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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20 Simple Changes That Would Actually Make Students Go To Class

The college student's classroom Bill of Rights.


Students, do you ever get the urge to grade your professor on how they taught their class? Do you ever want to email them a list of everything they did wrong in the semester? Well, here's some advice to all professors about what they can do to make classes better. If you're a student, share it and include your favorite points on course feedback surveys. If you're a professor, please consider doing these to make your class more enjoyable and engaging for everyone.

Let us use laptops in class

I know laptops can be distracting if not used properly, but as a professor who is not my high school teacher, it is not your responsibility to make sure I'm not distracted in class. I'm paying thousands of dollars to take this class, and I'm responsible for getting the most out of it. And sometimes, the way I can get the most out of your class is by taking notes on my computer because it's a lot faster than writing it out. Also #savethetrees

Give us at least a week to get our books

I know that I can look up the books for the class before the first day. However, those books are really expensive, so I'm never going to buy them before the first class because I need to ask you if I can buy a cheaper version. Give it a week to come in. You can even scan the first chapter, so we can still do the homework.

Put the schedule on the syllabus

When you give your class the whole schedule ahead of time, it means that I'll actually plan my schedule around your assignments. That means fewer vacations before I have a paper due.

Put the assignment sheets on the syllabus

When I know the assignment a couple weeks before it's due, I can manage my time more effectively. Also, you posting the prompt for the paper a couple days before it's due isn't helping anybody.

Teach your TA how to grade

Everyone has had a TA who thinks they're the greatest thing since sliced bread. They'll tear your assignments apart even in a 101 class. Everyone has also had TAs who don't care and give everyone 100%. If you have multiple TAs, they should all be grading the same way so that some people aren't penalized for having a hard grader. Give your grading TAs a rubric so that they'll grade a little more appropriately.

Don't make homework due right after break

It's called a "break" for a reason.

Curve grades

If the average grade is a C or lower on an assignment, then the problem probably wasn't the students. It was your teaching. Try to understand common mistakes and how you can prevent that in the future, but don't give your students a bad grade for something that wasn't their fault.

Actually be in your office during office hours

What's the point of giving us those hours if you don't even show up? Send an email out if you won't be in your office during your regular hours.

Email back promptly

Students usually have a lot going on, so they will inevitably put things off until the last minute. Understand that and check your email often (because we have to check ours every five minutes, too).

Answer all the questions in an email, not just one

You can't pick and choose what part of an email you should respond to. Read the whole thing and answer all the questions in the email.

Stop telling people that they can come talk to you after class if they have questions

I have 10 minutes to walk from this class across campus to my next class. I can't wait in a line of students to talk to you. Give more options for times to ask questions.

Just cancel class the day before break

You're not an idiot. No one is going to come, and I know you want that day off just as much as we do. At least make attendance optional or extra credit.

Leave comments that explain why we got a grade

Getting a grade back on an assignment gives me an idea of how I did on the assignment, but it tells me nothing about what I did wrong. I need feedback if I'm ever going to improve.

Leave positive feedback, too

When you're telling me what I can do better, let me know what I did well, too. That way, I can be sure to do that again in the future.

Grade things promptly

I know you have a lot to grade and grading takes longer when you give a lot of feedback, but when the time it takes to grade is twice as long as the time I had to complete the assignment, that's ridiculous.

Set a date for when you'll have things graded

If I have to have deadlines, you should, too. That's all I'm saying.

Set our deadline for when you'll actually start grading the assignment

There's no point in forcing us to have an assignment finished on Monday if you're not going to even look at it until Thursday.

Set a late assignments policy

And “no late assignments accepted" is not a policy. I know that we need to learn how to meet deadlines, but as someone who gets overwhelmed and stressed to the point of paralysis at certain points in the semester, I really appreciate even the smallest partial credit on late assignments.

Set an absence policy

And “students must attend every class" is not a policy. Jobs have a set amount of personal days and sick days, so classes should, too. I use my skip days to see more of my family or to see the doctor when I'm sick.

Be understanding

I know being a professor is stressful, so I'm willing to accept things when you mess up sometimes. But I expect you to be understanding with me in exchange.

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What Is Really Wrong With The Lori Loughlin Scandal?

This scandal has really caused a debate on multiple platforms on whether or not justice will be given to the rich and the famous.


Last week, news came out with a report that actress, Lori Loughlin, along with other important lawyers and doctors paid or cheated their way for their children to attend prestigious universities. So, what is really wrong with this scandal? Surely, the primary thing is that she considered herself at an advantage to paying $500,000 to the University of Southern California for both of her daughters to be accepted there. Due to both of her daughters' academic situations, the girls would not have been accepted as their grades meet below average qualifications. However, because of this bribery, they were put on as recruits for the university's crew team and accepted into the college as athletes.

These girls took away opportunities from other hardworking students who possibly deserved to be accepted into the university. Athletes who have trained for years and years were not put on the crew team because of the bribe. The girls, however, were allowed entrance to this elite school without ever having to compete in crew to be accepted. Students who have studied long hours and tried their hardest are being unjustly rejected because they can't pay their way in. Meanwhile, in one of Olivia Jade's videos, she complained, "I don't really care about school". She only wanted to go because of parties and friends as she states earlier in the video. Also, these universities aren't really considered credible to the fact that they have partaken in bribery. This produces a rippling effect that affects those who actually worked hard to get into USC or any other school. It causes people to question whether it is reputable in the admissions process.

Also, with Lori Loughlin, it seems as if there will be no harsh charges brought up against her. With her money, she was released on bail which cost $1 million. Many seem to believe that there will be almost no jail time at all for this crime because of the fact that she is rich and famous. That is something to be considering as this scandal continues to shape itself into a wake-up call from America's elite to the public.

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