11 Tips To Excel In School, From A Straight-A Student

11 Tips To Excel In School, From A Straight-A Student

Start the school year off strong.

Struggling in school? Feel overloaded with homework, classwork, reading, quizzes and exams? Here are 11 tips to start the school year off strong!

1. Pay attention.

This may seem obvious, but it actually works. Pay attention when your teacher or professor talks, even if it seems like they're talking about the most insignificant of things. Many times teachers will put small, seemingly insignificant details on assessments just to see if you were paying attention. You could gain (or lose) a few extra points, which could mean the difference between a C and a B or a B and an A.

2. Expect the worst.

I've found this technique to be very helpful — basically, expect the worst, and everything will turn out better. The summer before sophomore year of high school, I was panicking, because I was going to take my first AP classes the coming school year. I had taken none in freshmen year, and I was about to take three. I kept on imagining scenarios in which I received failing grades on every assignment I turned in or when I was laboring hours and hours on endless homework. I expected these classes to be hard. Faced with that mindset, I walked into school expecting the worst — only to find that these classes weren't as hard as I imagined and that some were even interesting.

3. Exercise

You may think exercising is a waste of time, especially when you could be finishing homework or hanging out with friends, but it actually saves time. How? Exercise over time is proven to make you feel more energetic and healthy. That way, you won't feel tired all the time and might (not promising anything, though) perform better on tests or quizzes.

4. Study every day!

Even if you don't have any exams or quizzes the next day, find the time to study a little bit of everything. It will help you retain more information, and on AP exams, it will help so that you don't have to cram everything in the night before.

5. Take a break.

For every 30 to 45 minutes of doing homework, take a five- or 10-minute break. This break allows you to refocus and take your mind off work. You can eat a snack, or close your eyes. Taking a break prevents you from tiring out your brain and helps you to re-concentrate.

6. Be prepared.

This one is also a no-brainer, but be prepared — not only in bringing all supplies to class but also in terms of knowing the material. You never know when the teacher will give the class an unexpected quiz.

7. Ask questions!

If you don't understand something, ask questions. I used to not pay attention in class; then when my teacher asked the class if anyone had questions, I wouldn't raise my hand. The first few quizzes in that class were all below 80. But as soon as I started to pay attention and asked the teacher whenever I didn't understand anything, I grasped the concept faster and better.

8. Study right before sleeping.

Studies have shown that studying right before going to bed is helpful. You remember and retain information better, and your memory will drastically improve.

9. Review notes the day of the test.

Whenever you have time during the day of the test, whether it be during a free period or lunch, review your notes. That way you have the information fresh. However, keep in mind that reviewing notes the day of the test does not mean studying the day of the test. You should have studied the night before (at least a little), and reviewing the notes only means reading over them to keep the information fresh.

10. Don't procrastinate.

We're all guilty of procrastination. "I'll just do it tomorrow, it's not even due until Thursday." Then, on Wednesday night — frantically trying to finish. Procrastination isn't good. Plan your schedule so you will have additional time to start what you need to finish, and don't leave it all to do the night before. Some extra incentives of not procrastinating are extra time, more sleep and less stress!

11. Keep track of time.

This applies not only to homework but also to quizzes, exams and tests. Plan out mentally or physically how long each subject's homework will take you (and don't forget breaks). I also try to plan what time go to sleep and when to wake up, so make sure to take that into account too. On tests, exams, quizzes and even the SAT, know how much time you have, and if you're stuck on a problem, skip it and come back to it later. Who knows? Maybe the next few problems will give the answer to the one you didn't know.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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50 Things to Do When You're Bored and Completely Alone


For people like me, spring break is a time where you come home and have absolutely nothing to do. You're parents work all day and you're either sibling-less or your siblings have already moved out. Most of your friends are on the semester system, so your breaks don't line up. You're bored and completely alone.

