The first way you can increase your grades is by reading your class notes every night before you fall asleep. Studies have shown that the brain takes the most recent memories of the day and stores them in long term memory. This means that you will have a better chance of recalling your notes if you study them a little before bed each night. If reading all of your notes before bed is too big of a task, just try going over the last lecture notes in each class every night.
2. Study in advance
I am a firm believer in the power of studying in advance. This is one thing that always helps me to do better on my exams. Whether it’s the hardest test of the year, finals, or whatever, this technique never fails. My favorite thing about studying in advance is that it helps me to become familiar with the notes so that I can avoid late night cramming when the test comes. This girl is not a night person! Studying in advance also really helps to eliminate stress.
When you start studying, you need to make sure that you are actually being productive with your time. Make sure that you are paying attention to what you are reading. Try to keep your phone out of sight and out of mind. Turning your phone on moon mode will really help with this. Remember that everyone’s brain works differently, so, be sure that you are using study techniques and tools that help you. Don’t just study one way because that’s how everyone else does it. Study in whatever way works best for you.
4. Wake up early and make a plan
I know this one is a little painful for those of you who are not morning people, but try waking up fifteen minutes earlier to go through your plan for the day. You can make a list of things you need to do, look over notes, check your emails, etc. Waking up early and making a plan will help you feel more prepared for the day ahead which will then lead to more effective classes, studying, and better test grades.
5. Recite notes out loud
Studies show that reciting your notes out loud helps you to retain more information. Who am I to argue with science right? So next time you study, try reciting your notes out loud. If it appears to help you, then keep it up for future studying!
1. Know what the class consists of before you start the class. Do a little research to find out what you’ll be facing throughout the semester. This way you will have an idea of how much time and energy you will need to put in when the class starts.
2. Check every professor teaching that class on ratemyprofessor.com to pick out the “easiest” professor you can for the hard class.
3. Get the required textbook and materials before the class starts. If you don’t know whether or not the textbook will be used, email your professor (make sure to introduce yourself in the same email).
4. Introduce yourself in person (even if you introduced yourself through email) after the first class privately. MAKE SURE your professor knows your name while you’re in class the whole semester. Otherwise, the effort is meaningless. Professors sometimes curve grades, so if they can identify your name from a list of names, you might be in luck if you’re a point away from an A.
5. MAKE FRIENDS. Specifically the “smart ones” and “my kinda smart” ones. Study for tests and do homework with the friends that are your kinda smart. Then, before you turn in ANY homework, check answers with the “smart” friends. This will usually get you a 100% on the homework section of the class.
6. GET A 100% ON HOMEWORK. Since the class is hard, you need EVERY bit of help you can get. You can do homework with friends, but you can’t take exams with friends. Getting a 100% on the homework and easy work (which is usually around 20% of the class weighting) can turn your high B into an A.
7. Sit in the front row. This way, your teacher knows your face. Make sure you smile when the professor looks at you. The more the teacher knows you, the more likely he/she will want you to get a good grade in class.
8. Ask questions in class. If you think your question is dumb, ask people around you. If no one knows the answer, then that means most of the class doesn’t know either (which means you won’t look dumb in class!) Again, the more you look like you’re trying, the more the professor will like you.
9. Email the professor questions. Again, this just lets the professor remember your name and face while answering your question at the same time!
10. Get the old test material from your friends that took the class before. This will give you extra study material, and you will have an idea of what format and question types your test will consist of.
11. Go to the TA office hours EVERY WEEK (introduce yourself the first week). They can help on homework, projects, concept help, anything! The TA office hours are where you can ask “dumb” questions and have them explain a lot. Since TA’s usually grade, MAKE SURE they know your name and the amount of effort you are putting in. When they help you with homework and understanding, the TA’s are usually sympathetic when grading. (TA stands for teaching assistant)
12. Go to the professor’s office hours when the TA is not available. This way, you have TWO opportunities to get your questions answered: the TA office hours and the professor office hours. Use both.
13. Get your questions and confusions answered ASAP. You do NOT want to fall behind. The class is hard enough already. Here are your question asking opportunities: TA office hours, professor office hours, TA email, professor’s email, after class, before class, during class. There’s no excuse for not being able to understand a concept.
14. Record the class lecture and play it back when you need clarification of what you learned in class.
15. Study in little chunks every couple days (or every day if you can) for the upcoming exams. DO NOT “CRAM”. Cramming will give you stress and depression and will not allow you to ask as many questions to the professor as you would like to when you are confused.