Sooner or later, students realize that doing well on assignments is at the core of academic success, in elementary school, high school, and even at the university level. Assignments expose you to new challenges, create natural and contextualized opportunities for honing skills in specific subject matters, and help you apply your academic learning to the given problem.
Apart from all this, of course, doing well on your assignments gets you a decent grade point average, helps you advance, garners you the attention of professors that have serious clout, and sometimes, can even help you secure college academic awards, an internship, and even a scholarship.
There’s every reason why you should give that extra effort to improve and to maintain your grades. This guide explores practical, doable, and proven effective strategies and tactics to help you improve and maintain your grades. This is not a one size fits all approach but the applying yourself and showing effort is universal.
Read Your Instructions Carefully (We Know that’s Obvious)
Do you know what the biggest mistake you can do with your assignments is? Reading the instructions quickly, reading them only once, or not reading them completely. Think of it this way, the more instructions there is, the better.
That’s because the teacher or professor has clearly outlined what he/she expects you to do, with little room for ambiguity. So you know the ground rules and expectations when you have read them slowly, carefully, and more than once. Your fellow classmates may not do this and they may begin the assignment before they fully grasp what the teacher or professor wants. This is not wise, in school or in life.
Realizing you misinterpreted an instruction a month down the line can put you in a serious jam. Now the entire assignment is off since you started off wrong and you only have a few days to fix this situation. This is why you want to start out right. This is why you want to do things right the first time.
If you turn this assignment in now you can expect a C grade, perhaps even a C-. And we know that is just not that impressive at all. Not when you had weeks to make this project right, to figure it out, and to ask the right questions so you could comprehend what your teacher or professor is expecting.
Mistakes like this will leave a sour taste in your mouth.
Get Involved During Classes and Lectures
You know the one trait that’s consistent for students who receive high marks? They pay attention in the classroom! You need to be active and participate in classroom discussions so you can increase your chances of obtaining a high grade and to fully grasp what the instructor is trying to convey. Teachers love it when they realize you are paying attention in class.
Here are four judicious reasons why you should participate in class:
- When you listen to your teacher you will understand the content and topic better. You will be able to know what your teacher is trying to say and you should be able to do your homework better as a result. This means you can study better and your grades will be stellar as a result. This is preferable to trying to learn everything from the book. You need to do both. The best students listen well and read the material as well with acumen.
- In fact, if you listen to the teacher well and take steady notes you may not even have to read that much from the book but this is not something you should really engage in. The authors of your text books are knowledgeable and sharp and you need to learn from them too. But raising key points in class can help you learn and even the people around you.
- As already stated, you need to take notes in class. This means you are paying attention and helps you remember what the instructor was talking about. It also will make the instructor happy since he or she will see you taking notes. Any time you make the teacher happy, that is something positive. On top of this, not much can help you remember the lesson/s better than participating in the discussion and asking impressive and percipient questions.
- If you receive scores for class participation it is just foolhardy not to participate! Many times class participation comprises 10% of your grade. You have to take advantage of this. You have to add salient points to the class discussion. To not do this means you have to do A+ work to receive only a B+. That strategy does not make any sense right?
Engage in Conversations with the Teacher
The biggest lesson that most students learn throughout their school years is that their relationship with their teacher or professor does have a bearing on their grades. This is no different than being in the work force right? If you do not get along with your boss are you going to expect a raise? No! OK, here are some excellent tips on how to maintain decent rapport with your instructor and certainly why this is paramount.
- Your professor will guide you to better resources, online tools, and so on which can help make your life much easier and the result will be you obtaining better scores.
- Your visible interest in submitting a high quality assignment will play a role when he/she grades it.
- If you need any extensions for a justifiable reason, your professors will be more comfortable granting this when you’ve been engaged in a dialog with them. This is because they know you have been working hard on your assignments and in class. You have earned that type of respect!
- Professors and teachers know when opportunities in different subjects or their subject manifest themselves. If they trust you and know you are a hard worker, they may present one of these golden opportunities to you.
- When you receive your grade, talk to your instructor about it after class or in their office. This gives you a chance to showcase your assignment’s strong points, clear any possible misinterpretations, and at the very least, get in the professors good book before you cross paths again with them! It is a small world after all!
Apply these principles the next time you work on an assignment and in your class or classes on day to day to basis. If you do this, you will see your grades sparkle and possibly even your dreams come true.
Written by Benjamin Roussey
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