Extraordinary grades are not the result of extraordinary efforts.
Extraordinary grades are the result of intelligent efforts.
Most of the points you score in class come from a small percentage of your work. If you focus on those really valuable parts of your score then you can increase it dramatically without suffering for it. In fact, you might get to the point you enjoy improving your scores.
This is something that most people don’t understand because they’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing it. Most people settle for average grades because they know how to get them. And quite frankly, average grades are painfully slow but almost anyone can use almost any method to get them as long as they spend enough time at it. It’s pretty brainless.
Students that THINK have a better way. That’s what we’re all about here.
1. Reassess Your Syllabus
The least appreciated method of improving your grades is understanding your class syllabus.
Almost every teacher gives students a syllabus describing exactly what goes into the students final score. By understanding what that syllabus means, you can focus your energy on the points that really matter.
I remember I had a math class where homework was something like 10% of the final grade. The thing that made that weird was that homework took me well over an hour every single night of class.
That means, I was spending an hour a night on the class to gain only 10% of the final score in the class. I could skip absolutely every homework assignment and still score a 90% in the class.
From that point on, I cleared up nearly an hours worth of homework every night. I did only the least frustrating parts of the homework and my grade was still near the top of the class.
I focused my efforts on test prep instead of homework. That gave me a huge advantage come test time.
2. Get A Full Night Sleep
Sleep is the thing that most students sacrifice first when they have a big test coming up.
Unfortunately, studies have shown that it’s the area that most students should sacrifice last.
Given the choice between studying or sleeping, you should almost always pick sleeping.
Studying is way less effective when you’re depriving yourself of sleep. And come test time, going in sleep deprived can be a major wild card. Some days is will work out okay but there will be other days it will completely destroy your grade.
3. Study Less But More Often
More studying is almost never the solution.
Believe it or not, most students spend enough time studying. They just don’t spend enough focused time on a regular basis studying.
Long study sessions are massively ineffective. Most students end up doing them the night before the test out of desperation. And some students can still score a reasonable grade with this strategy.
The problem is: this long single-day study session requires way more time than a short daily study session would take.
I discussed the evidence of this hundreds of times on this blog.
Cramming might relieve you of the guilt of not studying often enough but it won’t help your grade enough to matter.
4. Take Advantage Of What You’re Good At
A good syllabus assessment will take you far but there is one more important factor to consider in this equation.
What are you good at?
If you’re really good at writing or math or some specific aspect of a course then be sure to take advantage of it and maximize the points you can get for it.
This can be one of the fastest ways you can improve your grade because you probably do the things you’re good at faster than you do everything else.
And… if you’re good at it then you’re bound to get more points from it.
5. Study (Only) What’s On The Study Guide
Study guides are like test syllabi.
Sure… they’re a little less specific but they can be just as powerful.
The first thing anyone should learn to prepare for any test is the information on the study guide. If your teacher is generous enough to hand you a study guide for the test then it’s just about as good as them handing you the answer sheet.
Some teachers literally write the study guide while reading the test. Point by point they ensure the study guide is keeping up.
When you have one of these teachers, you can spend 100% of your study time on the syllabus and the only points you’ll end up losing are the mistakes you make.
On most tests, it’s not that perfect an advantage. Some teachers leave off certain topics off the study guide.
Despite that, focusing 100% on the study guide will usually be your best approach because those are guaranteed points for the test.
There is unlimited information to learn that’s not on your study guide. The study guide is a virtual guarantee that there is something important to learn.
6. Act Confident
We all screw up in school sometimes.
It’s part of being human. It’s a sign you’re actually learning something. Anyone that doesn’t make mistakes is wasting their time because they’re not learning anything.
With that in mind, you have every reason to be confident.
Sure… I don’t know your specific story but I know a few things about you:
- You care about your grades
- You’re willing to read this to learn to improve them
- You are, at least, reasonably intelligent
- You haven’t given up yet.
The only real failure is giving up.
As long as you’re confident, you never have to worry about giving up.
Not confident? I was that way for years.
The key to solving that is surprisingly simple.
Just act confident. Go through the motions. At first it will feel a little funny but once you get the hang of it, you’re going to start seeing how it sticks.
7. Learn To Study Better
When you learn to become a better learner, everything you learn in school for the rest of your academic career will benefit from it.
A 5% improvement in your strategy will improve your grade (at least) 5% every year for the rest of your academic career. Compare that to learning 5% of the information in a single school subject for one year. One year later and in every other class, it’s not going to help all that much.
Learn to learn better.
My favorite way to do that: read!
We give away free books here at Smart Student Secrets. I highly recommend you give them a read. If you’re really into it then you can join our advanced students.
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.