School can be easy and fun.
I know that’s probably not what you’re used to. (It’s certainly not what I experienced most of my time in school. I learned this late.)
This is something that most people around you never learned. They just wish they did. In fact, they know so little about these strategies that they’ll sometimes recommend the opposite.
Today we’re going to go over 7 strategies to make this new school year your best ever.
1. Absolutely CRUSH It Early On
It will never be easier to score high in class.
Think about this…
Early in the year, most of your teachers are going to be reviewing stuff from last year because they want to be sure they didn’t get a class of bumbling idiots. 🙂
(Fortunately for us Smart Students, we benefit massively from being in a class of bumbling idiots. That just makes our jobs easier.)
That means, you probably already know some of this stuff.
If you don’t know this stuff, that’s okay too. You’re going to get the chance to learn it now. Take advantage of it! Buckle down and do whatever it takes to learn it.
Early in the year you get to complete the easiest assignments of all. Most teachers grade tests early in the year and later in the year equally. That means, one point on an easy early test is worth the same as one point on a harder later test.
Get all the easy points. That means you will need fewer of the harder points to do well later.
2. Make Friends That Don’t Suck
People end up like the friends they hang out with.
It’s very likely your grades are going to look similar to the grades of the people you spend time with. A friend that studies will unintentionally encourage you to study.
Parental advice usually includes some version of this that’s complete BS though. I don’t believe in that crap about certain friends being losers.
Your parents might say, “X is a bad influence on you.”
That being said, X is probably awesome (hence you spending time with X.) If X is awesome and you want to be awesome then X can be a good influence.
Just be a grown up about it.
Hang out with whoever you like but understand that they will change the person you are a little. That can be okay if you don’t lose sight of who you are. X isn’t hanging out with you because you’re just like X. X is hanging out with you because of who you are.
You have awesome qualities.
Keep those awesome qualities.
And in the process, hang out with friends that help you make those qualities more awesome.
3. Use Syllabus-Busting From The Start
Syllabus-Busting is a strategy Smart Student Secrets has been teaching the last 5 years.
It’s a simple strategy that most good students overlook and virtually no one else teaches students.
It can be the difference between a C and an A in class. Many good students do this naturally but for students that always have to push themselves to succeed, this can be a life-saver.
Most teachers provide a syllabus that shows you exactly what you need to do to win in that class.
It will show you the grading policies:
Is there any part of the class worth a ton of the grade?
Focus on that!
Is there any part of the grade that isn’t worth much?
Don’t worry so much about that.
It will show you the class attendance policies:
Are you graded on attendance?
If yes, always show up. If no, still… you should almost always show up.
Are you graded on participation?
If yes, look for good questions to ask all class.
Questions are an easy form of participation because the teacher has to do most of the talking.
If you don’t have good questions then settle for asking at least one dumb question each class. Don’t worry about looking dumb. That’s what participation points require sometimes.
(And if participation is worth a good chunk of the grade, write down everytime you “participate.” At the end of the year, you can bring this list and ask why if you get anything less than perfect.)
It will show you the late work policy:
Take advantage of generous late work policies!
If late work is accepted with only a few points lost then this gives you an awesome opportunity.
When multiple assignments are due on the same day, you do the assignment with the bigger late work penalty first. (That is, assuming they’re worth the same points total.)
4. Keep Your Teachers Happy (Or Ditch Them!)
Happy Teachers = Happy Life
If your teachers like you then you’ll do better.
If your teachers don’t like you then, most of the time, you’ll suffer the consequences.
(And nobody likes a suck up, so avoid that.)
Objective grading is a myth in just about every subject.
It’s impossible for a teacher to grade your essay or written answer without basing part of that grade on who you are. And they will usually admit this for good students.
Teachers will say stuff like, “I grade you harsh because I know you can do better…”
You’ll do better assuming teachers aren’t at all objective.
Don’t argue with your teacher. Don’t outsmart your teacher (even if you’re right.) Don’t be rude to your teacher. And if you’re really looking to push your grades up: like your teacher.
You don’t have to buy them apples or tell them they’re the greatest teacher in the history of the world. In fact, the teacher will probably just dislike you after that because most will see right through it.
Be polite. And maybe learn to like them.
They’ll like you well enough that this will never be a handicap.
5. Create A Study Ritual
Study at the same time everyday.
This seems harder at first but it will be easy.
You learn more in short, daily, and habitual study sessions.
Long cram sessions don’t work. Scientists have been proving this repeatedly over the last few decades. It’s one of the most studied psychological phenomenons in recent history. What you learn at the beginning and end of each session is learned significantly better (Von Restoroff.)
More sessions = better
Doing something daily is way easier than doing it any other way. Daily is a habit that you never have to think about. When it’s time, you study. You don’t have to look at the calendar. You don’t have to look at what day the test is. You don’t have to do any extra work. It’s just studying.
Daily studying = better
Habits let the brain work at peak efficiency. When you do the same thing at the same time daily, your body will adjust by providing the hormones you need when you need them.
You know that, “I don’t feel like studying” feeling?
That doesn’t happen when you’re studying habitually.
Sure… the first day you study you get that feeling. The second and third day you get it too. A week or two into your habit, your body is adjusted and ready to learn everything.
Habitual studying = better
And this will help you learn everything in dramatically less time.
Studying this way takes a tiny fraction of the time and you can expect your grades to go up for it anyway.
6. Join A Study Community
Habitually spend time with a group that cares about studying.
This is important.
The key to getting good grades and enjoying the process is becoming the kind of person that gets good grades.
As long as you spend all day with people that don’t value grades, you’re not going to feel like your grades matter.
If you spend time with people that understand the value of good grades then you’re going to learn more effectively.
You can sign up for Smart Student Secrets Exclusives for free down below this post (and get your free book.) You’ll get regular reminders of how important your grades are.
You can just find a local group of friends that care about grades. One way to find this group of friends is by sharing articles like this one. The people that talk to you about it care about the subject.
Find a way to give yourself regular reminders.
7. You Don’t HAVE To Go. You GET To Go.
If you wanted to quit school. You could. You’re smart enough to figure it out. You’ve read quite a long article here. That’s a sign you’d probably do okay in life either way.
(I don’t care what the law says. If you wanted to stop going to school, you could still just stop going. You’re not being chained into the classroom, right?)
You don’t have to go to school.
Going to school is smart.
It’s a free way to join a community and get an education. There are certainly flaws with the system but the choice is always there for you.
Never lie to yourself and say: I HAVE TO GO!
That’s a blatant lie.
It’s a lie that poisons the way you think about school. It makes you a victim of circumstance and puts you in a chain of your own making.
If you say this then no one can blame you for not caring about school. No one cares about the things they’re being forced to do.
But you are making a choice to go.
That means: You GET To Go!
This is an opportunity and you’re being smart enough to make the best of it.
This gives you the choice to focus on school. You’re choosing to be there, so why wouldn’t you choose to focus on doing well?
It’s a waste to choose to go to school and not make the best out of it.
You’ve made an awesome choice. So now is the time for you to make the best of it.
Bring your grades and your life up to the next level.
Aaron Richardson took his grades from fighting F’s to Easy A’s. In the process, he read over 300 books on personal development. Today he’s founded 2 blogs on studying including Smart Student Secrets. He’s written 3 books on the subject. His work has been featured on some of the biggest news, psychology, and student sites on the internet.
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