Do Well in School

School is an important part of your life. It will help you to determine what you will be doing in the future and learning how to learn well sets you in a good position for lifelong capability. There are many ways to improve your grades so that you do really well at school. Whether you're a failing student desperate for a higher grade, or a less-than-perfect student struggling to get the last point, or simply wanting to shift from the easy mark zone into the higher marks, this simple guide will be helpful for you.


Equipping Yourself Properly

  1. Have your necessary materials all the time. You don't want to be unprepared for sudden note-taking or a pop quiz by discovering you forgot your pencils/pens/erasers and if that happens you will waste time and might miss some important information.
  2. Be organized. Being organized helps you work better, relax and be ready to find and hand in stuff on time. There are plenty of ways to self-organize and it is best that you find the method that works best for you. The key is to be able to find what you need with ease, including the retrieval of information and your notes. Set up a system as soon as possible, including things like a good computer filing system, a good paper filing system, a desk-clearing policy (at least weekly) and a neat arrangement for your textbooks, writing books and associated reference manuals and books.
    • Make use of highlighters, bright Post-It tags, and other items to label and highlight your organized items. Color coding works extremely well for lots of people, especially busy people and those who can't abide reading labels!
  3. Keep a calendar. Choose one that can fit in your folder or binder so that you can easily turn to it and find it when you need to use it. In this calendar, write down all your tests and assessments, and if your school has different academic classes on different days, write those down too. Also, make notes of study sessions or time you plan to spend doing homework. This keeps you aware of upcoming tests and other events, so you can study and prepare for them properly.


  1. Set long-term or short-term goals. Even if you don't know what you want to do when you grow up or what college you want to go to, your goal can be just to give yourself as many opportunities as possible.
  2. Keep your attendance up. Your attendance is important at school. If you don't go to school, your grades will obviously drop fast because you will have gaps in your learning that are difficult to back fill. If you have a genuine illness or other issue preventing you from attending school, have a parent, guardian or friend talk to your teachers about doing catch-up work from home.

Learning skills

  1. Write down notes. Notes will help solidify material in your head and will also serve as important study tools before a test. Be sure to write down everything important that the teacher goes over. If it helps, ask for a printout of the material beforehand so you can focus on taking notes on what the teacher is saying, not just copying down what is on the board. If the teachers write something on the board and they underline it chances are it's important or it will be on future tests.
  2. Make sure to answer / ask at least one question per class. This will show your teacher that you're actively participating in class. But more than that, it also forces you to pay enough attention to be able to ask/answer questions. As a result, you'll do much better on tests and quizzes. The ability to ask questions is a skill that you'll need throughout life, and ensures that you can keep a check on the motivations and ideas that you come across in various walks of life.
    • When you pick a question to answer, make sure you know the answer and the questions are not too easy. Don't worry about asking too many questions; it's the teacher's job to help you.
    • Participation in class is often an important factor of your grade. Raising your hand once or twice in class doesn't do any harm, especially if you remember that "there is no such thing as a stupid question" when it comes to learning in class. Many times people will be wondering the same thing but lacked the courage to ask it!
  3. Listen actively. Don't just ask questions or talk. Learn to listen too. Eighty percent of the questions you find on any test were explained in class. The key to many understandings of the materials presented is often through listening to the teacher's explanations.