Although while being alone sounds boring, sometimes it's nice to just hang out with yourself. There is a plethora of unique and creative things you can do. Netflix marathon? That's overdone. Doing something productive or worthwhile? You do enough of that in school anyway. Whatever the reason is for you being alone, I have assembled a list of unique things to do to cure your boredom.

SEE ALSO: 50 Things To Do Instead of Finishing Your Homework

  1. Have a solo dance party.
  2. Teach yourself how to do an Australian accent (or any accent for that matter).
  3. Learn how to play harmonica (or any instrument for that matter).
  4. Buy an at home workout DVD.
  5. Bake a cake (and eat the whole thing for yourself).
  6. Take a rollaway chair and ride it down the driveway.
  7. Paint a self-portrait.
  8. Plant some flowers in your backyard.
  9. Become a master at air-guitar.
  10. Perform a concert (just for yourself).
  11. Write a novel.
  12. Become an expert on quantum mechanics.
  13. Give yourself a new hairdo.
  14. Knit a sweater (if you don't know how, learn).
  15. Make a bunch of origami paper cranes and decorate your house with them.
  16. Make homemade popsicles.
  17. Reorganize your entire closet.
  18. Put together a funky new outfit.
  19. Make a short film.
  20. Try to hold a handstand for as long as possible.
  21. Memorize the lyrics to all of your favorite songs.
  22. Create a website.
  23. Go on Club Penguin and troll a bunch of children.
  24. Become your favorite fictional character.
  25. Become your favorite animal.
  26. Practice your autograph for when you become famous.
  27. Create a magical potion.
  28. Learn a few spells.
  29. Learn how to become a Jedi.
  30. Put the TV on mute and overdub it with your own voice.
  31. Make paper hats with old newspapers.
  32. Become a master at jump roping tricks.
  33. Create music playlists based on random things, like colors.
  34. Find a chunk of wood and carve something out of it.
  35. Find something that doesn't have a Wikipedia page and create one for it.
  36. Create a full course meal based on whatever's in your kitchen.
  37. Teach your pet a new trick.
  38. Take a bunch of artsy photographs.
  39. Make a scrapbook.
  40. Learn a bunch of new words and incorporate them into your speech.
  41. Try to draw the most perfect circle without using a compass.
  42. Make your own board game.
  43. Memorize some poetry well enough so you can recite it.
  44. Build a fleet of sailboats and float them in your bathtub/pool.
  45. Write a song.
  46. Practice picking locks.
  47. Make a drum kit out of random household items and play it.
  48. Draw a tattoo on yourself.
  49. Give yourself a new piercing.
  50. Figure out the meaning of life.
Cover Image Credit: Josh

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High School Seniors Should Be Excited For College, Not Scared

Even though it seems stressful and it is a big new place, it will be some of the best memories you will have for life.


Going into the summer after my high school graduation, all I could think about was college, and how I was going to prepare to go to a new school and move away from home. Just know, it is not as stressful as you prepare yourself for it to be. You don't need to worry about not having any friends or not knowing how to get to all the different buildings because you have to remember everyone else on campus has been in the exact same position you are in, and there are tons of people on campus to help you.

One of the things I was most worried about was classes and how to know which classes to take. My advice is to go to counseling and plan out your classes before you register. Planning out classes will drastically help you stay on track and the counselors will help you make a balanced schedule that you can actually handle.

Another piece of advice would be to not bring as much stuff for your dorm as you think you will need. By all means, bring the essential things that you will need, but remember a dorm room is very small and you share it with another person. You won't have a ton of space for extra stuff and you want to have space to move around and actually live in your dorm.

Finally, if you are concerned about meeting people and making friends, just try and be as outgoing and open as possible. Everyone else in the dorms is just as nervous as you are too meet people, it really helps to try to branch out. Joining clubs or greek life also helps you meet people around campus with common interests as you.

College is not something to be scared of. Even though it seems stressful and it is a big new place, it will be some of the best memories you will have for life.


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