Whether you're an "A" student, a "C" student or someone in between, here are five easy ways to earn higher grades.
1. When you're in class, pretend there is a state law prohibiting you from studying the material later.
If you knew you'd never be able to study the material later before tests, you'd pay intense attention in class. You'd try to soak up every piece of information and you'd work to commit it to memory. Pretend that law just went into effect, and watch your study time decrease while your grades increase.
2. Put your hand up at least once a day in each class to ask a question or contribute to the discussion.
Participating keeps your mind engaged. Instead of just passively listening, you're thinking of questions and how to answer those the teacher has asked the class. You'll remember more of the material. And your teachers will be impressed by your enthusiasm for learning.
3. Put yourself on an interruption diet.
When you're studying or doing your homework, eliminate every possible interruption. Don't check Facebook. Don't check email. Don't receive or answer text messages. Just focus and get your work done. You'll learn more in half the time you were spending before.
4. Before you study for your next test, review your last test.
Cal Newport, author of "How to Be a High School Superstar," recommends that you do a testing autopsy after every exam, rigorously examining what went right and what went wrong for you. You can learn a lot about your teachers' testing tendencies by reviewing your past exams. How much of the reading was actually tested? What did your teacher seem to care most about? Testing autopsies help you customize your studying for each class and teacher. You'll constantly be adjusting your approach, like a NASCAR pit team adjusting the settings on a driver's car at every pit stop (did we stretch too far on that one?). So before you start studying, do an autopsy.
5. When studying, pretend you have to teach it to your class tomorrow.
If you can teach it, you know it cold. So instead of just reviewing your math or chemistry or US history, pretend that you're going to have to stand up in class and teach it tomorrow. What would you say? How would you explain it? You'll understand it and remember it much better.