Good grades are hard to get. Traditionally, it means spending countless hours hitting the books in an isolated library cubicle. In my experience, however, this leads to nothing more than bags under the eyes, a raging headache and a caffeine crash from too many Red Bulls. I prefer the “work smarter, not harder” approach.
Here are my top tips for graduating with good grades and your sanity intact.
1. Surf The Web
Don’t just rely on the assigned materials that everyone in the class can access. Go online to find different perspectives and opinions on class topics. Having something new, fresh and totally different to offer in a class discussion or paper can really make you stand out.
2. Don’t Be a Stranger
Teachers are human. If your test or term paper is graded subjectively, your teacher’s impression of you could impact your grade. Don’t be a nameless face in a lecture hall. Get to know your teachers and show them that you’re making an effort in class and during office hours.
3. Be a Trend Spotter
No, I don’t mean whether knit beanies are a “do” or a “don’t” this year. When you’re in class, listen for key phrases and themes that your teacher repeats often. Chances are, you’ll see them appear on your exam. And if you’re writing a term paper or have an essay test, make sure to use those phrases!
Take a lesson from your old kindergarten teacher and share your toys…or in this case, your notes. Your classmates may have picked up on something you missed. By sharing notes and information, you all have a chance to broaden your knowledge and understanding. That said, if your class is graded on a curve, it might behoove you to be a little selfish.
5. Quit Studying
Not in general, only after midnight. Researchers at UCLA found that students who sacrificed sleep time in order to gain additional study time were more likely to struggle on an assignment or test the next day.