Published 15 Mar 2019

How to Improve Your College Grades Without Much Effort

Discover effective and effortless strategies to boost your college grades and academic performance with minimal stress, all detailed in this blog post.
6 min read

A reporting card signed "A plus"

Every college student wants to get higher grades without feeling obligated to pull an all-nighter. We bet you do too. So, is there any way to manage your social life and improve your grades at the same time? We’re sure there is, and we’ll tell you how to do just that.

Talk to Your Professors

Much of the time, professors won’t even meet with their students till the last moment, like during finals. However, seeing a student in person and noticing that they have a desire to study is what usually helps students get higher grades.

You can come up to your professor after class, or during office hours to:

  1. Speak about the list of additional literature to look through in order to get a better understanding of the material
  2. Ask about the things you didn’t understand or catch in class
  3. Ask about a place where you might find proper materials for class lectures
  4. Ask about extra credit

This way you will show your interest in the subject, and give a good impression to a professor who appreciates your curiosity.

A tip: You can also write an email, or even communicate through social media if your professor allows students to use these channels of communication.

Organize Your Space and Time

If you want to have a sharp mind, you need to clean the space around you. When you have a comfortable place, and a regular study schedule, it will be much easier for you to focus, and complete your homework assignments.

Find your inspiration

We all have some source of motivation or inspiration. Some of us love seeing plants around our workspace; others find posters with motivational quotes to be the best reminders of the goals they have. If you need a whole pile of colorful pens to inspire your studying, then get them. Never underestimate the power of the small things, which make you happy, and never be ashamed of your rituals or habits. Sometimes, even just a cup of coffee before studying can give that little extra push that you need.

Schedule your time

When you have a schedule for the whole day, including the time for your homework, chances are lower that you will avoid completing your assignments. Make sure to have enough time for a good sleep and don’t skip your meals — when your brain has enough rest and nutrition, it’s easier for you to stay focused and as a result get good grades.

Have a Plan

When you know the due dates for your assignments, you can plan out your days to have enough time to complete your homework. Make a list of all your deadlines — you can do that in your notebook, or through the calendar on your phone. There are also some useful apps that will help you keep track of all your deadlines e.g., The Homework App, My Study Life, and myHomework App.

Make quick notes about every assignment that you have to complete. Write down:

  1. Their urgency
  2. Their value
  3. Their difficulty
  4. Your professor’s guidelines tips that they gave you in class
  5. Sources required

Having such structured notes on hand will save you a lot of time, before beginning your homework. You will also see what assignment you should start first.

A tip: Check out what you have to do if you know that you are going to miss a deadline.

Learn How to Effectively Take Notes

When studying for another test, you probably look through the notes that you took previously. If you still don’t pay enough attention to the note-taking process in your class, you might consider improving this skill.

A lot of teachers provide useful material in class and face the problem of inattentive students. It’s not a rare case to find bored students drawing in their notebooks, scrolling through social media, or chatting with their classmates. Does this situation sound familiar to you?

By taking detailed notes in the class and structuring your lectures, you can prepare a sound basis for richer studying.

A tip: There are a few note-taking systems, which you might find interesting, such as the Cornell method, the charting method, and the boxing method. You should try them out.

Study according to your learning style

If you are struggling with your note taking system now, you should consider changing it. Your struggles may be associated with your learning style.

Every student has a unique way of perceiving information that is more effective than other ones. Some students are auditory. Others draw strength from reading or writing; while others draw relationships through touch and sight.

  1. Visual learners are best at perceiving information through images, diagrams, infographics, and video clips. In this case, the best option would be to structure your information in tables and schemes.
  2. Auditory learners would prefer to listen to the audio recordings of lectures.
  3. Kinesthetic learners will enjoy model building, performing experiments, and taking practical classes.

Anyway, by taking bullet notes, writing down the key points of lectures and reciting them after class will help you to better understand the topics involved, and retain the materials discussed.

A tip: pay attention and take notes of everything that your professor writes on the board, or repeats several times during the lecture.

Get Professional Help

Some students wonder how to improve academic performance in college when there is so little time to complete all their assignments, or even how to get good grades in university when one has to work on top of everything else.

Time efficiency

When there are many assignments to complete, you might be forced to skip one or two and focus on the ones requiring the most immediate attention. This may seem wise at the time, but it is a horrible way to improve your grades.

An opportunity to choose

However, you can ask for assistance from an online service that can help you out with the assignment you just can’t get to. For example, if you prefer writing your essay for literature class over doing your art class assignment, an expert from a writing team can help you with it. You can’t do both of them at the same time without help, so consider this option if you have no interest in a particular subject, or have no time to complete it.

A life-hack

A lot of students do not know about such an option that can ease their studying life. But the ones who know, take advantage of such a service and place orders for the assignments that they find too boring or too time-consuming.

Prepare for Tests Thoroughly

Tests make up a large portion of your final grades, so they require your attention, and preparation beforehand. If you want to pass your tests with higher grades, these suggestions might help you.

Eat well before the test

When you are full, your brain works better — prompting the right answers to test questions. That’s why skipping breakfast before a test is not a good idea. Have some oatmeal, nuts, blueberries or salmon for breakfast to help your brain run like a machine.

A tip: Mints are great during tests and exams — they stimulate memory and facilitate the recall of information.

Make up a practice test

Study for tests by practicing beforehand. Search for a test with questions, and give it a try. Or, make up a test yourself. By creating a test yourself, you will have to look through the whole topic again, which is just rehearsing information anyway. Have a friend prepare a practice test for you, or take part in a study group with you. Cards with questions are also great for reciting material before day X.

Have a positive approach

Being depressed won’t help you to manage those tests — this just makes things harder for you in the end. In this situation, stress and bad thoughts make you more nervous and forgetful. You need to keep in mind that tests are only a small part of your life. Instead of sitting around and worrying about what kind of grade you might get, it’s better to spend this time studying, and reciting the material.

Wrapping Up

Did you find our tips on how to get good grades in college without too much effort useful? We hope you did! As students ourselves, we tried some of these tips beforehand, and found them very effective. But honestly, some of these tips we only discovered recently, and wish we had known about them earlier.

Anyway, every student can improve their grades without struggling. It’s not obligatory to be a bookworm, and sit in the library all day long. You just need to make up a suitable study schedule and stick to it. Now, don’t procrastinate, and try our tips today.

Feature image credit: Teacher Magazine

Karen Palmer Karen Palmer
I am an only child (and not spoiled, really) who spent twelve years in Catholic schools and seven more off-and-on years in college, but my education largely took place at the Cahuenga Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library. Decades later, not much has changed. I again live in L.A. and I still spend a lot of time at the library — if I had to choose between reading and eating, I’d be dead in a week.
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