? If you approach your classes from the teacher's perspective, you'll be able to customize your work to what the teacher expects. We'll talk more about this later. Another significant way this will improve your class performance is to communicate with the teacher more reliably. Given the same issue, you can present it in a way that'll make the teacher hate you, or in a different way that'll make the teacher admire your maturity and resolve. Robinson, I got a B on this test. I studied really hard and some of the questions were unfair.

You didn't tell us they were going to be on the test. Also, I've been really busy with orchestra and volunteering—other students don't have these responsibilities. Is there any way I can get my test regraded? Can I get extra credit? This is nails on a chalkboard for a teacher. You get anti-brownie points. Poop points. I've overheard this often during high school and even in college. I'm not here to ask for more points; I just want to improve for the future.

I feel like I have a problem with the way I'm studying. For example, before the test I felt really confident with this kind of question, but on the test I made this mistake and I'm not sure why. Also, I tried to be thorough in my studying, but I missed the sections that were tested in these questions. Let's contrast the two options. In the first one, you blame the teacher and your schedule, not yourself. You put the focus on the grade rather than the learning.

Finally, you try to get an unfair advantage over other students without contributing anything yourself. This type of response is pretty typical because, to be fair, your goals are really important to you and it's tempting to try to get easy points where you can. Also, you're young and more likely to think the world revolves around you. The second option is a on the first. You put the emphasis on improving yourself, not on the grade. You own up to your mistakes rather than blaming other people. Before the meeting, you've done your homework by reflecting on where you might have fallen short rather than expecting the teacher to fix all your problems while you sit back.

You also make it an open conversation in which the teacher can use her expertise to ask questions and dig more deeply. These kinds of interactions make a world of difference in how teachers perceive you. It's unlikely teachers will actually give you an unfair advantage in grading, but it will make your life easier. You'll be treated with more respect and understanding. Teachers will work harder to help you. In cases wherein you need more flexibility, the teacher might be more likely to accommodate you.

It'll also ultimately lead to strong letters of recommendation for your college applications. Now, I'm not talking about sycophantic brown-nosing. You should be sincere and not just act the part. Teachers have seen a lot, and it's easier than you think to detect insincerity. One common way to sniff out a fake is to ask more questions and dig a little more deeply. If you haven't actually analyzed your test, for example, when the teacher asks you how you studied and what you think your mistakes were, you'll come up short. It'll then be clear you're just mouthing words, and the teacher will lose trust in you. Take some time to think through classes you're struggling in or teachers you don't get along with.

Do you understand what the teacher's expectations are? Why aren't you meeting them, and what can you do to improve this? Over the course of high school, you'll likely spend more than 3, hours on schoolwork and studying. This is a lot of time. This is what's known as "high leverage"—you put in a little to get a lot. When you get into the thick of high school, you start taking a lot of things for granted. Each math homework assignment will take about an hour. Studying for a history test might take eight hours. An essay all included might take 15 hours. Rather than taking things for granted, you should be continuously evaluating whether you're spending the right amount of time on your work. How long is homework taking? What is your time distribution across all the activities that go into doing homework?

Is anything less effective than you thought it was? Can you experiment with restructuring your time so that you get better results for less time? This connects to the "being ruthless with your time spent" point above. Why or why not? I ask my employees this all the time, and while it's not usually strictly possible, it helps illuminate what things can be cut with little effect on the outcome. By going through this analysis, you'll be able to partition your time spent into effective and ineffective components. If you can axe the ineffective parts, you'll save a lot of time without affecting the quality of your work. At the end of this reflection, you might find that there's really nothing better you can do and you just need to keep chugging along. This can be true, but you have to be honest with yourself and give yourself enough time to give this serious consideration.

You should also experiment with alternatives or improvements and reflect on whether you've improved or declined. Remember, there's always a time-quality tradeoff curve. Get the most for the least. Avoid perfectionism. Understand how much you need to do to get a great score, and when each unit of time is no longer returning you sufficient results, spend that time elsewhere. There's homework time and there's relaxation time.

Clearly compartmentalize both. Do not mix the two. You're nowhere near as good at multitasking as you think you are. Focus on one thing, and then focus on another. Recently, I went to a coffee shop and watched a college student at the table next to me try to study chemistry while using her phone. It was painful to watch: she'd read a page for two minutes, get a text, respond to it, and then browse Facebook for five minutes. Overall, it took her an hour to get through three pages. She likely wasn't super motivated to study to begin with hence why I started this guide with that high-level principle , but the bad study habits guarantee she's wasting her time.

