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Three Top Methods for Getting Better Grades

Three Top Methods for Getting Better Grades

As an educator, I’m asked on a regular basis the questions, “What can I do to get a better grade?”  Although there is no single magic bullet, it has been my experience that there are three things that will increase the chances that you will have the grade you want instead of the grade you have.

First, show up for class!

Well…duh!  Seems pretty obvious.  It is easy to skip a class here and there and never give it a second though.  However, when you miss a class, you miss what your instructor considers material important enough to discuss and lecture about.  Think that a lot of the material might be on an exam coming soon?

While you are there, sit in the front row in the middle of the classroom. Research by Rennels and Chaudhari showed that there was as much as a 12 point difference in the final grade of someone who was sitting front and center and anywhere on the back row. 

Second, profile your professor.

Every professor has a specific personality and a preference for how things are done in their class.  If you have seen on professor…you’ve seen one professor!  Make sure that you understand what is important as it is outlined in your syllabus.  Failure to read AND understand the syllabus is one of the most deadly sins that a student can make. 

Get to know them as a person.  Whether you believe it or not, professors enjoy their topic, but they also have things that are important to them outside of the classroom.  Keep in mind that I’m not advocating the brown nosing method, but speaking with your professors after class or during open office hours can make a huge difference.  Let them know when you begin to struggle EARLY.  Asking your professor for help during the week before finals when you have been struggling since the beginning of class is a lost cause. 

Lastly, use your time cautiously and wisely.

Warren Buffet, one of the wealthiest men in the world says that he owes much of his success to one word…”No”.  According to an article in Forbes magazine, Buffet put forth the following wisdom, ““The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

As Americans, we are afraid that we will miss out on something.  In fact we have an acronym for it, FOMO.  Sooner or later you WILL realize that you cannot keep up the pace without something dropping off the table.  It might be your health, your spirituality, your relationships or your grades, but the body is pretty good at calling time out at the most inopportune times.  Be choosy about what you say yes to.  Not everything is equal.


Brown, Paul B. "Http://" Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 10 May 2012. Web. 02 Dec. 2015.

Rennels, M. R., & Chaudhari, R. B. (1988). Eye-contact and grade distribution. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 67 (October), 627-632.

Published on December 03, 2015

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