Homework and Revision

  1. Revise/study at home. Do this in a quiet place with no distractions. If the computer is in your room, take it out or go to another room. Don't study with the radio on! It might help you write more but on the day of the exam, the only thing you'll remember will be the lyrics.
    • Make a schedule. Making a self-schedule could help you save time for self-study/revision as well as keeping you on track on what you're doing and what to do next.
    • Rewrite your notes. Yes, this may sound boring and time-consuming, but it's been proven to help you remember more of what you wrote down. It also helps you to figure out problems you might have had in the class.
  2. Put effort into your homework. Though it seems like a torture device, homework is a way of controlling and making progress outside of the classroom. This isn't very comforting the night you have two essays and algebra to do, though, so remember to do the actual homework and keep up with the workload. If you're having serious difficulties, talk to your teachers and parents to come up with a schedule for your homework.
  3. Take breaks now and then. Instead of multitasking, set aside a certain amount of time to do homework. When that set amount of time is over, take a 20-30 minute break to keep your mind from getting tired. When that time is up, go back to doing 100% homework.
  4. Start large assignments and projects early. If you have two weeks to do a project, rather than putting it off till the last three days before it's due, start working early. This way you can spend enough time planning, researching, and asking any questions you have about the project. The whole experience will be much less stressful since you won't have to rush through it. You'll also have plenty of time to make the project as good as it can be, which means that you'll get a better grade.
  5. Take a practice test before the exam to further your understanding of what you need to study. Be careful, though, taking dozens of practice tests is a much less effective way to study than combining one or two with other forms of study.
  6. Study during the holidays and vacation from school. If after the holidays you have a test and have not reviewed over the holiday period, your mind will have switched off and you will have forgotten a lot of things that you have learned before the holidays. Therefore you are likely to fail the test or do badly in it.
    • Get a book at your grade level for any new class subject you will be taking next term such as chemistry, and read or scan it closely. Look at all the illustrations, charts, definitions, and learn things like the chemical symbols (C is carbon, H is Hydrogen, Zn is zinc, Au is gold, Ag is silver.). Read chapter summaries.
    • Treat the holidays like any weekends: Yes, you can relax and have fun, but study at least 3 times a week so you don't forget everything you have learned.
    • Ask your parents or friends to sit with you and review over what you have difficulty with, or that you need to memorize and recite.

Group Study

  1. Study with friends. Reviewing with your friends during free time can help keep you focused.
    • Make sure that you work with people who you can focus around. Any time you spend chatting instead of studying is wasted time as far as the study group is concerned.
    • For some people, working in a group may be hard to do because friends can distract you from your studies. Or, you may be someone who actually works better without other people around; do not view this as anything wrong, it is simply about your personal makeup––for example, you may be a deep thinker who needs time and space to digest issues fully. Be aware that this does not mean you're not capable of working in teams; quite the opposite, you are more likely to be a good team player if you understand the issues properly.


  1. Ask for clarifications when you don't understand things. Asking for help if you don't "get" what the question is asking is the only way you're going to find out what to do. Pretending you know and making it up as you go will only prolong the agony and can reduce your marks.
  2. Learn from your mistakes. Don't see mistakes as personal flaws; failures are a guidance in how to do better. Pay attention in class when something is being corrected. Mark your work clearly and carefully so that it is useful in preventing other errors in the future. You will learn a lot more if you use your mistakes and failures to guide you to the correct approaches and results.
  3. Meet with your teacher outside of class. If you do not understand a concept during class time, meeting with your teacher outside of class will help you understand it better and will also build a strong relationship with you and your teacher.
  4. Ask for help. Looking over guidebooks may help you in classes with which you are struggling. Alternatively, you could go to the teacher for extra help, have a friend coach you, or ask your parents to hire a tutor.
    • Never be afraid to ask your tutor for help. They can help you with any subject, and there is no need to feel dumb or ashamed that you need help.
  5. Be persistent! Don't only start well and let it fall apart. Keep your study plans active and working for your success. Reward yourself when you do well.

Exam and Test Time

  1. Relax. Don't freak out over tests. Start studying more than one day before the exam so that you have plenty of time to ask questions when you don't understand.

General Well-Being

  1. Complete Your Homework in Time and Get Enough Sleep. Sleep will improve your memory and concentration skills, which in turn will lead to you doing better in school.
  2. Eat a healthy breakfast. Food is energy for your brain and having food in you before school starts can help you concentrate and focus. If you can't get breakfast for some reason, speak to your teacher about school programs or assistance for breakfast.
  3. Join extracurricular activities. This will allow you to make more friends, do something fun, and have something to add on a college or even job resume to show people that you are a well rounded-individual.
    • Find something that you enjoy doing to balance out the work. But don't spend too much time on it that you don't get to your homework.
  4. Make sure you study and be determined to do well. There is no need for hours on end of studying, but see how much time you have until the exam and divide the amount into equal amounts of studying each day. Remember to balance it out. Go out with friends at the weekend and maybe on one weekday, but make sure you don't forget about the work.


