Exams are for testing your understanding of what has been covered in the semester. Grades are a measurement of your understanding. So, whether you are studying in School or College, grades are important.
Sometimes it so happens that you are unable to get grades you are aiming for in spite of working day and night. So if your question is “ How can I raise my grades?” then here are some tried and tested strategies that you can adopt even before you know your exam status.
1.) Pay more importance to what is said in the class
Paying attention in class is the first step for improving exam performance. Do not waste time in class. Try not to miss any classes.
Sometimes the classes may be boring. In such cases, what should your strategy be in order to get the best out of class. You can do the following:
- Motivate yourself by giving some rewards such as eat treats etc. for listening to the lecture.
- Create a mindset that you should listen and not be distracted.
- Sit in of the rows in the front side of your class.
- Use a stress ball or fidget spinner to remove stress.
- Participate in class sessions.
- Avoid all distractions during class such as social media.
2.) Take notes in class
Importance of taking notes has been repeated again and again by generations of students. Teachers know how to improve academic performance of students. They have also emphasized the importance of this particular strategy.
Note-takers in class have always come up trumps. This is because what you hear in class is often forgotten within the next few hours as you move on from subject to subject. In written form, however, it becomes a record for revision in the future.
So, how to write notes that can be effective and improve your exam results?
- Pay attention to the class and then start taking notes.
- Refer to your previous lecture notes before being ready for the next class
- Write legible notes
- Keeping your notes organized in binders is a good idea as you can add extra papers in between when necessary.
- Use highlighters, pencils, pens to highlight headings and subheadings.
- Start a new page for a new lecture.
- Leave space for comments or extra notes.
- Write fast but cover everything.
- Choose a note taking method that you are comfortable with.
- Seek clarifications if required.
- If something is illogical, clarify and complete writing then and there.
- Compare notes with your friends if the need be.
3.) Establish Goals and work towards it
You can set long term and short term goals. An example of a long term goal would be to achieve something in Life. You have to set a lot of short term goals to achieve your long term goal.
There are no shortcut exam solutions. There needs to be a goal based plan, which is very important. A study road map can keep you on track to achieve your goals. Also time is important. A particular set of goals should be achieved within a particular period of time or else it is of no use.
Stick to the goals, tweaking minute changes only according to situations that arise at various points of time.
You can set a goal of the grade you are targeting. If you got a C grade last term, aim for something higher. However, it should be realistic. Don’t aim for A+ just yet rather try for achieving a B and then the next term you try higher.
Setting goals will tell you what exactly you are doing to improve exam results. It is a fact that students who set study goals do better than the rest. Once you plan, you will not have exam fever, because you are already prepared.
One of the best strategies to improve academic performance of students is to organize yourself. Working Hard is good, but working smart is effective and smartness lies in organizing yourself, especially your time and your resources.
- Plan your school life while also allocating some time for social life. Everything in extreme will cause harm to another. If you ignore studies and are busy in social life such as engaging yourself in social media at all times, then your studies will be affected. At the same time, one should not always be buried in books. This could stress you to no end.
- Establish a study routine. Choose which time is suitable for you to study. Some people are comfortable during early hours. Some are night owls. Both times, the society at large is calm and you can do your work in peace.
- Place to study - create an environment to study in peace. Choose a place that is not noisy and perfect for you. It should also be near to your study materials, so that you need not go again and again to collect stuff from your table.
5.) Time Management
There are about 16 waking hours you can use in a day. There is so much time to improve. You may ask yourself how can I raise my grades using these waking hours. Time Management is the answer.
Always make it a point to study for at least for an hour a day. Studying daily is a pertinent point of a student’s life especially revising before the exam or otherwise you will not do your best.
You can increase the time limit for studies by managing your time wisely. There are some techniques such as Pomodor Technique that you can use for time management.
Start off with a small time block say 25 minutes. Focus and do not deviate in that time. Give a 5 minute break and then study again for the next 25 minutes again. You can increase these time blocks as you go on through your semester.
During the exam period when your time blocks increase, take at least 10 minutes break after 4 such time blocks for relaxation.
6.) Check out your weak areas
How to get higher grades? Simple analyze your weakness and strength.
You might be strong in some academic areas and weak in others. These very areas may be pulling your grades down. In such a case, it would be wise for you to give more attention to these areas.
Check through grades for the last few months and see why there is a decline. You can graph it as well like it is done in an organizational setup. Give more of your time and attention to these areas and you find that your exam grades will automatically move up.
7.) Take the help of different resources like the Internet
The Internet is deemed distracting by many but it is not always true. Along with social network sites like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Snapchat there are also various learning solutions that you can use.
Here are some of the many online resources that are the answer to the eternal question “How can I improve my exam marks?” You can seek more details from your teachers or your peers.
- FlashcardExchange - is a tool to create flashcards saving you a lot of time
- Time edition – helps you track how much time you spend learning
- PocketMod – can help compress your study material into small blocks – for example you can store all your math formula details of together in one page. Whip it out when you want to learn them by heart
- Web Seavus Dropmind and MindMeister are two online packages that can help you create Mindmaps.
- Some best content resources for subjects especially Math and Science online are Khan Academy, Brilliant, Virtual Nerd, STEM, Desmos, GeoGebra, CanFigureIt Geometry, PhET interactive Simulations and CueThink.
8.) Choose the learning style that works for you
Learning is an activity that continues all our life. From birth we keep on adding some skills and knowledge to our personality and life.
