There is always the one student that seems to have everything going in their direction. In all their classes, they are the first to raise his hand when the teacher asks a question, the one who always gets the highest grades, and also active in school activities while playing baseball in the spring and basketball in the fall.
Here’s the secret to their success: Believing in youself, taking things seriously, working hard, and knowing what you are doing. Here are some steps so you, too, can become a straight-A student.
Step 1: Take the right subjects so school can be easy!
You’re probably not ready to decide on a career. Even if you are, you’re probably not certain exactly where that career will take you. Take as many courses in the subject that interests you as much you can, even if you find them to be difficult. The more courses you take in these subjects, the easier they become—and the easier every other subject becomes, too.
Step 2: Work with your teacher
Every teacher is looking for students who are serious about the subject at hand, who work hard in the classroom and who show progress and ability. Consider your teacher a friend in learning, someone there to help you.
- Show respect and interest. Participate in class.
- Learn their style in the classroom.
- Get to know your teachers as people. Know their likes and dislikes.
- Think of them as coaches in the classroom.
Step 3: Never miss a class
Most test questions come from material your teacher presents in class. Every day, your teachers cover the subjects they think are important for you to understand—some even tell students the specific questions that will be on an exam. Reading assignments alone can’t tell you that.
Step 4: Always sit up front because that’s where the action is!
You can use your brain more effectively if you are in a good environment. The best place to use more of your brain is in the front row, because this is not only where you will learn more, but also remember more.
Step 5: Complete your homework *BEFORE* class
Homework is assigned to help you learn more about a subject.
As soon as you get home from school, think about the homework assignments you need to complete before the next class. Then think about the order in which you will do them. The sooner you start, the quicker everything will be done. Then you will:
- Be prepared for the next class.
- Understand more of the teacher’s lecture.
- Turn in assignments on time.
- Ask — and answer — good questions in class.
Step 6: Take notes during class and become an active listener
When you are trying to learn something complicated, it is much easier to learn and remember if you take notes. If you go into just about any college class, you will find that most if not all the students are taking notes. Listen carefully, write down everything of importance (not everything the teacher says) and look for potential exam questions.
Step 7: Review your notes before the next class
If you are going to understand everything that your teacher says in class, not only do you have to take good notes, you also have to review and correct them before the next class. There is no other way to learn at the same rate that the teacher presents new information. And you have already started studying for the test!
Step 8: Prepare for tests ahead of time
By doing your reading assignments and taking careful notes and reviewing them, you have mastered information as your teacher presented it to you and have a great foundation for your exam studies.
To prepare for an exam:
- Start studying a week in advance.
- Review your notes three times, leaving two or three days between reviews.
- Think about potential exam questions.
- Conduct your review in an organized manner.
- Never study up to the last minute. (This creates pressure in the final hours before a test.)
Step 9: Be test-wise and confident …because confidence breeds success!
If you have followed the first eight steps of this plan, you should be confident that you will test well.
It sounds simple, but it works: Believe in yourself, keep an open mind about tests (and never be scared of an exam), know your teacher’s style and apply what you know. That’s confidence. That’s success.
Step 10: Showoff what you know on the final exam, a big part of your final grade!
You have been working hard to prepare for the test, and everything is on the line (not everything, but you know what we mean). Don’t worry about how the teacher will grade your exam. Your goal should be to show the teacher how much you’ve learned.
Look for major themes that develop in your class notes. Review previous exams to learn your teacher’s style. Then, ace your exam!
These steps are an taken from HOW TO GET STRAIGHT A’s by Gordon W. Green. Reprinted by arrangement with Tom Doherty Associates LLC and available wherever books are sold.