Not only was she getting nowhere with her studying, but she also probably wasn't enjoying texting and browsing Facebook all that much either. A lose-lose. If you really have a problem with this, I suggest timing yourself just to see how much time you're wasting. Get a chess clock and force yourself to time yourself when you're studying and when you're using your phone. If you need to use the computer while you work, there are browser tools such as RescueTime that track what websites you've visited and for how long.

You can see how much time you're spending researching and how much time you're spending just watching YouTube. You can also block distracting websites for a certain period of time. A lot of teachers have spare class time or downtime. Typically students just chat with each other until the bell rings. Use that time to do your homework you would otherwise do at night. I remember AP Computer Science was an easy class. I'd finish assignments within 10 minutes and then work on homework the rest of the hour.

In another history class, the teacher's lectures were unhelpful and I was better off just reading the chapter by myself at home. I took that time to work on other homework. Note that some teachers get really annoyed when you do this, so be careful. There's also lunchtime, which is a little less than an hour. Many students sit at the lunch tables and chat until the bell rings. I banded together with a bunch of other nerd friends in the library and just did homework. Every day, this saved me more than two hours of time. When I got home, I'd only have a few hours of homework and studying left, which freed up room for extracurriculars and a few games of Starcraft. This is also partly why I was able to go to sleep before 11 pm every night, even with my extracurriculars.

Now, this isn't the coolest thing to do and you might be afraid of looking like a nerd. But if you think it's a good idea, you generally shouldn't lead your life based on what other people think about you anyway. Procrastination affects pretty much everyone in multiple aspects of life. Everyone knows that feeling of how much easier it is to put off studying for a test so that you can get an extra half hour to watch Netflix. Before you know it, though, it's time to sleep and you haven't done anything. We have an excellent guide on why procrastination happens and how to overcome it , in the context of test prep. I highly recommend reading it.

As a summary, procrastination happens when 1 you feel you're in the wrong mood to finish a task, and 2 you assume your mood will change in the near future. This can lead to a vicious cycle wherein you feel guilty for procrastinating, making it even harder to summon the energy to be productive again. Tests typically make up the majority of how you're graded in a class. Teachers need a way to assess your knowledge in a standardized way that's hard to cheat on, and tests are the best way or the least bad way to do this. Learning how to prepare for tests and how to get great scores reliably is critical to getting straight As. The most important piece to this is understanding what's being tested the "content" and how it'll be tested the "format"—e.

This will directly determine what you study and how you prepare for the test. You likely already know this intuitively—how you study for a math test is pretty different from how you study for a Spanish test. For math, you run through a lot of practice problems. For Spanish, you memorize vocab and practice grammar rules. Step 1: Understand the test content and format Step 2: Define your test-prep strategy, integrating reading, practice questions, and review Step 3: Execute your study strategy Step 4: Test yourself Step 5: Improve your method and go back to Step 3. Even within the same subject, different teachers have different styles. You and your friend might be taking the same course—say, AP US History—with different teachers but have entirely different tests.

Your teacher might emphasize fact memorization and have mainly multiple-choice questions gridded in through scantrons, whereas your friend's teacher might emphasize big-picture concepts and use tests consisting mainly of essays and free responses. The way you prepare for each test is thus very different. Teachers are usually consistent in how they test from year to year, so chances are this year's tests will look a lot like last year's.

In college it's common for professors to give access to previous years' exams as practice tests. Good high school teachers will do this because they don't recycle tests and want to give students fair exposure to what the test will be like. On the other hand, bad teachers will hide previous years' tests because they are lazy, want to recycle the tests, and don't want to give resourceful students an unfair advantage. If you have friends or know upperclassmen who took the class with that teacher, ask if they've saved their tests.

You can set up an exchange among your friends wherein you share materials from classes that others will take in the future. Lazy teachers really hate this because it forces them to write new exams each year, but that's part of their job. Note that you should of course be careful and avoid allegations of cheating. If you're worried about this, feel free to ask your teacher how he feels about it before you try to get previous year's tests. And, of course, don't do anything dumb like plagiarizing someone's essay. Don't be annoying about this. Remember what I said about giving teachers what they want. Teachers often hate the question, "Is this going to be on the test?

