Get Better Grades This Year Than You Did Last Year

If you want this to be your best academic year yet, you should try to learn from your past mistakes. Sometimes it's hard to admit and correct your mistakes but if you want to improve, that's the key to doing it.


Defining what hasn't worked

  1. Know your mistakes. If you have any marked worksheets or exam papers with you, flip through and see what mistakes you have made. Knowing your mistakes will make it much easier to focus on ways to correct these in the future, as well as informing you of the likely errors you make often.
  2. Re-read and think about past work. What were you good at? What weren't you good at? What can be improved? If you're stuck, or don't know why you got a bad mark, ask your teacher for help.
  3. Check your former rubrics. If you have access to grading criteria, namely those lists that say "An A grade answer will have done X, Y and Z", look them up. Look at the difference between the grade you got and the grade that is above yours. This can help you determine what needs to be done to help you achieve the criteria in the next grade.
    • Focus on what you're missing out, gliding over or not learning enough for.

Getting ready for a new year's learning

  1. Collect some revision books over the summer holidays and start reading through them. This is particularly important if you are studying a topic you have never studied before. By doing this, you will get some background knowledge on the subject, which will make lessons easier for you during term time. You can just read the books or take notes as you go along- it's up to you.
  2. Make sure you have all your pencils, pens and the like together for the start of the next school term in order to get the best start. Also, make sure your study area at home is tidy and organized.
  3. Let parents and friends know that you are trying to improve your grades. They can offer you extra help. If you don't understand something, just ask. It doesn't matter how long you spend on something if you don't understand it.
  4. Get to know the teacher. If the teacher knows that you want to learn by getting extra help, he or she will give you a point maybe if you are on a border line grade.
  5. Get and use a monthly planner. Many schools give these for free. Write down not only what day you have a big test or assignment due, but also days on which you will devote a block of study time to preparation for the test or the the assignment.

Improving your learning techniques

  1. Correct your mistakes. Once you know what your mistakes are, it's time to correct them. You might need some help for this so it's a good idea to get a tutor, teacher or anybody else whom you think might be able to help you. Remember, they are the people helping you so don't be afraid to tell them your problems in answering a question.
  2. Be sure to ask questions. Feeling secure about asking questions is important for ensuring that you know what is needed.
  3. Pay attention when your tutor or teacher is going through the topics that you are weak in. That's the only way to absorb all the knowledge into your brain.
  4. Change your note taking technique. How good is it already? It is probable that it needs improving. Consider how you could improve it. You could practice taking notes on the lyrics of a song or some script from part of a film if you need some practice at home. This step is particularly important if your course has lectures. Part of taking good notes involves writing down whatever the teacher writes on the board unless they say 'otherwise'. Also, if the teacher emphasizes any point, write that down as well. Another way that might help is if you type up your notes when you have a chance. This method makes them neater and easier to read and study from.
  5. Select topics with care. If you have the opportunity to pick topics, pick them wisely. Think about what you are good at and, most importantly, what kind of subjects you enjoy. If you have never studied an optional subject before but you think it looks interesting, ask the teacher who teaches it what kind of skills are required and what kind of subjects it is similar to.
  6. Do not procrastinate. Start your assignments at a routine time every day (when you get home, or right after dinner, for example). Don't leave things until tomorrow. Don't be afraid to take your time. Studying is not a race, and you will understand and retain better if you move at an even pace, rather than hurrying to get through things.
  7. Do breathing exercises and stretch all your muscles. This stimulates nerves that increase concentration. Taking natural products such as ginseng and omega-3 fish oils will increase neuron tissue growth.

Reviewing your progress during the year

  1. Take the time to compare your progress to your progress last year. If you are still going at the same pace, it's time to try something different.


  • Find different methods and solutions to solving a question. Everyone is different. That means everyone has different ways of understanding things better.
  • If you obtain a healthy body and mind, you will be more likely to be self motivated and happier which add to your mood. A determined and happy student results in better grades.
  • Sometimes it's hard to memorize everything your tutor or teacher says to you. So what do you do? Write it down of course! Make sure you write notes that are readable so that you can refer to them later.
  • Grading criteria can be found on most university, college or school websites. If you have taken external examinations, you can also find grading criteria on the exam boards website.
  • Do your homework. When still in Elementary, getting good grades on your homework is the majority of your grade. However, as you get to High School and College, you will get a couple of tests. You better ace those tests as those tests will make up your grade!
  • Get sufficient sleep. A person who gets enough sleep performs better than someone who does not. Make sure that you get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night. That will definitely help you stay more alert and focused. Looking after your body is important if you want a healthy mind. Eat a good diet as well.
  • Write neatly because they may not be able to read sloppy handwriting, and if they can’t read it, it’s a zero.
  • Keep all of your supplies ready, so that you can add notes to your wrong answers, highlight important facts, and color in certain diagrams. All of these techniques will help.
  • If your course involves assessment of handwritten work, you may want to think about improving your handwriting if it isn't good. Answers that can't be read get few or no marks, regardless of how excellent the content is!
  • Do an advanced reading so you will know your next lesson.


  • Do not insult yourself just because you don't do well the first time. Insulting yourself won't bring you anywhere so if you do badly the first time, just try harder.
  • Easier said than done but avoid stressing out. Stress often has an adverse effect on your grades and will do your health no good either. If you are feeling the pressure, talk to a friend about it.
  • Don't panic if one particular method of study doesn't seem to work for you. Everybody is different. Some people can absorb lots of knowledge just by reading, whilst others learn better by doing mock exams. It's all a matter of discovering what works for you.
  • Computers and the Internet can be a huge distraction when it comes to studying. If you don't need it, turn it off.
  • Do not stress yourself out too much. A little stress is healthy but too much stress can cause health problems.
  • Although some people find that working in front of the TV actually allows them to learn more, the majority find it to be a distraction. If you studied a lot in front of the TV last year, turn it off this year!

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