  • Use the Internet as a tool rather than for entertainment. Switch off all tabs containing games, videos or social networks so that you are not tempted to be distracted.
  • Don't worry about the other kids in your class not doing their work; they are not your problem. If you focus on your work, you will get the good grades, not them.
  • Read all kinds of books. This way, you'll learn how to understand different kinds of text and it'll become interesting.
  • Make sure you can see the board or multimedia in every class. It is better to see than to seat yourself awkwardly just so you can be with your best friend.
  • Read more to improve reading speed and comprehension. If you can't read well, find a tutor such as an older student, a teacher, someone who is willing to listen as you read.
  • Being smart is cool. Don't panic if you think that just because you are smart, you are a dork. Clever people are people who will do well in life. If anyone bullies you over being smart, stand up to them and say something like "Well, when I am the successful one, you'll still be trying to keep up!."
  • Involve your parents. Ask them to check your work. Maybe you or the teacher marked the work incorrectly.
  • Double check your answers if you are not sure it is right.
  • And most importantly, relax!
  • If you have a friend that distracts you in class, tell them you will see them at recess or lunch and sit beside someone who will not distract you. Friends who distract you can be the downfall of your school grades.
  • Be attentive in class and listen carefully what your teachers say.
  • Don't sit by someone you know will talk to you. Focus more on your studies.
  • Don't stress too much. As long as you've done your very best, you can be satisfied. Besides, worrying won't make your grade any higher, and it'll just distract you from other classes.
  • Sit straight. Posture is important, if you're aching in class it could distract your concentration in general.
  • Don't give up hardworking. Getting bad grade once isn't the end of the world. Just keep working and trying!
  • Keep a tidy desk. That way, you won't have to waste time searching for your stuff.
  • Pay your concentration towards the teacher and learn from your and other student's mistakes.
  • Be calm and don't stress.
  • Form a study group with friends. So you can get better grades!
  • Learn how to take good notes in class, as this is invaluable in high school.
  • Ask questions
  • If you have a lack in self confidence here's a little tip, you could tutor a friend or a younger one, it will surely boost your confidence and make you smile, even though it's hard.
  • If you have a friend or a best friend, try not to sit with them in lessons unless the teacher says so because you might start having a little chat with them.
  • Surround yourself with people who want to succeed and will encourage you to do the same. Studies have shown that peer groups have the greatest influence on academic performance.
  • Have a good friend by your side who is committed to school. If your friends aren't committed to school, it won't help you do well.
  • It's okay if you fail one test. Don't let a test ruin your life.
  • Study hard, but be sure to have a break time to time. Be positive and keep on going no matter what obstacle.
  • if your classmate tries to distract you, just ignore them and they will eventually stop.
  • Listen your teacher and what she teaches you. It will come in handy.


  • If things are hard for you, don't worry, just think of something that makes you happy and it will be all right. Remember you're not the only one that feels this way.
  • Keep calm and don't freak out about a test or assignment. It's okay to be nervous, but it's not okay to let that nervousness compromise your true abilities.
  • Make sure to be with friends who will have your back, whatever you do, and are really true friends. Reviewing with your friends may help you to identify and improve areas you may be lack confidence in.
  • Don't cheat. You may get in trouble with the school and face punishments. You are learning nothing and putting your grades and your allowance for the next 4 weeks in danger. This goes for buddy-to-buddy and copy-and-paste off the computer as well.
  • It's fine to have fun or take a break, but not in advance! You're putting off your homework, and eventually you'll either lose 3 hours of sleep, or your grades will go down for not handing in the assignment, often accompanied by some form of punishment (either from your body, since you haven't rested enough, your parents because of your bad grades, or your teacher, for not handing in the assignment.)
  • Don't procrastinate. It will just put more stress on you and make the quality of your work poorer.

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Sources and Citations