The Road To Good Grades
[Warning - A Very Lengthy Post]
A fellow student of mine wrote this when for my batch when we entered high school, and I thought I should share it with you ❤️ it’s been edited to make it more universal to you guys :D
Intro: Having the Courage to Study.
When we fail academically, we tend to point to two causes: stupidity and laziness. It’s so easy to say that we’re not smart enough, or that we just don’t want to try because it doesn’t really matter. But there’s another factor involved: fear. So many students have the strategy of not studying or not studying properly for an exam. Why? Because if you put low effort into something, then you should expect a low result. So many of us are afraid of trying and failing that we don’t even try. “What if my best isn’t good enough?” We’re afraid of giving our best because once we know our limits, we feel that much weaker. But life in school isn’t about not trying, it’s about accepting those limits and breaking them.To survive and ultimately thrive, you must have the courage to reach your full potential.That courage, that vigor, that strive to be better is what will keep you alive, not just in school but in the real world.
- Sleep and Eat well.
We often lose sleep or skip meals in order to survive the rigors of life.But keep in mind, those choices in the rest and nourishment you receive have consequences. Having the energy to focus throughout the day is vital. Nobody wants to be tired, nobody can afford to be sick.
- Pay Attention in Class.
There’s a difference between passive hearing and active listening. Letting the teacher’s words wash over you like a warm shower is NOT the same as paying attention. Teachers are human beings, capable of expressing emotion and emphasis in their words and actions. There’s a reason why you learn from them rather than from a book or the internet. Catching what they’re trying to say is a skill that takes effort to learn.
**The skill of listening is one of the most important ones to develop because a teacher’s words are your last resort in an examination. If a quiz catches you by surprise, your memory of the class is the difference between A+ and an F.
- Take USABLE Notes.
Normally, humans are not capable of memorizing lessons entirely in their head.That’s what notes are for. Keep in mind that notes should be USABLE, they are not things that you make for the sake of looking or feeling productive. Each person has a specific style of learning and their notes should reflect that. Notes that are too long/elaborate, too short/simple, unreadable, or illogical are detrimental. Good notes should be aids in studying, not justification for carrying notebooks.
- Save time by using abbreviations or acronyms.
- Rearrange/reconstruct words or phrases for convenience.
ex. Famous Authors of America –> Impt. American Authors.
- Avoid copying verbatim unless necessary (quotes).
- Write down examples, esp. in science/math related subjects.
- If notes are incomplete, supplement them via reliable sources or your teacher.
There is more to studying than reading/note-taking. Practice is essential. This is especially true for Math-related subjects. Reading your notes before a Math exam is not really going to help you understand the problem or protect you from careless mistakes. The only way to improve in the subject is by doing the exercises and learning from both your success and failure. Memorizing definitions isn’t as important as using them. Being able to analyze, compare, and contrast is vital to survival.
- Review a Little Bit, Regularly.
Slow and steady wins the race. Students tend to read a ton of material before an exam. However, the human mind requires time in order to fully grasp ideas and concepts. Taking 10-20 minutes to read your notes after school daily can help in memorizing lessons, understanding themes, and recalling important points. Taking every subject’s lessons day by day will prevent you from being overwhelmed.
- When reading through your notes, picture yourself in the classroom with your classmates and teacher. The human mind is like a web, connected by images and sounds. Doing so can help you recall things written on the board or things mentioned by the teacher.
- Learn to Plan and Cram.
Working for the long-term and rushing for the short-term are two opposing ends of the spectrum. But if you don’t master both, you will suffocate in requirements.Time and energy are limited resources and the best scholars know how to get the most out of them. You can’t expect to be able to plan assignments weeks or days in advance the same way you can’t expect to make “academic excellence” in 30 minutes or less like a pizza delivery service.
- Periodic Exams, Long Tests, and Projects REQUIRE planning and coordination.
- Teachers can take up to 5 minutes setting up. Exploit the time.
- Lunchbreak, and the 20 minute breaks are the normal “"cram periods”“.
- Don’t Think of Difficulty.
“Easy” and “Hard” are relative terms. They mean different things to different people and ultimately, they should mean nothing to you. Feeling scared of a “tough” exam is harmful, as is feeling smug about an “easy” one. Study well so you can approach every test with confidence. Remember: it’s just as possible to perfect a difficult test as it is to fail an easy one.
- Don’t Compare Yourself to Others.
The world has approx. 7 billion people. There are always going to be people who are better than you at a given skill, the same way that there will always be people who are worse. Don’t consider them. Your life is your battle, and you’re going to have to fight it for yourself. Being discouraged by your friends’ high scores is as illogical as being encouraged by their low scores. There’s no reason to be proud of 1/10, even if it’s the highest score in the whole class.
- Don’t Blame Teachers.
Not all of your teachers are going to be fair or good at their jobs, whether you like it or not. Regardless, you can’t control your teacher’s incompetence or harshness but you can control the effort you put into their class. Read in advance, find other of info sources, and predict their requirements. The odds may be against you, but as a student you’re expected to beat them.
There’s no shame in asking for help. If you have difficulty in a subject, it always helps to consult with a teacher. Not only does it help in resolving any misconceptions/mistakes, it shows that you’re willing to take the time and effort to do well. To most teachers, that spirit is just as important as the final grade. Note: if a teacher knows that you have difficulty in their subject, they’ll probably take note of it in class which may be to your benefit.
- Find Your Own Strategy/Work Smart.
No single study strategy works universally. Everyone has their own specific style of learning and it’s up to you to find yours. If skimming through readings works for you then go ahead. If you’re the kind that needs to take notes, fine. It’s all about working both hard and smart, giving the most energy but finding the most effective way of using it. Humans are creative creatures. You might find that the best solution is one that no one has thought of before.
- Be Liable.
You need to be proactive in academics. Many students have the tendency to be caught off guard by a surprise quiz. They’ll often argue with the teacher, using the retort “Ma'am, you didn’t announce it!” as an excuse. Shaking off responsibility through ignorance is suicidal in this school. If you’re willing to take the risk of coming to class unprepared for the sake of being lazy, go ahead. Just be prepared for the consequences of your actions.
- Keep Moving Forward.
You’re human. Humans make mistakes. Learn from your errors but leave them where they belong; in the past. Everyone wants to get an A+ but you’ll never go that far with the weight of your failure hanging over your shoulder.
Conclusion: Don’t Take Academics too Seriously.
It seems counter-intuitive to end this guide with a statement like “Don’t Take Academics Too Seriously” but it’s something that everyone should remember. No matter no hard you try, you will fail at something. You’ll reach an obstacle that will knock you down to the ground and it will hurt like hell. You need to have something to fall back; friends, family, a hobby, an interest, etc. You don’t want to graduate and realize that you’re only good at earning numbers in a system.You could graduate this high school with the highest average in history but it won’t matter to anyone if you don’t know how you got it. Life is just like math, it’s not all
about the final answer. Your solution is just as important.
**Ultimately, your success as a scholar isn’t measured by a number on a piece of paper but in the difference you make in people’s lives. We’re not going to carry facts and theorems with us, but an attitude of trying to give our best no matter what the cost. That’s the most important lesson you can ever learn in school, but you’re not going to learn it from one subject or teacher. You’re going to live it everyday through every requirement and every grade receive.