Success in college isn’t just measured by good grades, but for some students a 4.0 GPA is an important graduation goal.
We found a Quora thread that offers some guidance for those striving for top grades. You can check out the full discussion here, but we’ve pulled out some of the best advice below:
Ask questions, even if you look like an idiot— It took me a while to swallow my pride and speak up, but I’d rather get the added knowledge than ‘look cool’. And the joke’s on those who look down on this — I get the A and they don’t.” —
“Review the material before you sleep. Every night, 1-1&1/2 hours before I sleep, I review all the material that is going to be covered on any upcoming quiz or exam. Research shows that if you study right before you sleep, you’ll have a greater retention rate.” — Meera R.
“I had the sense to drop the class I was doing poorly in. I gave up my goal of a double major in Communication and French when I hit the barrier that was French 301. I had never dropped a class in my life and I couldn’t achieve the major without it, so that was a huge decision, but the best I could have hoped for was to pass with a D and more likely I would have failed altogether.” — Heidi M.
“Avoid all-nighters.Schedule study/homework. — Unless you really really have to, all-nighters are bad news. Look closely at your schedule of classes and work, and find little gaps where you can go to the computer lab or library or quad or student center and do some work. You can spend just as much time on homework as the kids pulling all-nighters without staying up past midnight. Also, its best if you figure out what bits of your homework you can do where, and always have something quick and easy you can pull out if the opportunity presents itself.” —
“Triage — Prioritise your work. What is due soonest? What assignments have the highest points to difficulty ratio? Is an assignment both hard and worth a large percentage of your total grade? Start it early. What can you get away with doing at the last minute (sometimes during other classes)?” — Anonymous
“Know your basics. For the Maths/English courses, make sure you know all of your basics. Know the commutative law and all the prepositions. I can’t stress how important it is to have a strong base, or else you fall behind not only in the class, but several classes behind. You might think that those basics aren’t that important, but if you know your basics then the difficult topics won’t be that bad.” — Meera R.
“Don’t take extra ‘GPA boosters,’ or classes that you aren’t really interested in but are only taking it for a GPA boost. Chances are, you will not want to spend a lot of time in this class and may not end up with a good grade. It’s better to take less classes and just focus more on getting better grades in those classes.” — Anonymous
Make friends with someone in each class who is smarter than you(not as smart or less smart, but smarter) and check your problem sets with them. They can explain what you did wrong, with plenty of time to spare since you finished the problem set early.” — Anonymous
“Carefully choose your instructors/courses: You want the ones you’ve heard are easy and ones that grade heavily on your strengths. Write great essays? Choose courses that grade heavily on them. Suck at multiple choice exams? Skip courses that grade heavily on those.” — William F.
“Take one class a semester that is fun — Usually these can be your general eds or nonmajor requirements. I loved taking a mental break from my major with history or philosophy, for example, and the semesters that I didn’t have one of these classes were significantly worse.” — Anath S.
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