How to Get Straight A’s in College

I love university. But I enjoy my social life, and I easily get distracted by whatever is happening in the world. But when it matters I manage to pull myself together and ace the exam. Primarily due to this book “The Psychology of Effective Studying: How to Succeed in Your Degree” by Paul Penn.

Here is how I leverage relationships, study tips, science, and the software I use.

8. Know the requirements

Teachers are required to report what the outcome of a class will be. The outcome is what you will need to know by the end of the class and what will be asked on the tests throughout the semester or at the exam. This is also otherwise known as the grading rubric

This is particularly useful if you have a teacher who’s not very good at their job. They might at least have a grading rubric that you can follow to the letter. You can also use the grading rubric to contest the test results.

7. Stick to the requirements*

This is important for extra points. Sometimes it can happen that the teacher includes questions in the exam that are not part of the requirements. Or maybe even a question that you couldn’t possibly know. If this happens and you do not know the answer then technically you can ask for that question to be removed from the exam and increase your overall correct points that way.

6. Use the system to your advantage

If you know you’re in over your head, but you don’t want to get a bad grade, then fail the class and take it again next year. This is not always possible and you should only use it as a last resort. It might be a good idea to talk it through with your student advisor or school administrative worker first. Know the system before you abuse it.

5. Schedule your semester in advance

I use Google Sheets to plan my semesters. Check out this free spreadsheet that I use for my own classes. It’s simple, free and it gets the job done. I also pin it into my chrome toolbar.

4. Accountability and losing money

This is probably one of the most powerful methods you could use. In order to be more productive, my classmate and I made a monetary bet. We would each choose a goal we would have to accomplish by a certain date OR lose 50 bucks. This way we were always ahead of our homework and had extra time during the semester when things might’ve gotten tight.

3. Use effective study methods

If you think highlighting and re-reading are good study methods then science might suggest you’re wrong. Studies show that practice testing and spaced studying are the best methods for memorizing material. For more information see our article on how to study effectively.

2. Be really self-centered when studying

Studies show that we have a really good memory when it comes to information concerning ourselves. This means if you can associate what you’re studying with something personal it will leave a stronger imprint on your memory.

1. Make Smart Friends

On top of finding the smartest people in your own course. You should also check out the seniors and get friendly with them. People like helping and if you ask for advice then people are more than glad to share their wisdom. They can tell you the pitfalls to avoid and any quirks the professor might have. This way you won’t have to make the mistakes your seniors made.

Wrapping it up

There are many tricks to getting straight As in college. The most important pieces of advice would be:

  1. Know the requirements, and find the grading rubric.
  2. Accountability. Put some skin into the game to motivate your lazy self.
  3. Surround yourself with good people.

Furthermore, you can check out my articles on how to stay focused and productive in college.

Last update on 2022-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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