Good Grades Aren’t Just for “Smart” People: 10 Study Tips Anyone Can Use

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Whether you’re in graduate school, college, high school, or kindergarten, good grades are an important achievement. For some people, excelling in multiple subjects is easy. For others, it takes a little more work.

But good grades aren’t just for those with a “naturally higher” intelligence. In fact, anyone can get good grades if they apply themselves and utilize the right study tips.

Here are some suggestions for improving your grades.

1. Find your motivating drive.

Most people can do anything if they have the motivation and drive. What motivates your studying? Is it academic prestige? Your parents’ wishes? Impressing a member of the opposite sex? Identify that motivating factor, and use it to create great study habits.

2. Learn how to take notes in class.

Go to as many classes as possible and take diligent notes – the things you talk about in class will be on the tests and assignments. Teachers often test your reading comprehension, so take notes while you read the textbook as well.

There are a variety of note taking methods, including mapping, Cornell, split page, visual aids, and other methods. Experiment with a few until you find the one that helps you internalize the information best.

3. Get more organized for study sessions.

A few people thrive on chaos, but most need organization for more effective and efficient study sessions. A good note-taking method will help with this. You should also have the proper writing utensils and materials on hand so you don’t have to interrupt your study session.

4. Understand what your teacher expects.

Many classes, like math, have black and white answers. Others, like English or history, can have more subjective answers; therefore, much success depends on understanding the teacher’s expectations.

Get to know your professor. Take advantage of opportunities to visit them during office hours or get feedback on your assignments. You’ll be grateful for the one-on-one time as you learn about their expectations for your course.

5. Use your time a little more wisely.

Procrastination is the biggest challenge to successful studying. If you can learn to use your time a little more efficiently, you’ll have a better end result. Here are some suggestions:

  • Start with the hard stuff when you’re feeling more motivated.
  • Take breaks when you’re feeling unproductive.
  • Reward successful sessions.
  • Don’t overwork yourself.
  • Break large tasks into smaller pieces.

6. Simplify the information.

If you don’t understand a certain concept, try to simplify it. There are different ways to do this, but one of the best is applying it to yourself. You might find that learning and doing assignments isn’t so bad when you understand and can apply the information.

7. Find a good study spot.

Much of the success of a study session can be attributed to your atmosphere. If you’re studying somewhere loud, it can be impossible to focus. However, some people have a hard time concentrating in silence.

Find a spot where you can focus uninterrupted. You might also listen to soft music to enhance concentration and keep the quiet from stifling your thought process.

8. Recognize what triggers boredom.

Boredom is another major challenge to a good study session. When you start feeling the urge to play a game on your phone or check social media, it’s a good indicator that you’re bored.

Figure out what’s causing that feeling, and develop strategies to limit it. A good tactic is regularly switching your study material to a different subject. As soon as you start to glaze over, try opening a new book.

9. Write a realistic study schedule.

Structure is very important for helping to maintain focus and breaking up larger projects into smaller study sessions. As you fill in a study planner, make your daily, weekly, and monthly goals attainable. If you try to accomplish too much every day, you’ll lose your momentum and could quit altogether.

10. Use different strategies to learn the same information.

Learning a key piece of information once usually isn’t enough to internalize it. Most people must go over the material several times. One of the best ways to master information is to use different study tactics to remember a single piece of information.

You might read it in the textbook the first time, study your notes the second time, and use flash cards the third time. You’ll find that when you reinforce study material through different means, you’ll be rewarded with more success and higher grades.

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