Getting straight As in college is not easy to do, but it's not an impossible feat, either. With good study habits, class participation and efficient note-taking skills, you can increase your chance of getting all A's and seeing your name on the president's list. Here are 10 guaranteed ways to get all As:
- Go to class and take your own notes
Going to class is the best way to guarantee an A. As tempting as it is to skip and even if attendance is not mandatory for your classes, you should treat it that way by never missing class. For every day you skip or don't pay attention in class, you miss important information that will likely show up on the test. While you're in class, you ought to be taking good notes that you will use to study. Taking notes will keep you alert and allow you to study as you write, making shortcuts and abbreviations that only make sense to you. You cannot depend on your classmates' illegible notes that probably leave important stuff out to teach you any better than your own.
- Visit your professors during office hours
Almost all college professors are required to have office hours, when students can come ask questions and discuss their grades with their professor. This is the optimal time to clarify information you don't understand, go over your test and discuss how you can get an A in the class. Professors tend to be more easygoing and patient during their office hours, so you won't be rushed to ask questions or have a decent conversation. The more you visit your professors during office hours, the greater the chance they'll remember you and take your efforts into account when you're on the edge of a B+ and an A-.
- Study hard and develop smart study habits
Unless every subject comes easy to you, most students have to study long and hard to really understand the material. If you're trying to make straight A's, you've got to learn how to study smart by utilizing your time wisely. Cramming is generally not the most effective way to study, so it's important that you give yourself enough time to prepare for an exam and actually retain the information. Another way to study smart is to know what's going to be on the exam and focus your attention there. It's important for students to develop good study habits, like studying at the same time every day or working on the most difficult assignments first. Smart study habits will help you stay on task and get the most from your study sessions, so you are well prepared and ready to ace your test.
- Participate in class discussions
One of the best ways to get the most from your class and fully understand the course material is to participate in class discussions. Speaking up in class, whether big or small, will show the professor that you've done your reading, you understand the lesson and you are engaged during class. Participating in discussions will help you stay alert and ingrain lessons into your head that will come in handy during tests. Not only will the professor appreciate your contributions to class, but he or she will also become familiar with you, learn your name and help you achieve your goal of getting an A. In order to make the best impression, introduce yourself the first day of class, sit in the front row and be respectful by not talking, texting or showing up late. Forget about looking like a teacher's pet, because you will be setting an example for yourself and the rest of the class.
- Do your homework
Whether it's reading 20 pages a night or completing math exercises, doing your homework is the best way to stay on track with schoolwork and comprehend the course material. Homework is less emphasized in college and may not be mandatory, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do recommended readings, practice math exercises or rough drafts to make sure you are getting the hang of things. Visit your professor during office hours to see if your homework is right and make corrections as need be. In addition to your lecture notes, homework will help you prepare for a test because you may see the same types of questions on the exam.
- Study at the library
Everyone has different study habits, but most students need to be in a quiet, non-distracting environment to study. University libraries are by far the best places to study because they offer a quiet, professional atmosphere, as well as study carrels, study rooms and countless texts to help you study efficiently. Libraries cater to students' many academic needs and encourage quiet, individual study that will help you focus and better understand the information you're studying. Studying at home can be very unproductive because of the countless distractions surrounding you, like computers, televisions, roommates and music. To get the most out of your study sessions and ensure all A's, do yourself a favor and study at the library.
- Pick easy classes when you can
Every once in a while you'll have the opportunity to take electives and classes for your major that are considered easy As. These blow-off courses are great GPA boosters and a nice break from your other demanding classes. But, just because these classes may be easier doesn't mean you can slack off and skip — you've still got to work for an A.
- Stay on top of your grades
Whether you ask your professor for your grade or calculate it on your own, staying on top of your grades is very important. It's advised that you keep tabs on every graded quiz, test, essay, project and extra credit assignment you complete to know exactly where your grade stands. When the add/drop period or midterms come around, you'll have a better idea if an A is still within your reach. If you are displeased with your current grade, then talk with your professor and ask about extra credit opportunities, or consider dropping the course to avoid a bad grade that could hurt your overall GPA.
- Work ahead
If you know you have a project due in two weeks, don't wait until the night before it's due to start working on it. Procrastination may work for some students, but it can also cause a great deal of unnecessary stress, major errors and missed deadlines. In order to earn straight As you may be relegated to the library on some Friday nights or have to miss a football game here and there to work ahead. Working ahead requires organization and time management. So, do yourself a favor and get a planner or calendar and write down exam dates, quiz dates and due dates to help you stay on top of things. When the time comes to take your exam or turn in your essay or project, you'll be well-prepared and less anxious than your fellow colleagues, who probably pulled all-nighters.
- Research your professors before enrolling
Let's face it — professors can make a class as difficult or easy as they want, and that could mean the difference between an A or a B. Every professor has their own teaching style and requirements that make classes easier or harder, so it may be in your best interest to research your professors before signing up for their class. If multiple professors teach your harder major courses, then you'll want to find out who's the easiest, highest-rated professor. This can be done by searching multiple online professor rating sites that are based on student feedback. An easier teacher may mean less class requirements and easier tests, but that doesn't mean it will be a breeze and you won't have to study just as much as any other class to ensure an A.