School is tough, which means that you won’t always get the grade you hoped for when you hand in a test or assignment. Unfortunately, this is a fact of life. However, there are several steps you can take to vastly increase your odds of getting a higher grade in your classes. Read on for a list of tricks that will help you boost your GPA!
1. Meet with your professor/TA at least once per month
I know meeting with your professor, and even your course tutor or TA can be intimidating, but it comes with so many benefits! Especially as a first-year in giant introductory courses, it’s key to set yourself apart from the crowd and make sure the professor actually knows your name (or at least recognizes you). You should definitely be meeting with your professor or TA when you have an assignment coming up, but try to drop in during their office hours just to have a chat about the course - ask them about one of your assigned readings or for clarification on a point they made in lecture. The more familiar you are with the staff, the more likely it is that your grades will improve - not only because you’ve gotten answers from the person marking your essay, but also because they can see how much effort you’ve put into your studies. On a different note, you can think of it as networking, which will be essential if you think you might need a reference letter for a job, scholarship, internship, or further level of schooling later on.
2. Get unlimited access to a tutor!
Studies show that ⅓ of students have hired a tutor in their lifetime, but that nearly 80% could have benefitted from a tutor. Nowadays with online tutoring, students all over the world can have access to a tutor at their fingertips. GradeSlam is a great tutoring resource for students - it’s online and has tutors available 24/7 so you can log on whenever is convenient. You don’t even need to schedule a session. Just create an account, select the subject you need help with, and you will be matched with a tutor instantly whom you can chat with for as long or short as you like. Plus, with students in mind, GradeSlam is one of the most affordable tutoring services in existence, costing just $15 per month for unlimited access to a tutor (plus a 14-day free trial so you can test it out). Whether you’re really struggling with a subject, or just want to raise those B’s to A’s, tutoring is one of the best resources at your disposal.
3. Go to university workshops
Most universities offer a myriad of workshops to help students succeed academically. And the best part is that they are free of charge! From writing an essay to citations to practice quizzes for math and science, there is sure to be something for you. Check out your university’s student union website, as well as the academic services/career planning services department for a list of upcoming workshops. Sometimes even departmental students’ association will run them.
4. Give yourself ample time to study
I know you’ve heard the phrase time management over and over again, but it is really important when it comes to getting good grades. For example, in order to write the best essay possible you need to take time editing it. Sure, you may be able to write the essay in a day or two, but editing it is just as important, and sometimes editing requires you to take a day off from working on the essay to get some perspective and come at it with fresh eyes (peer editing is also a great option). The lesson is that cramming will not help you raise your grade. If you’re a major procrastinator, try for just one test or assignment to begin studying a week in advance and see the difference for yourself. Check out this article for a few apps that might come in handy when scheduling your academic life.
5. Learn from your mistakes
I know if I’ve received a poor grade, I personally do not like having to suffer through the critical comments written by my professor, but it really is necessary. The only way to improve your grade is by not repeating the same mistakes again. Make sure to read each of your professor or TA’s comments carefully. If there is something you don’t understand - go and speak with them. They’ll appreciate how much you care and want to rectify the situation. It’s a good idea to save old essays and exams so you can see where you went wrong. If there are commonalities between the comments of various professors, you’ll know what particular area you need to work on.