1. Talk to Your Teacher
When you're struggling with a class, don't be afraid to let your professor or teacher know that you're frustrated. Most instructors truly care about their students' success, and they appreciate the maturity and initiative it takes to admit you need help. Faculty members might help you find a tutor, offer one-on-one help or give you advice on how to improve your performance. Having an honest conversation with your teacher might also help you feel more at ease in the classroom. If you have personal issues going on, teachers are usually very understanding and can work with you to ensure you're successful.
2. Take Classes That Interest You
Try to balance required classes with those that really intrigue you. If you're a chemistry major who likes going to art museums, why not take an introductory art history class? Taking a course that aligns with your interests can make working hard seem like a treat, which could lead to an enjoyable 'A' that helps your GPA.
3. Always Do Your Homework
Missing assignments can really hurt your grades, so not doing homework is a big mistake. Being disciplined about coursework helps you get in the routine of completing assignments on time, no matter what. Completing homework, of course, also helps you better understand and remember material that you may be tested on later.
4. Study As You Go
If you take in course material as it's taught, you can treat test studying as a review and confidence booster, rather than a panicked cram session. If you do all of your work and understand everything that you've learned in a class, you should be able to pass a test - even a big final exam - with no problem. Reviewing material as you learn it can also help you identify problem areas you may need to work on for future lessons.
5. Get Plenty of Sleep
You can stare at a textbook all you want, but if you aren't alert, you're probably wasting your time. Getting sleep can help you relax and make you feel healthier. Making sleep a priority can help you develop good habits and maintain a reliable, organized schedule.
6. Get a Study Buddy/Group
Have you noticed that one of your friends takes excellent notes, or seems to have insights that are consistently praised? This might be a good person to study with. Having a friend by your side can make daunting tasks seem more manageable, and a good study buddy can encourage you and provide guidance on material you struggle with. If you don't know anyone in your class and approaching someone causes you to have anxiety, see if any classmates have already organized a study group. If not, discuss the idea in class, and find out if other students are interested in studying together.
7. Put Extra Effort into Assignments
Another way to step up your grade potential is to make sure you're maximizing the work you do. If you tend to make careless errors on tests, take the time to review your answers before handing in your next exam. Check formulas against your notes or textbook to make sure they're right before turning in your homework. Try going the extra mile on your next paper, researching at least one additional source, even if you think you have all the info you need.
8. Pay Attention to Critique
Paying close attention to feedback you get from teachers or professors can make you aware of repeated mistakes that are hurting your grades. Maybe there's a specific grammatical concept that eludes your understanding, or you continually get a certain physics formula wrong. Never ignore written comments, or even a simple red 'X.'
9. Be Disciplined Outside of School
It's important to remember that your role as a student doesn't end when you exit the classroom. Successful students tend to prioritize work over their social lives. Procrastination can develop into a cycle that prevents you from really enjoying your social time or effectively getting work done. If you're too busy worrying about all the stuff you have to do - rather than getting it done - you're probably not going to have much fun.
10. Use School Resources
Whether you need help in a specific class, a second pair of eyes for your research papers or advice on overcoming academic obstacles, take advantage of student resources at your school. Be aware of all the student services offered on your campus, like academic counseling or tutoring, in case you need them.
Want more GPA-related advice? Learn how to find your study style and raise your GPA.