Published by the Counseling and Development Unit, SSSD UTP (Issue 5)
Prepared by: Hj. Abdul Jalil Abdullah
How To Make Good Grades
While there are no quick-and-easy ways to make good grades, there are some techniques that can help you become a better student.
1. Show Up to Class. One of the most important tips I can provide you with is to just show up to class. When I am in school, I am always surprised at how many people in my classes simply don't show up. They are still taking the class, but they usually show up for exams and a random class here and there. Then they spend the few classes they do show up to copying notes from a previous class! And then they wonder why they fail!
2. Be Prepared for Class. It took me awhile to figure this one out. You should always be AHEAD of whatever is being covered. You want to read the material before you go to the class covering it. This way you will know exactly what the professor is talking about and you will be prepared to ask questions about anything that you don't understand.
3. Speak Up. If you have questions about something, ASK. That's what you and the professor are there for. Asking questions shows that you are interested in learning the material. It shows that you are taking the time to understand it. This looks wonderful to professors. Even if you are having trouble with the material, showing an honest interest in learning it impresses the professor- and might even provide you with a little extra credit when it comes to grading your work.
4. Take Notes. Listen. Most professors stress the most important terms and concepts in some way. The goal with note-taking isn't to write down everything that is said- it is to write down the most important parts. (See tips on taking notes- link below)
5. Study. Learning should extend far beyond the classroom. For every one credit hour of college, you should expect to spend two to three hours studying. Develop good study habits, such as studying at the same time every day, and setting aside an area just for studying.
6. Get a Tutor. If you are really having trouble with a subject, don't be afraid to get a tutor. Most schools will also have a study lab where you can get questions answered by other students who understand the material a little better. If you know beforehand that you are going to have a hard time with a class, go ahead and line a tutor up. Cover some material before you even go to your first day of classes.
7. Get Involved. Do what you can to make the material as interesting as you can. The more interested you can get in a topic, the better you will try to learn it. I've always found it useful to try to apply whatever I am learning to something I already know, or already know how to do. If we cover relationships in a communications class, for instance, I think about how what we are talking about relates to myself and a relationship I have now or have had. If I'm doing a word problem in math, then I'll change the terms to something more interesting to me.
8. Teach Others. One of the best ways I have found to retain knowledge is to teach it to others. Teaching others will give you a deeper, more intimate understanding of the material, and will reinforce what you already know.
Tips to prepare for an exam
1. Spend time practicing and studying as early and as much as you can. Setting aside a certain time each day is best.
2. Force yourself to spend small increments of time studying every day for at least one week fore the exam.
3. Take advantage of all pretest material you lecturer makes available. They know what they are going to test you on and should be giving you information to use accordingly.
4. Attend any available review sessions even if you feel you don't really need it.
5. Plan your week before the exam to be sure you have plenty of time to study. Take time off of work the few days before your exam to allow extra time to study.
6. Sleep well the night before the exam and get a full eight hours.
7. Eat a good healthy breakfast the morning of your exam. This will help you wake up and get your brain moving.
8. Cram as much as possible the day of your exam to solidify any final ideas.
9. Ask your lecturer to clear any uncertainties you have before the exam.
10. Do your best on the exam and do not put too much undue pressure on yourself to perform. You worked hard to get this far and can only do your best.