7 ways to get good grades this school year

It's all about strategy

By Gabriella Nuñez - Multimedia Producer

ORLANDO, Fla. - The new school year is a new opportunity to start fresh, and that means a clean slate to try to get straight A’s. 

But maybe long division is hard to understand, or the idea of reading a 3,000-page novel sounds harder than juggling. If you’re in school, you’ll likely have to do work you’re not excited to do, but still have to get done.

Here are seven tips to help you, or your student, get good grades this school year.

1. GET ORGANIZED

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Agendas, flow charts, cellphone reminders -- if you need it, use it. 

Point is, you need to keep track of what’s due and when, so you don’t miss a deadline. Even if you’re a parent, write down your child’s project deadlines. It’ll help hold them accountable and teach them good practice, and the “surprise project” is least likely to stress you out when they remember it’s due. 

To-do lists can also be your best friend, especially if you’re not a fan of carrying around agendas. Getting a dedicated to-do list notebook is good practice, so you have all your lists in one place. Studies show tasks we haven’t done distract us and can cause anxiety. Just making a plan to get them done can help relieve stress and lessen the anxiety to get those jobs done. 

2. KNOW YOUR LEARNING STYLE

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Maybe you thought just reading your textbook over and over again would help, but you’re still not getting the test scores you want. 

Fact is, you might not be that kind of learner.

Certain techniques don’t work for certain people. Some people learn with their hands, others with repetition. Some people need to see it to understand it. 

You can take this quiz to know your learning style and check out this guide to find strategies that align with your learning style. Heads up for parents, this quiz also applies for children ages 8 and up.

3. TAKE GOOD NOTES

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(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Studying and note taking go hand in hand. If you’re bad at one, you’ll likely not be so great at the other. 

Note taking is a lot like learning, there’s a strategy and style to it. You can explore note taking strategies or figure out what strategy is best for you here

Once you learn your style, learn the best way to go over your notes. That could be either by highlighting, using colored pens or even rewriting them. Just find your groove.

4. GET TO KNOW YOUR TEACHERS

It may feel weird at first but talking to your teacher has its perks.

By developing a relationship with your instructor, you’ll get a gauge of their teaching style and what they find important. It’s also beneficial because they’ll get to know you and maybe the topics you’re struggling with. They can help you develop study strategies or offer helpful tips ahead of time. 

At the end of the day, teachers do care and want you to do your best. They’ll help you get the grade if you put in the extra effort.

5. PARTICIPATE IN CLASS

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(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Participate, ask questions and volunteer.

By being active in class you’re openly showing interest in the lessons. Beyond interest, you’re creating memorable moments by engaging with the topics you might be tested on. Maybe you didn’t remember that math problem on page 23 of your pre-calculus textbook, but you may remember solving it on the white board Tuesday in fifth period with your classmate’s help.

By actively asking questions in class you’re also supplementing your notes and understanding on topics you might not fully grasp. Extra information can help massage out any confusion you have later when you’re ready to study by yourself.

6. GET A STUDY BUDDY

Happy young university students studying with books in library. Group of multiracial people in college library.

Are you a lone wolf or a chatty Kathy? 

Either way, you may want a study buddy to talk through tough topics with. The benefits of a study buddy are beyond those of a fellow homework-doer. 

Study buddies can help keep you accountable to make sure you finish any outstanding projects, help check your work or even be a sounding board for when you’re confused. 

Science shows that studying with a buddy also helps students engage with their schoolwork more and find more interest in it. There seems to be a positive relationship between study buddies and good grades, too.

To be honest, sometimes you just need the company to get through a boring assignment.

7. ASK FOR HELP

After you’ve figured out your learning style, your note-taking strategy, got your schoolwork organized and picked out a study buddy -- you might still need some help. 

Ask for it. 

Schools and learning programs, as well as the Internet, have tons of resources to help get you through any topic you may have to tackle in class. You won’t know what’s out there unless you ask. 

If you have any other tips to get good grades, feel free to leave your advice in the comments.

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