If they say no, students stop paying attention. If they say yes, students won't appreciate the greater meaning of what they're learning. Most teachers really do care about how their students are learning and get excited when they see students with a genuine love of learning. A more palatable way of doing this is to be proactive. Prepare a high-level overview of content that you believe is on the test, and the format in which it'll be tested.

Go to the teacher and ask her to take a quick look. Make it clear that you're asking because you care about doing well on the test and you want to understand the teacher's expectations. You might even offer to save the teacher time by circulating this to your classmates so that she won't have to talk to 20 different students about what's on the test. Remember, if you can make the teacher's life easier, she'll love it.

If you do this earnestly and not in an obviously groveling way, the teacher will typically be more than happy to help because it's clear you care about your education. Even if you have zero information about the first test and you go in blind, the second test will likely look a lot like the first one. Halfway through the course, you'll be comfortable with how the teacher thinks and be able to predict the tests with high accuracy.

The worst class I've ever taken was AP Biology my freshman year of high school. The teacher was a middle-aged man who was profoundly uninspiring. Every day he'd turn off the lights, sit in front of the class with an overhead projector, and go line by line through the teacher notes provided by the book Campbell's Biology. He would literally just read each bullet point, add a sentence or two, and move on. He had a monotone voice, and half the students treated this class as nap time though as I suggest above, the smarter thing would've been to work on other homework during this time. Thinking about his inefficacy as a teacher is infuriating to this day. The worst part of the class was how the tests were created. They were entirely multiple choice and often tested trivia straight from the book.

There wasn't really any high-level thinking involved—the only way to do well on them was to memorize each chapter before the test. I remember the worst question was a trivial fact from the caption of an image —I think it was the species name of a bird—that was totally irrelevant to what we needed to know for genuine understanding. He'd just decided it was a good way to test whether someone had memorized the chapter.

This struck fear into all of us. After bombing the first test, I had to change my approach. I started reading every chapter six times to memorize all the details. I'd highlight details like a madman to make sure I wasn't missing anything that might be tested. I'd create my own quizzes before reading the chapter so I could assess how well I was memorizing the details. The key point is that I customized how I prepared to the content and the format of the test. My approach would have been totally inappropriate for another AP Biology class, but it was the right one for this class.

Going into the end of the school year, I had an A and was safe. It took a ton of work but I did it. Unfortunately, the teacher realized that because of how crappy of a job he'd done at teaching, the average grade in his class was going to be a C, and he was probably going to get a lot of hate from parents and the administration. He decided at the end of the year to administer a sample AP test that was entirely extra credit. The upside to this was that the actual AP test was super easy because I had literally memorized the entire textbook. NOTE: This is one of the most important points in this entire guide. I work with so many students who don't understand this and it's killing their potential to improve. If something you're trying isn't giving you the results you want after a lot of trials, it's clear that you need to reexamine your strategy.

If you're cutting broccoli for dinner and you chop off a piece of your finger every night, it's pretty obvious you need to change how you're using the knife unless you love adding iron to your family's diet. For some reason, this isn't as obvious in the context of coursework. If you get a C on a test, you might be tempted to believe that if you use the same study methods but just study twice as hard, you'll raise your grade to an A. If the cause of your poor performance was truly a lack of time, then this can work. You can use my advice above to carve out more time for studying.

But in many cases, this is wishful thinking. It's as though you need to tunnel through a brick wall, and you're trying to get through by pounding your head against it. You're failing to make a dent, but you believe if you pound three times as hard you'll be able to get through it. There's something wrong with this strategy, and you need to understand why you've failed and how you can improve. I think the reason this is so difficult in the context of coursework is that students don't understand the root cause of why they've failed. If you get a B on an essay, it seems tempting to think that you just need to spend more time researching and writing your essay, but really your weakness might be that you just don't understand the teacher's standards and are playing a totally different ball game.

This is why I stress the importance of the high-level concepts above. If you understand that academic success is a combination of multiple factors—motivation, time management, effective learning, understanding of class grading, teacher expectations, and the actual content—you'll be able to pinpoint your weaknesses more effectively. You should treat every evaluation as an opportunity for reflection and improvement. Remember the growth mindset we discussed above. Every disappointing homework assignment and test gives you a chance to reflect on how you failed and how you'll avoid these mistakes in the future. First, you obtain a measurement. This is often a grade on a homework assignment or test. If it's lower than your standards, something needs to change.

