Achieving straight A’s can be difficult, especially if you are just beginning your college journey. It takes time and practice to develop effective study habits, but once you master them, you will be well on your way to achieving the grades you want.
Developing good study habits has other benefits as well. If you suffer from test anxiety, better study habits can help boost your confidence and your comprehension of course material, which will make timed quizzes or final exams less stressful.
Establishing a study plan that works for you is most important, as everyone finds success in different ways. Once you find what works, it can truly be a game-changer.
Here are some tips for studying like a straight-A student:
1) Don’t procrastinate
Starting your assignments in a timely fashion is a simple and effective way to achieve higher grades. Procrastination is a bad habit that will make it difficult for you to do your best work. Once you are assigned something, try getting a start on it in the first few days, even if the due date is not for a few weeks. Working on assignments little by little can help break up a major task into more manageable pieces.
2) Ask for feedback whenever possible
Professors won’t know you need help unless you tell them. If you feel stuck on an assignment and need guidance, be proactive and approach the professor right away. The feedback they provide can help you determine whether you are on the right track or if you could use some re-direction. If you receive a poor grade on a paper, you can also talk to your professor after the fact to learn what you could have done differently. You can take this feedback to a tutor, or make a note of the things you want to correct the next time you have to complete a similar assignment.
3) Eliminate all possible distractions while studying
In order to be productive in your studies and achieve the best possible grade, you truly need to be 100% focused on the task at hand. Students that want to achieve high grades remove all distractions so that they are completely focused on their work. Leaving your phone or the TV remote in another room until you finish your schoolwork can make a world of difference in your productivity. That funny cat video will still be there when you are finished!
4) Study for understanding rather than memorization
It can be tempting to breeze through your study materials quickly, but this is not an effective study technique. Memorization may work well for a pop quiz, but it won’t do you much good on a final exam. Most professors care less about the specifics you’ve memorized and more about how you can apply your knowledge to real-world situations. Studying for understanding is a much better method to use because it will help you be better prepared for those more detailed assessments. Creating a study guide is one of the best ways to prepare for an exam and achieve a deeper understanding of the material.
5) Avoid cramming
Cramming the night before an exam is about as effective as not studying at all. If you try and cram a month’s worth of material into your brain in just one night, chances are you will only retain a small part of it. Spacing out your studying is much more effective and will help you to understand the concepts more thoroughly. In a study conducted at the University of California, spacing out your learning was proved to be more effective than cramming for 90% of participants. Studying in advance will also help you feel more prepared for an exam, which will help dull any last-minute exam stress.
6) Ask questions to test your understanding
Participating in class is another great way to test your comprehension of material and make sure that you are well-prepared for an upcoming assessment. Professors are always willing to answer questions and you can learn a lot from the answers they give you. This is also why it is important to attend every class session. There might be important topics discussed during class that are not in the textbook, and you never know when they might show up on an exam.
7) Work with other motivated students
Studying with other students who are as driven as you are can be quite a helpful resource. If others around you are engaging in productive activities, it is more likely that you will feel motivated to do the same. Study groups are also a great place to share ideas with your fellow classmates, learn new study techniques, and get help preparing for major tests or projects, especially if you are all taking similar courses.
Not only will these tips help you boost your grades, they can also help you develop other skills that will be important for your future, such as time management and communication. Even though grades won’t necessarily be a concern post-college, the need for a strong work ethic won’t disappear. By developing effective study habits now, you can position yourself for success both in and out of the classroom.