By David Joel Miller.
Learn the secrets of the A students.
If you have struggled in school you may have concluded that getting good grades was beyond your reach. Today more than ever education is important. A two-year college degree today qualifies you for jobs that once only required an 8th grade education. Whether this is your first go around or you are returning to school after many years knowing the secrets of the “A” students can make the road easier.
Sleep more for better grades.
During sleep memory is consolidated. Want to be able to find that fact you studied during the exam? Make sure you show up for the exam well rested. Pulling an “all-nighter” just before the final exam will not make up for all the study time you should have put in beforehand. Study early and often and avoid the last-minute rush.
Life happens. There are all kinds of things to do and distractions that can keep you up late. The most productive people in life and the best students in school budget some hours for sleep and show up rested and ready to take the test.
Drink less alcohol to up your GPA.
One study reported that “D” students drank twice as much alcohol as “A” students. The more you party, the more you abuse drugs and alcohol the less energy you have for study and school.
Alcohol is the granddaddy of grade killers but he has a junior cousin that has been messing up student’s grade recently. Marijuana may seem all good, some people even think it has medicinal properties. Getting good grades is not one of the benefits of lighting that joint up.
Smoking Marijuana scrambles the information going into your brain if you smoke when studying. Smoking before the test scrambles the information as you try to retrieve it. Smoke both times and you start marking test answers that would never make sense if you were clean. Marijuana, specifically THC the active ingredient, stays in your blood stream a lot longer than other drugs. So Marijuana’s memory altering effects can last long after your last smoke.
Go to class if you want better grades.
Some people do not see the benefit from the class they are taking. They think they can just show up for the final and that will get them by. You may be able to pass the test that way, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
I am surprised at the students who pay tuition, sometimes lots of it, and then skip class. This is like buying a ticket for the concert and then showing up for the last encore. You may think you are such a great athlete you can skip practice and still play in the big game. But in the academic game if you are not there for practice you will not know the moves to pick the right test answer.
The more often you go to class the better your chances of absorbing the answer you will need for the test.
Read the book if you want to pass.
There is a reason that classes require books and it is usually not because the bookstore needs to make money on them. The things that the instructor thinks are important are probably in the book. If there are things that are important and not in to book, guess what, the teacher will tell you those things in class. You got the last point on going to class right?
Take notes for better memory.
I see students recording the lecture on their communicator devices. If you are an auditory learner this may help. But think for a moment, you were in class and heard it once already right? Will you really re-listen to all those recordings?
Technology is nice. I see people taking pictures of the power point slides. For visual learners this may help also. So will typing the notes out on your lap top. I do not recommend texting your notes. The test will not be given in text language.
What is very helpful for many students is to take notes the old fashion way. This is not because the old way is necessarily the best way. I am a big fan of indoor plumbing and running water. What actually does work though is to write out the notes during class.
Writing notes helps keep you on tract and concentrating. I tend to think that one reason we have more attention problems these days is because people are sitting still more and moving less. Writing the notes out helps store the information in the part of the brain that controls those movements. Any surprise, you will need to write them out for the test. You may picture the slide you saved from the power point but you will need to write down the things you saw. Try practicing writing and see if your grades and your memory don’t improve.
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books