I’m not a professional, but I am a junior college student who has had plenty of time to struggle with trying to raise a grade. Whether it’s five points or a whole letter grade, here are 10 ways I’ve tried to successfully raise a grade in 10 days.
Cliché, I know, but I have spent far too many hours not studying and thinking that the test will be an absolute breeze. The next thing I know, I’ve been staring at the test for 30 minutes trying to find a way to remember everything I didn’t study. Studying can be boring, but spice it up a little. One trick I found useful is rewarding myself. After I wrote out all of my flashcards, I would reward myself with a break, or some Swedish fish if we’re being honest. After I actually studied my flashcards, I rewarded myself with another break, or an episode on Netflix. These breaks help me have something to look forward to during my study sessions, thus creating more desire to open the books.
2: Extra Credit
Some professors may offer extra credit. Whether it’s during the school year or one week prior to finals, extra credit can really help boost your grade, in my experience. One extra credit opportunity I’ve had was to watch a movie and write a response to it. No, I didn’t like watching the movie, but I did like watching my grade rise.
3: Do assignments you’ve missed
Sometimes when I’m really struggling, I’ll do all of the assignments I missed throughout the semester and hope that my professor accepts them. Most of the time, they’ll only accept one or two assignments, but that’s better than none. In my experience, if the professor sees the effort you’ve put in, they’ll give a few extra points when calculating your final grade. Don’t get me wrong, not every professor will accept your late assignments, and that is totally understandable, but when you’re in a jam to make that 3.0 GPA, anything is worth a shot.
4: Stay after class
Staying those extra 15 minutes after class can really help save your grade. Talk to your professor about assignments you’re missing. Let them know that you realize you’ve been struggling in class and ask them their advice on how to better your grade. Personally, my past professors have appreciated students taking the time to sit down and talk about what they can do differently in class. Professors have office hours for a reason. Take a deep breath and approach your grade directly.
5: Seclude yourself
Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends, but sometimes they can be a distraction. My roommates love to blast music and clean the apartment 24/7, causing me to procrastinate all of my work. If you have your own room, close the door and take some time for yourself. I spent my first two years of college sharing a room with two other people, and it was hard to find space for myself. There are so many places on campus where you can go to be by yourself and really focus on the task at hand. Spaces I’ve found helpful are the library, the Mountain View Room and, my favorite- the dining commons. I’ve found that having a bite to eat while doing my work really helps me concentrate too.
6: Spend a night in
Sometimes a night on the town can take a toll on your body, physically and mentally. Like I said, I’m not a professional, but from personal experience, dancing the night away with my girls makes me want to spend the entire next day lying in bed doing nothing but binge watching my favorite Netflix series. Spending a night in not only forces me to think about all of the studying I have to do, but also forces me to open the books and actually study something before taking my final.
I can’t stress this one enough. Throughout my five semesters here at Keene State, I’ve realized that all of my professors have a large percentage of students’ final grades designated to participation. Raise your hand. Even if you don’t have the right answer, share your opinion on the subject at hand. Professors in my past have really taken my participation into consideration, and I have seen a significant change in my grade once I started raising my hand in class.
College can be a crazy time: clubs, sports, class, sometimes I feel like I never have time for myself. I’ve learned that prioritizing my time has been a huge stress reliever. Especially during finals, I like to put my schoolwork ahead of anything else. I like to ask myself, “Do you really need to go to the store, or are you just trying to waste time? Do you really need to watch the next four episodes of Black Mirror on Netflix, or are you just trying to waste time?” Usually, I really am just trying to waste time, but making a to-do list has helped me get my schoolwork done first, that way I can enjoy Netflix at the end of the day, stress free.
9: Drop the phone
It’s hard, I know. But I’ve learned that when it comes to studying and finishing late assignments, my phone can be the biggest distraction. Social media such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat can be appealing. When a notification pops up, I can’t help but stop my work and pick up my phone. My advice to you is to leave your phone at home. Going to the library? Leave your phone in your room. For me, my phone is my life. That’s how I communicate every day, but sometimes putting the phone down creates an opportunity for hours of studying that you never knew you were capable of.
10: See a tutor
KSC student tutors get paid for you to see them. In the past, I’ve had professors introduce the class tutor during the class period. This really helped because I knew I had someone on my side to help when I was struggling. If you’re looking for a tutor, ask your professor if they know anyone tutoring for their specific class. The Aspire Program can also help set you up with a tutor. They are located on the first floor of the Elliot Center.
Let’s recap. These are 10 ways I have successfully raised my grade in the last three years at KSC. No, I am not a professional. Yes, I am an academically experienced student who has taken over 25 classes so far. I have so much more to learn, and I commend those who don’t need these tips to raise their grade. Props to those who maintain a consistent grade in their classes, but for those in the same boat as I, I hope these tips have helped.
MacKenzie Clarke can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org