Next, you reflect on what happened. Here's a checklist of questions to ask yourself:. This is comprehensive and might sound tedious, but it's critical to improvement. In my experience with test prep, this is often the second-biggest barrier that prevents students from improving their test scores the first is not putting in enough time, period. Sometimes this analysis can be quick—you forgot to proofread your essay and your grammar mistakes got you points taken off. Clearly, next time you should dedicate time to spellchecking. On the other extreme, after a lot of reflection you might not even know where to begin.

Then you can ask the teacher for help. Remember what I said above—if you go to the teacher with clear introspection and questions, this will show you really care about your education. Take notes on this reflection, especially on your plan for next time. Write this down as a commitment to yourself. The next time you have a chance for evaluation, such as a test or assignment, review these notes and implement your plan. In the last stage of the cycle, you get your next measurement. If you improved substantially and met your goal, great work—from here on out, you just need to keep doing what you did.

If you didn't improve or receded, treat your next iteration cycle even more seriously since your situation has gotten worse and you'll need to try something new to dig yourself out of the hole. Do this for every class in every semester throughout high school. After you do it a few times it'll be second nature, and you'll do it without even thinking. As an analogy, this is how you keep your car on the road when driving your car.

You get constant visual feedback on where you are on the road. If you veer to the left, you reflect on this and turn the steering wheel to the right. You do this constantly to stay on the road. When driving, you run constant iteration cycles to stay on the road. When people first start learning to drive around age , they're not very accustomed to this feedback loop. They'll go nearly off the road before jerking the steering wheel back in the other direction. Then, they realize they've gone too far and jerk it too far back. Practiced drivers make significantly smaller adjustments all the time.

The next time your parents drive, watch them. You'll see them constantly make tiny adjustments left and right to stay exactly where they want to on the road. Experienced drivers do this automatically, by habit. In your academic life, you don't want to drive 60 mph off the road. Use feedback to figure out where you are and what adjustments you need to make if you're off track. As a side note, here's a video of teens getting distracted by their phones and shooting way off the road:. I can't repeat this enough: this concept of iteration cycles is vital to your academic success. Many students don't go through this process because they don't realize they need to or don't feel like it's important enough compared to actual studying. In contrast, I would say this is the most important thing you should do after a test.

Between every test you probably spend 20 hours in school and 20 hours on homework. Don't you think it's worth one hour examining your method and thinking about it if you're not doing well? We've covered a lot of high-level stuff so far. We've talked about the foundations of motivation and determination. We've discussed figuring out how teachers think and how to understand how you'll be tested. We've also covered good study habits and how to iterate on feedback to improve your results. Now, let's talk about specific subjects, because how you'll treat calculus is very different from how you'll treat history. Math and science classes are typically the most straightforward classes because the material is very standardized.

If you take AP Chemistry, the tests will most likely look like standard chemistry questions, and the labs will look like standard labs. It's the same with calculus and physics—you have a ton of practice problems to work through in your textbook, online, and in supplementary books. Unlike English-essay grading, teachers can't really get too creative or subjective here. The good news is that you can typically predict with great accuracy how you're doing well before a test.

It's easy to prepare your own practice tests, review your mistakes, and understand where your weaknesses are and how you need to improve. The hard part about math and science is that the concepts build on each other throughout the year. In short, something you learned earlier will directly affect your ability to grasp future concepts. In physics, for example, if you don't understand how force diagrams work, you'll struggle every step of the way through mechanics. In chemistry, if you don't understand stoichiometry and how to convert units to each other, every calculation will be difficult for you.

This doesn't apply as strongly in other subjects like history, which tends to be composed more of modular units. Even though I mentioned above that you can connect different concepts to build a strong network of knowledge, at the end of the day they don't build on each other as much. You might have flunked the section on the American Revolution, but this doesn't strongly affect how well you'll do on the Civil War section. In my experience, math and science teachers don't emphasize this enough. They treat learning linearly, but in math and science it's really exponential. If you don't get it right in the beginning and don't fix it, you're screwed for the year because the teacher has already moved on. So if you get a bad start to a math or science class, you need to double down and repair the holes immediately.