Different people learn in different ways...
- Some are visual learners and grasp concepts fast using pictures and images
- Some are aural learners with an ear to listen better than others
- Verbal learners will read out loud to remember.
- Some are physical learners they use their hands, fingers etc. to remember what they study.
- Logical learners remember concepts by logical reasoning. They create flowcharts or analyze and use it as a method of learning.
You can choose the method which you feel can help you learn faster. Also check if you learn better when alone or when you are in a group study.
9.) Practice learning as a fun activity
Studying for long hours especially before the exams may become mundane. At such times it could be a good idea to introduce some fun elements to ward out boredom.
Here are 10 ways to improve your exam performance by making learning a fun activity
- Sometimes studying while music plays in the background is a great idea
- Drawing diagrams, figures or doodles while making notes would increase your interest to go back to them for revision.
- Role play is one way to enjoy studying literature.
- Turn your course content into puzzles, flash cards or quizzes
- Get your friends along to join the fun
- Use interesting stationery to add zing to your learning
- Give yourself tiny challenges.
- Make a chapter into a nice story or a comic. Comics never fail in most cases.
- A change in location is what the doctor ordered if you feel sleepy on your study table
- Finally you can try to combine your study with other activities such as sport, socializing, pursuing your hobby or just taking rest.
10.) Practice previous year papers
How to get perfect grades? One of the simplest strategies is to practice past papers. Attempting past papers is akin to taking an exam. You will know the number of questions to attempt and the time limit to take them.
Also you will find a pattern in the previous papers which could help you predict what exam paper you will be getting. This is because many times questions are re-used or re-phrased by examiners.
11.) 20 ways to improve your grades if you are underperforming
Get over exam fear by being Positive always. Positivity is such a nourishing feeling. It is an attitude that you should possess to clear any exam or test.
Here are some tips to follow if you are underperforming your aptitude:
- Accept the fact and denying only delays time
- Adopt a positive attitude now to stay on course
- Check the areas you are underperforming
- Analyze your weak areas and allot more time to them
- Talk to teachers and seek study tips
- In class follow what is going on with utmost concentration
- Take notes writing to the next level – write crisp notes, compare with friends, review once the chapter is done
- Ask if you need any clarifications
- Allocate more time to studies – avoid other activities which consume your time
- Improve your language skills to communicate in your answers better
- Try memory improving techniques
- Tomorrow never comes! Do not postpone!
- Take help of friends or a study group
- Take tests regularly
- Revise for longer even before you get your exam timetable
- Take care of your health; sometimes health issues could reduce your grades
- Refer other sources for studying
- Self-tests also help
- Be cool on the day of the exam and do your best
12.) Attend private tuitions if necessary
In some cases attending private tuitions like Queryfloor can do a world of good for you.
You get personal attention as the teacher student ratio is usually 1:1 most of the time. The second advantage is that tutoring unlike schooling, can be timed for your convenience.
You can attend private classes specifically for subjects you are weak in and learn the rest by yourself. One is to one attention also helps teachers to assess your strengths and weakness and give learning solutions for the ones you are lacking in.
13.) Set more time for revision
One of the best study tips is to revise. Once you complete taking notes of all chapters, start revising immediately.
Revising helps you go through the lesson covered in class again. It helps content to be stored in your brain. The more time given for revision, the more chapters you can cover while preparing for exam.
Here, while revising you would also want to know some tips for improving your memory.
How can I improve my memory for studying?
Try these memory tricks….
- Memory Palace – associating the information you want to remember to something you are familiar with
- Use of Acronyms to improve memory simplest example is VIBGYOR – Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange and Red – the colors of the Rainbow in their natural order.
- Spaced Repetition- repetition helps remembering the required better
- Lifestyle changes like avoiding junk food, adequate sleeping hours, Exercising etc.
- Read then write - this way you have revised twice already!
14.) Begin a review before the test
There are 10 things to do before a big exam or when you receive your exam timetable.
- Just a week or two before exam, get a plan ready for test preparation.
- Keep exam status as a reference
- Accordingly, plan the numbers of hours you are allotting for studies.
- For practical subjects like Math and Science give equal importance to both theory and practice time sessions
- Next plan how you are going to utilize it to cover all the subjects for the exams.
- Practice more past papers to get the hang of the exams
- Eat good food
- Do not ignore your night’s sleep or else you will be groggy
- Instead of sitting on your study desk at all hours, take out some time for exercise, at least try walking
- Most importantly do not panic. Just be cool and complete revision
15.) Ten ways to improve your exam performance on the D-day (exam date)
You are fully prepared for your exam if you – take notes – followed-up with study at home – revision – practiced previous year papers and now you are confident of taking the exam. But there are few things you should do to on the D-day of the exam to achieve the best possible exam results.
- Turn up early for the exam.
- Read all the instructions again even if you know most of them – there could be new instructions that you may not be aware of
- Plan which ones you are going to attempt first
- Start writing surely and with confidence
- Answer as many questions as you can
- Manage time effectively while attempting questions
- Allot time for checking the paper again and again
- In case you have more time after checking the paper you can attempt more questions that you are sure of the answer.
- Finally analyze your performance
How to improve your grades is not a million dollar question. Simple strategies, day to day adjustments, regular revision, positivity, note taking, online support, paying adequate attention are some most popular strategies used by students past and present to improve exam results.
They can be used alone or in combination to get the grades you are aiming at this semester. Use them today and see how you improve your grades substantially!