This week’s question comes from a student looking for guidance on whether or not they should be focusing on better grades:
I’m majoring in engineering. I’m in my third year. I’m consistently getting B’s with the occasional C. I use a few of the strategies you recommend but I can’t really commit because I think my grades are fine as they are. I plan on just getting a job and I figure my grades will hardly matter. (I’m going to an average school. I don’t expect to be competing for anything too exclusive.) Am I missing something that should have me trying to up my grades?
When you’re in college, grades are rarely a huge concern. As long as you’re pulling in high enough grades, they’re usually not going to end up haunting you. Naturally, if you plan on going for more than the usual 4 years then you may want to worry about them a little.
If you’re competing for particularly exclusive jobs after graduation then you might also want to worry about them. You’ve made it clear that you’re not concerned about that. As far as I can tell, you really shouldn’t stress about the grades you’re getting beyond one reason.
Getting B’s and C’s can be a sign that a student has good priorities and just doesn’t value investing more time in school. If that’s the case then good for you. Those grades can also mean that you aren’t studying great and are comfortable with mediocrity. From your message, it sounds like you’re applying the lessons on this blog haphazardly.
You might have read an article like 101 School Hacks For Better Grades & A Better Life.
Since you’re applying them, I think it’s safe to assume that you’re not particularly satisfied with your grades as they are. Just the fact that you asked this question makes me think that you really want to see your grades go up.
Haphazardly applying studying advice won’t help. In any experiment, you need to control the variables. As long as you aren’t consistent about your strategy, even if you learn something useful, you’ll never even know it for sure.
Outside Of This Example
For readers looking to answer similar problems, there are a few factors you need to focus on. This reader did a great job of focusing on those factors in his question.
Competing for grades should have some productive purpose for a student beyond just looking good. High school students should have some good reason to get good grades. Most commonly that reason is to get into a good college.
The truth is, the difference between a good and a great college is virtually nothing. The difference between a big name college and a no-name college is something. (So, if you have the chance to compete for MIT then it might be worth it. If you have the chance to improve from a small name college to another small name college then it’s probably not worth it.)
That productive purpose for improving grades is powerful. Just having that specific goal can improve your ability to focus and study dramatically.
There are plenty of other reasons you can aim to get good grades but in general, I think it’s much more important to have motivation to learn the information. When you learn the information, grades are just a consequence. If you can find a reason to learn the information, your grades may not always explode up fast but you’ll be much better off in the long run.
So, don’t think in terms of grades if you don’t have to. Just worry about learning the right stuff for the right reasons.
You can study in less than 15 minutes a night. That’s what this blog is all about. Be sure to follow along, check out the archives, and read the ebooks to learn it all.
This is an absolutely essential read for anyone on this blog.
I’m about 4 hours away from something big.
The story began a decade ago when I first started to share my study strategies with other students.
I had figured out the Holy Grail of academic optimization strategies – and every intermediate step to get to it. Using this strategy, I pulled a nearly 4.0 GPA while running a double course load in college – and once I started sharing it.
Droves of them.
And then teachers noticed.
Most of the teachers that were looking out for their student’s best interest got what I was saying and supported the cause. Others… well… not everyone has the student’s best interest at heart.
Early on (even before Smart Student Secrets,) I started writing for average students.
I knew… I was NEVER one of the “smart kids”. I was mediocre at best. And I knew, if these strategies worked for me then they could work for just about anybody. And that’s who I wanted to connect with.
But… There was a problem…
I built an audience giving these strategies away. Sure…
And I’d get messages from them. And we’d talk. And I’d hear their stories.
I’d hear from A+ students that cut their study time by 90%.
I’d hear from B students that took their grades up to A’s.
I’d hear from teachers that were sharing my strategies with their students.
I’d hear from older students how these strategies changed their life.
I love it. I love introducing these strategies that changed my life to other people.
But there was always this… but…
What about the C students?
What about the D students?
What about the students that are currently failing?
Sure… Some would reach out.. but…
They never followed through… They’d take a small step. They’d sign up. They’d learn some killer strategies. Seeing right there how powerful they were going to be…
And then… life kicks in. They lose sight of their goals.
And it’s gone.
Student’s came to this site to improve their life. They see the possibilities. But then… they move on.
In about 4 hours, I’m going to be introducing something – an email subscriber exclusive – that can help change that.
It’s going to make more Smart Students than at any other time in this site’s history.
If you’re ready to take your academic game to the next level – if you want to see it for yourself.
Write your email in the box. Check the confirmation you want emails. Confirm your email. And see for yourself.