Failing at school? Do not worry, there is still time! Learn these simple steps how to get better grades and you will graduate the top of your class.
Whether you’re a student that’s struggling, or you want to push yourself towards the top of the class, knowing how to get better grades isn’t always easy.
What if you had more time to get work done? What if you could complete your studies quicker so you can have more time to do other things in high school or college? With a few studying hacks, you can improve your grades and social circle at the same time.
Everywhere you look online, you’ll find guides and other advice. The truth is, some of it is good, but every student is an individual and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for anyone.
That said, there are some really solid “hacks” most people can implement to get more done in a shorter period of time. Let’s take a look at how to get better at school without spending more time or energy than necessary.
- Model After Other Students, And Ask Questions
The truth is, the simplest “hack” for your studies is probably sitting in front of your face–your peers. Not any students obviously, but the best ones in your class. Ask the top students in your grade or school–whether you’re striving to beat them or wanting to emulate them–how they study for their exams and prepare for classes.
If you aren’t sure where to start, consider asking people like students you respect in your classes or students that take part in the National Honor’s Society (see more here). You might also ask your teachers who they think would be a good person to reach out to that could help you boost your grades.
Besides just learning their tactics for studying, you may be surprised that the best students also offer to let you study with them or work together, which can be an even more valuable resource. Honestly, it’s never too soon to start networking!
- Organize Your Material
If your goal is to get better grades, you should start by organizing everything that has to do with school. Not only do your binders and notebooks need to be organized, but your calendar, backpack, and even car or study space should be set up in a way that allows you to find things easily.
Items you could consider purchasing to help you stay organized include a new planner, a bigger desk, additional three-ring binders or accordion folders, or an external hard drive to store and organize your digital work. While we’re on that topic, don’t forget to organize your desktop folders on your computer and keep everything organized by class in folders that are backed up.
While there are many different organization tips you can implement, these DIY organization tactics for students are a good place to start.
- Work Against The Clock
Recently, it’s become “hip” to incorporate timed rest and work periods into your work. The research behind this practice may explain why. We’re finding that people are able to better recall the material they look at when they time their efforts and build breaks in.
Why? Because the brain ebbs and flows, just like our days do. If you push yourself to the breaking point for hours on end, eventually your brain doesn’t work at an optimal level that allows you to absorb new material. By timing your study sessions, and building in breaks, you’re giving your brain a better chance to remember what you put in it after only one glance.
Of all the timed techniques, the Pomodoro method has probably become the most popular in terms of college or high school life hacks. Here’s how it works:
Set a timer for 25 minutes. Study for 25 straight minutes, and then when the timer goes off, take a 5-minute break. Be disciplined about the break by walking away from your work materials and actually disengaging for a bit. Or do something fun and relaxing like color for a few minutes.
People who use the Pomodoro technique find that 25 minutes is enough time to feel the “pressure” of the clock winding down, but also enough to get some work done. 5 minutes is enough time to detach, walk away, send a few text messages, then get back to work.
Repeat the Pomodoro technique for a set amount of cycles (i.e. 4 in a row) or until all your work is done. You may consider setting it for 30 minutes and breaking right at the 25-minute mark, too.
- Change Up The Scenery
Where do you do your best work? If you don’t have a concrete answer in mind, this is an easy “hack” for your studies to figure out.
Some people like a quiet setting, like the library or their bedroom. Others prefer a slightly chaotic scene like a coffee shop, where they can feel energized from other people.
Here are some of the most popular places to hit the books:
- Coffee Shop: Most of them offer WiFi these days, and even if one doesn’t, there’s surely a Starbucks nearby that does.
- Library: Some people like studying in the library for the quiet atmosphere. Others find that being surrounded by other people getting work done motivates them to do more and not get distracted.
- Park: If it’s nice out, your studies might seem a little easier if you can catch a tan or throw a frisbee in between Pomodoro sessions.
- Home: If you are in high school, it’s easy to study at home and simply let your family know you need some quiet. But this might be difficult in college if you live in a dorm full of noisy people.
Wherever you choose to study, try to change it up every so often. Your productivity will benefit as a result!
The next hack has less to do with your actual studying methods, and everything to do with the person that will be studying. We’re talking about exercise, of course!
Yes, you’ve heard that exercise is crucial for a healthy body or skipping out on the Freshman 15. But did you know that regular exercise changes the brain and can make it a more efficient machine for studying?
Not only can exercise actually improve your body’s ability to retain information, but you will also be less stressed, have more energy, and maybe even be more confident or happy with yourself simply because you hit the gym or go for a run a few times a week.
Seriously, don’t knock exercise. When it comes to studying life hacks, it might be the best one available to you, and it doesn’t take much more than a little determination to fit it into your busy schedule.
- Reward Yourself
Yes, your goal is to make your brain into the best “sponge” it can be, so you can retain all the information you can. That, you think, is how you’ll be the best student you can be.
This is a noble idea, but keep in mind that the brain works in a lot of different ways. If you’re truly going to become a great student and graduate at the top of your class, you need to figure out how to make this habit stick– and one way is to reward yourself when you do a good job.
Research shows it can take anywhere from 21 days to 2 months for a habit to actually stick.
One week of studying may help you ace a test, but if you want to graduate at the top, you’ll need to find a way to make this a part of your lifestyle.
Here are some ideas for rewarding yourself for your studying efforts:
- Keep your favorite snack on hand for when you finish studying or a set amount of Pomodoros
- Buy yourself a coffee or specialty drink on your way home from a study session (or to get yourself through one!)
- Invest small amounts of money ($1-5) in a jar. Each time you follow a study habit (i.e. study for 1 hour), add this amount to the jar. Over time, you can save that money up for a trip or something big.
In the short or long-term, it’s important to acknowledge yourself for your efforts so that you don’t feel like everything you’re doing is forced. You’ll be happier and feel more connected to the work you’re doing with little rewards along the way– and may be able to focus better, too.
How To Get Better Grades: Wrap-Up
The truth is, there are a lot of “how to get better grades” and study hack guides available. Every student is different, so it’s up to you to find something that works.
If your goal is to graduate at the top of your class or simply boost your grades, some fool-proof methods include modeling, rewarding yourself, exercising, working in different places, “timing” your efforts, and being organized always.
Check out our holiday gift guides for ideas for the hard studying students in your life. Thanks for reading!