If you don't, it'll only get worse. If you start a class way in over your head, consider dropping to a lower level. Another issue with math and science is that the material tends to be dry since it involves a lot of abstract topics that don't really affect your everyday life. Good teachers will show you how the concepts apply to everyday life. If you're learning about EM waves in physics, for example, you'll also learn how your FM radio works. If you're learning about exponential functions, a teacher might take you through a simulation of compounded interest to show how much money you can make through savings. I once heard a story about a physics teacher who was lecturing and tossed a ball at a student.

The student caught it instinctively—didn't even have to think about it. The teacher said, "What your brain just did is a kinematics calculation. You knew exactly where the ball started, how it was traveling, and where it would end up. That's exactly the point of what we're learning—to mathematically predict how traveling objects will behave. If you lack inspiration in math and science, try to relate what you're learning to the real world and to what you care about. If you're a news junkie, this will help you understand articles and analyses more deeply. If you're an athlete, think about how physics works in your sport. This won't always work and can sound a bit hokey, but sometimes you might be pleasantly surprised.

In my experience the hardest part about English classes is the essay grading. Year by year, the standards you're graded on change, and the teacher's expectations change. Some teachers want you to follow the same formula essay after essay. Others want you to have a "voice" and write with style. I had a frustrating experience in Honors English when we had to write essays about themes of books we were reading. Most people would write something like "the theme is abandonment. Eventually, we figured out that the theme statement was supposed to be a concept that required a sentence to explain, not just a single word.

This requires you to dig a level deeper, something like "abandonment is crippling to a child's psyche and ripples throughout adulthood. In English classes, you have to understand the expectations of your teacher and how he will be grading essays. As I said above, use every chance you have for reflection and iteration. If the teacher lets you submit drafts for review before the final essay, take this super seriously. Give the draft your best work, and if you're confused about any of the teacher's comments, ask about them outside of class. If you don't do well on an essay, reflect on it, prepare notes, and approach the teacher and ask earnestly where your shortcomings are and how you can improve.

There are also solid foundations to effective writing, such as writing a clear thesis, using transitions between sections, employing textual evidence to support your points, and using appropriate and effective vocabulary. How to do this well is outside the scope of this article, but these are concepts you've been taught through much of English and can see every day in writing in publications such as The New York Times , The New Yorker , and The Atlantic. Some classes rely more heavily on factual recall than others do. In particular, I'm thinking about history classes, for which you need to memorize historical events and figures, and foreign-language classes, for which you need to build up a wide vocabulary.

Many students use flashcards for memorization, but they'll use them ineffectively. They'll just go through the entire stack from beginning to end and repeat. This is ineffective because you end up spending the same amount of time reviewing words you already know as you do the words you have problems with. What you need to do is bias your time toward the cards you actually struggle with. The way I do this is what I call the waterfall method of memorization. I describe this here in the context of memorizing vocab for the SAT. You cycle through the cards you don't know much more often than the cards you already know. For long-term retention, there's also a concept known as spaced-repetition learning that spaces out your learning optimally to increase your recall of information.

The idea is that right after you learn something, you should review it quickly thereafter to secure the memory. The next time you review, it can be spaced out further, and the next one even further still. Doing this regularly will lock in knowledge in the long term. This is in contrast to the usual method of memorization, which is to cram before a test and then forget it until you need it for the final. Anki is a good tool that does this for you automatically. Quizlet is another popular online flashcard tool where you can upload your own flashcards or use other people's flashcards. As I mentioned above, try to find connections between things you're learning, and look for patterns.

Connect historical events to each other. See foreign-language grammar rules as fitting a pattern, and notice when rules deviate from that pattern. This will make learning more interesting and help you understand concepts better. This isn't a specific class, but it's a common enough issue that it's worth discussing. If you have a choice of partners, try to choose people who you know will do a good job.

These are people who work hard and care about their grades. Friends might not be the best option if they're dead weight and you have to end up carrying them. Make it clear to the friend that it's not personal—you just don't feel you work well together. If the friend ends up dissolving your friendship because she expects you to lift her up, and it's not because you're being a jerk about it, then the friendship probably wasn't that strong to begin with. If you don't get a choice of partners and the teacher just assigns you a group, you'll have to make do with what you have. Teachers are rarely sympathetic to complaints about your team, and it's unlikely you'll be able to change your partners. If anything, be flattered if you get paired with weaker students—the teacher might believe you'll be a positive influence on them.

