Before saying anything, I’d like to emphasize that grades are not a wholesome reflection of your character or your capacity to move the world. Sure, to some extent, grades show comprehension of material. However, being an A student rather than a B student doesn’t necessarily make you a better person, or even a smarter one. At their core, grades are arbitrary numbers that manage to drive students crazy each day. To ease some of that tension, here are my tips for getting better grades going forward.
1. Break Out the Syllabus
This is such an effortless tip that many students seem to skip. When working on projects or essays, have the syllabus on hand. It will tell you all the requirements and expectations of your assignment, so you can make sure you’re hitting all the points while you work.
2. Give Yourself Enough Time
Your 3AM brain doesn’t function nearly as well as your 3PM brain. If you want to produce quality work, don’t wait last minute to complete assignments. Otherwise you’ll be up all night trying to figure out if your sentences are fully coherent. Always remember it doesn’t take any more effort to finish your work now rather than later.
3. Ask To See Examples of Previous Assignments
Sometimes, even after reading the syllabus, the expectations of an assignment can be unclear. To make sure you know what your professor is looking for, ask to see an example. Professors oftentimes save exceptional projects and essays from previous students, so ask to see one and let that serve as a guide. You can model your work after the example to be sure you’re giving the professor what she’s looking for (without plagiarizing, of course).
4. Look It Over More Than Once
Revision is key in college. No matter the project or paper, you can improve the grade you receive simply by rereading what you wrote. In other words, a quick 5 minute read could boost your GPA. I recommend leaving a gap in between the time you finish the assignment and the time you choose to proofread, so your mind has a chance to reset. Looking over assignments allows you to see what phrasing you’d like to change, revise any grammatical errors, and make sure the piece is direct as a whole.
5. Have A Friend Read It
What makes sense to you might not make sense to someone else. A fresh set of eyes can pinpoint mistakes you missed or even lend a different perspective.
6. Make Friends With Your Professors
No one wants to believe it, but professors are biased. That doesn’t mean they’re bad people; it means they’re human. If you’re ever on the cusp of a grade, a professor who favors you will probably give you that little boost. Bear in mind that being friendly doesn’t mean becoming a “teacher’s pet.” Just be respectful, participate in class, and greet your professor around campus.
7. Office Hours
Stop by office hours to discuss your work in progress. Your professors will give you all the feedback you need to head in the right direction. This is effortless as it can take only a few minutes. Not to mention, you can get to know your professors on a more personal level (they’re cooler than you think).
SEE ALSO: 6 Simple Tips to Study Effectively
Joelle Resnik is a student at Boston College pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in both Economics and Communications. She will try to tell you she kayaks in her free time, but you can most definitely find her napping. Don’t confuse her for her twin sister.