how to get better grades blog post

How To Get Better Grades For College Students (With Free Template And Note-Taking System)

An icon of a Google Doc which links to slides of second grade math exercises

Do you want to be one of those students who has ‘got everything together’? You want to earn awesome grades, be a success, and get the best opportunities. 

Some people think that you can never change, but I’m here to tell you that you can! So get yourself into a positive mindset and block 1 hour of time to create your action plan in 1 hour or less.

The most important thing you can do is join a community of like-minded students who want to get good grades in Math/English/Science/Whatever.

1). Set An Exciting Goal For Your Academic Career

The science is clear: you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. Use this template and write down your goals for each class of yours. You can write “Get an A in Math”, “Get 1500 on the SAT!”, or “Get 700 on the Gaokao Exam“. Set a goal that excites you because an exciting goal helps you stay focused and motivated all year long.

Get better grades by making smart goals.
Download SMART Goal Printout PDF Free

2). Make A Simple Study Plan That Builds Up To Your Test.

Having a plan – any plan – makes you more likely to have success. Think of yourself as a business. A recent study suggests that doing a business plan doubles your chances of success. It doesn’t have to be the best plan. Without a plan, you’ll be like a chicken running around with its head cut off.

You can also make a high level-overview with a calendar that builds up to your test.

1 month plan example
Download Monthly Calendar Printout PDF Free

3). “Time Box” Your Study Time Every Day And Throughout The Day

Use “timeboxing” for each subject you are studying. Timebox 1 hour of daily studying per course. If you have 4 classes, then that is 4 * 7 = 28  hours dedicated to studying per week.  This way you have a super clear idea of what each week looks like! This is realistic and gives you a good feeling of being in control. You’ll be maximizing your time all semester long. 

Weekly study planner
Weekly Study Planner Template [Click File>Make A Copy]

Here is a sample weekly studying schedule for 4 classes:

Monday:

  • 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM: Class 1
  • 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM: Study time for Class 1
  • 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Class 2
  • 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Study time for Class 2

Tuesday:

  • 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM: Class 3
  • 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM: Study time for Class 3
  • 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Class 4
  • 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Study time for Class 4

Wednesday:

  • 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM: Study time for Class 1
  • 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM: Study time for Class 2
  • 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Study time for Class 3
  • 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Study time for Class 4

Thursday:

  • 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM: Class 1
  • 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM: Study time for Class 1
  • 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Class 2
  • 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Study time for Class 2

Friday:

  • 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM: Class 3
  • 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM: Study time for Class 3
  • 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Class 4
  • 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Study time for Class 4

Saturday:

  • 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM: Study time for Class 1
  • 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM: Study time for Class 2
  • 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Study time for Class 3
  • 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Study time for Class 4

Sunday: Rest day

Adjust this template to fit your specific class times and personal schedule.  Don’t be afraid to timebox personal time for friends, family, or whatever. 

4). Use A Proven Note Taking System Like “Cornell Notes”

If you like, try the “Cornell Notes” system. It’s a simple system you can use on a blank sheet of paper. It’s a good idea to test out this system before your class starts. Once you have found a system that you like, stick to the system for the whole course. 

To use the Cornell note system, write down the key facts in your own words. After the lecture, review the notes while they are fresh in your mind. Repeat reviewing the notes, spending more time on the areas you are weak in. Math Tutor Chris Karpinski says “Think of studying as painting a wall with a bad paint roller. You have to go over the same part multiple times to get the paint on.”. This helps you to lock down that knowledge into long-term memory.

 
Get better grades with this note taking system.

5). Be Active In The Class By Answering The Professor And Asking  Clarifying Questions

Participating in class will improve your grades.  Be brave, and ask questions when something is not clear.  Your nervousness can actually play to your advantage because you will remember better.   Also, it shows your teacher that you are an engaging student. You can then get a great reference letter from them to help you get a job! Ask questions, join in discussions, and offer your own insights. This is a skill that will carry over into your career when you are earning big bucks. Share your perspectives and help deepen your understanding of the subject.

How to raise your hand

6). Use The “Pomodoro Technique” To Study In Short Sprints

Studies show that you’ll get way better marks if you study in short sprints and take short breaks. The “Pomodoro Technique” is when you do one thing for 25 minutes, and then take a 5-minute break. On your break go for a snack, or stretch, but don’t open YouTube or any distraction. 

Keep this website on a tab to run a Pomodoro Timer as you study. Or buy a handy little tomato timer.

pomodoro technique diagram

Cramming for exams is never a good idea. Instead, review and study the material on a regular basis. This will help you keep the information fresh in your mind during exams. Use your notes, class materials, and textbook to create “Cheat sheets”. Even if you are not allowed to bring it to the final exam, the act of making one helps you a lot.

7). Get Course Specific Study Material Online

Video lessons, explanations, and practice questions customized to your courses can be incredibly helpful in getting better grades. Check out Wizeprep course help. For a low fee you get access to easy-to-consume study material specific to the course you are taking. 

8). Get Help From A Tutor

Everyone needs help but only some people are smart enough to get it. If you are struggling with a particular subject, you must ask for help. Bad grades are usually the result of falling behind the class. Talk to your teacher to get clues on assignments. Seek out tutoring resources, or ask a classmate for help. Getting help when you need it can avoid a crisis and make huge differences in your grades.

And if you don’t have money to afford tutoring, then ask for money. Now is the time to tell your parents or loved ones that you want tutoring as a gift! Right now you can get tutoring credits for 20% off. Don’t know what to write? Try this email template to get started. Remember most people who are going to buy you a gift this holiday, can’t read your mind! If you want tutoring for 2023, now is the time to ask for funds.

Comparing progress with a tutor and without

 

Use the templates to set your goals, make a study schedule. Try out the Cornell note-taking system. Also remember in a crisis to getting help when you need it with a fine tutor of quality from TutorOcean. You CAN improve your grades and succeed in school. It’s not going to be easy, but with hard work and dedication, you can do it! Don’t let your dreams be dreams. Achieve your academic goals and reach your full potential!

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Digital Marketing Manager with a background in Mathematics.

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