Once your group is set, focus on getting a good job done. Treat it with the same care and planning as you would your own work, and don't be afraid to take charge if there hasn't been any action. Here are some tips for dealing with group projects:. Don't get hung up on inequality. There's sometimes that one dude who is a complete flake and never gets his job done, and you end up having to cover his ass. Don't sweat it. Focus on the big picture: your grade.

Redistribute his work to the rest of the team and revise the plan, and once again make sure the team agrees on the overall plan. Yes, the slacker might end up with a good grade riding on your backs, but he's also probably screwed for his individual assignments and for other classes. Karma works its way. If there was anything really frustrating about the group project, you might tell the teacher. As I've said repeatedly above, the messaging to the teacher matters a lot.

The teacher does not want to hear you whine about not getting a better grade because of your team. The teacher does not want to hear excuses. The teacher does want to know of any potential problems and ways she can improve the classroom experience. She was supposed to do her part of the project but dropped out halfway through and we all paid for it. She should get a C and we should get an A. I didn't even want her on our team, but we didn't have a choice. Can I get a better grade? First off, I want to say that I'm not arguing for a better grade—as a group, we all share responsibility for how we did, and we deserve our grade. So here's the story: when we started our project, we clearly divided up the work and everyone agreed on a timeline.

Halfway through at our group meeting, though, Taylor said she was busy with tennis and promised to get more work done. We were all done with our parts and trusted her, which was a mistake. We ended up finding out two days before the project was due that she still hadn't done anything. We scrambled and tried to pitch in, but we were all busy so we didn't produce our best work. I thought I'd share this story with you for future projects in case it's helpful. You should ask for her side of the story if you're interested. This takes a totally different approach.

First, you make clear that you're not arguing for a better grade upfront —this makes the teacher less suspicious of your motives, thereby encouraging her to listen to your story more intently. Then, you present the facts, without emotional bias, and accept responsibility for your actions. You tell the teacher why this might be useful, and you exude enough maturity to suggest that you yourself might be biased so she should hear from Taylor's perspective, too. In the worst case, the teacher ignores you. In the best case, the teacher might reconsider giving the team a bad grade if she finds out how negligent or manipulative the disappointing student was. It turns out the PE teacher gave everyone a set of physical exams—push-ups, sit-ups, stretches, and mile-run time—tallied up your points, and then gave you a grade.

I did pretty poorly on all of them and ended up with a B. I freaked out and made sure I knew how PE would be graded in high school. I ran my little chubby butt off. In high school, they graded mainly on participation and attendance, so I ended up fine. Don't let yourself miss an easy A. Understand how all of your classes are graded, even the ones that everyone thinks they'll get an A in. If you get on the bad side of your orchestra teacher, you might be surprised with your final grade. Again, don't be a jerk about this by marching to the teacher and exclaiming, "I want to know how I can get an A in this class. We've covered a lot already. Here are some last-minute pieces of advice, and then we'll wrap up with some summary points and a checklist for your academic health.

When you get as involved in something as coursework, it can be hard to take a step back and truly understand your shortcomings. An artist might not be the best critic of her own work. If you have parents who care about your success and are willing to help out, send this guide to them and discuss it with them once they've read it. Talk about what parts you agree with and what skills you want to improve. Give them your goals and action plan for your high school career, each academic year, and each course. Inform them about your iteration cycles so that they can contribute new ideas about where you went wrong and how you can improve. More importantly, don't get upset at them and accuse them of nagging when they try to help out according to the way you agreed.

This just makes everyone miserable. If your parents aren't interested in helping, find a friend who cares as much as you do about education and college, and hold each other to task. Even if you feel competitive with this friend in regard to getting into college, you'll likely lift each other to greater heights than where you would be individually. High school can be stressful, especially if your goals are high. Not only are you preparing a strong college application, but you're also navigating the high school social scene, figuring out what you want to do in your life, and navigating your relationship with your parents.

Sometimes all things come to a head, and it can be overwhelming. Recognize trouble signs, reflect on whether they're serious problems, and act quickly if they are. Here are some important questions to ask yourself intermittently:. Are you deeply unhappy? Does every day feel like a slog to you and you're not sure why you're doing any of it? Think about the root cause of this feeling. Maybe your parents are pushing you toward a goal you don't identify with. Maybe there are conflicting aspects to your life—being better at school might mean getting ostracized socially, so you're caught in the middle.

Try to reflect on this, identify any plausible root causes, and take steps to address them. Easier said than done, I know, but you have to start somewhere. Are you getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night? If not, restructure your life so you get more output in less time. Chart out where your time goes every day and every week, and observe where there are possibilities for large improvements. This might mean cutting current activities and refocusing that time on something more helpful to your application.

Is one class dragging down the others? Are you spending a lot of time trying to stay afloat in one class, at the expense of your other grades? Consider dropping the course. The earlier you can detect this problem, the more easily you can avoid getting a permanent "Withdrawn" mark on your transcript. But even if it's too late to avoid this, dropping it is still preferable to failure across the board.

Finally, don't be too proud to ask for help. More people are willing to help you than you think—you just haven't asked yet. If you lack supportive parents or friends, seek help from your teachers and counselors. It might take some time and multiple tries to find someone to advocate for you, but one likely exists somewhere in your world. If you suspect even a bit that you might have mental health concerns, seek help immediately. Again, more people are willing to help than you might think.

The end of each semester and academic year is typically pretty stressful. Instead of a staggered timeline, you'll get final exams in most classes all at once. You might have forgotten some details, but the foundational tree trunks are still around. Preparing for the final is now simply a matter of loading the info into your short-term memory for recall. If you're learning a lot of new material for a final, you're too late. Try the best you can, but next time focus on sustained effort throughout the school year.

As for AP Courses, usually getting an A in class will lead to a pretty easy 5, unless your class is really easy and A is the most common grade. Preparing for standardized tests uses the same skills and principles, no matter if it's an AP test or the SAT. I cover these principles in more detail in my guide on how to get a perfect SAT score. High school is four years long duh. Maintaining high performance throughout freshman to junior year requires sustained commitment, motivation, and high quality.

If you do really well on a semester, great job—take time to celebrate, but steel yourself to do it again the next semester. The good thing is that the earlier you start building good habits, the easier it gets. If you start all of this by freshman year, senior year will be a breeze and you'll be well prepared for college. Notice how most of this guide has been about mindset, your personal psychology, and healthy habits. This forms an effective framework you can apply to every class and semester of school.

Every important concept that got me a 4. Now, the hard work is actually adopting these practices and continuing to apply them through your entire high school career. Looking for more tips for doing well in high school and beyond? We've written the highest quality prep guides available anywhere. Browse our separate guides for each major test section:.

We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:. These recommendations are based solely on our knowledge and experience. If you purchase an item through one of our links, PrepScholar may receive a commission. He's committed to providing the highest quality resources to help you succeed. Allen graduated from Harvard University summa cum laude and earned two perfect scores on the SAT in , and in and a perfect score on the ACT. You can also find Allen on his personal website, Shortform , or the Shortform blog. Our new student and parent forum, at ExpertHub.

See how other students and parents are navigating high school, college, and the college admissions process. Ask questions; get answers. How to Get a Perfect , by a Perfect Scorer. Score on SAT Math. Score on SAT Reading. You can also use apps that lock a phone for a certain time period. Walk around your house. You can also reward yourself for each 45 minutes of productive work by doing something that you enjoy.

Besides, breaking up the monotony of studying will help you focus. Sometimes, group studying can help the members of the group motivate each other and be more productive. If such style of studying suits you, then you can organize such groups or become a member of a group that already exists. You can get together for studying after classes or on weekends. Use one notebook per class and do not let your desk become cluttered with papers and stationery.

Try to clean up your desk regularly. This helps tremendously with limiting distractions. It can be either a paper planner or a mobile app. However, we recommend that you use a paper agenda book so that your phone does not distract you. Write down all important due dates, dates of tests, and extracurricular activities. If you are preparing for a test or writing a research paper, it would be wise to break down your work into small chunks and allot work to a specific time periods. To avoid stress, do not procrastinate and wait until the last night before the test. Make sure that your meals are nutritious, balanced, and varied, because your brain needs fuel in order to be productive. Never miss breakfast before school. Establishing a regular sleep schedule is crucial when it comes to studying and learning how to get good grades in high school.

Try to wake up and go to bed at the same times and get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. Exercise everyday, join a sports team at school, or participate in sports-related extracurricular activities outside of school. Log in. Visit us from anywhere, at any time. Take a virtual tour of the UMass Dartmouth campus.

It's something you how to get good grades for yourself—screw what other people think. I'm dwelling on this point because it's so critical to breaking An Analysis Of Charl Van Wyks Shooting Back from constraints that you place on yourself how to get good grades. Business Administration.