02 Apr 2024

Five Simple Strategies to Boost Grades

Are your children motivated to improve their grades? Are some of their grades below expectations? No matter what their grades are now, it is amazing how much they can boost them during the last two months of school. If they are interested in a final push to improve their grades, share this article with them.

1. Turn in the work. One obstacle we see to getting the grades students want is not turning in some assignments. It’s amazing how much difference turning them in can make. Here are some reasons that students don’t turn in assignments:

  • They are past due. Even if your teacher said she would lower the grade for every day past due, this is not necessarily the case. You can send a nice email asking if she could please let you turn in the assignment late since you want to do a good job and learn from it. If you show interest, teachers are often accommodating.
  • There are too many past due assignments and not enough time to do them well. Find out how many points each assignment is worth and prioritize the ones that are worth the most. Get help from a family member, friend, or tutor/academic coach.
  • The assignments are too hard, long, or overwhelming. Meet with the teacher to see how the assignments could be broken down into smaller parts or modified. Get help as needed.

2.  Study efficiently for tests and quizzes. This may seem obvious, but many students either don’t study or just look over the material.

  • Find out how much tests and quizzes are worth towards your class grade. Usually, tests are worth significantly more than quizzes, and it is worth spending the time to ace them. If you don’t do as well as you would like, there is usually an opportunity to re-take them.
  • Find out to the most detail you can about what will be on the test. If this is not obvious, ask the teacher.
  • Do active studying. This means working the different math problems that you expect will be on the test and consistently getting them correct. This means not only reading material and notes for history, but writing down a study guide and questions that you expect will be on the test, and answer them correctly and thoroughly. This means have someone test you on Spanish words and the periodic table.

3.  Participate in Class. No matter what percent of the grade you are told that class participation counts for, it may count more. This is because by participating in class, you show the teacher that you are interested in the material, have thought about it, and have meaningful contributions.

  • Become familiar with the next day’s lesson or class discussion in order come up with meaningful comments and questions in advance.
  • Do your best to find the most interesting parts of the lesson or reading assignment. If you adjust your mindset to wanting to learn and be engaged, you will enjoy school more and improve your grades at the same time.

4.  Talk with your teacher privately. This can be a Zoom meeting or in-person meeting. This is an opportunity to find out how much assignments, quizzes, tests, projects, and class participation are worth towards your grade. You can also show interest in the subject matter, ask questions, and allow the teacher to get to know you. A good impression will help with your grades as well as future references for college applications.

5.  Figure out where you need help. Is it with studying techniques, memorization, time management, nailing down your math facts?

  • Write down a list of things you do well and another list of areas that need improvement. These can be subjects, such as math and writing, or process skills such as organization and time management.
  • For things you do well, write down ways that you will perform at your very best to stand out.
  • For things that need improvement, brainstorm ways to get help.  One-to-one tutoring can make a tremendous difference. Find a tutor here.
  • Be honest with your parents. Let them know if you are in over your head and how they can assist you.

Anyone can improve their grades with the right strategies.  For more tips, check out this article from Princeton Review. You don’t need all A’s, but you can put in the extra mile to enhance your grades from wherever they are to the next level. Like any other skill, it takes determination, motivation, and the ability to see the big picture. If you are planning to go to college, the better your grades, the better your options. But of course, grades should not take an outsize importance. Even if your grades are stellar, it is even more important to have good study skills and to learn valuable information and skills.

Parents, remember that school is your child’s responsibility. You can provide supports and discuss optimal homework time and sleep time. You can be available for questions. But you also need to step back and see what your kids can do on their own. They will be on their own eventually, so childhood and teen years are the times to gradually give them more independence with their own time management and ownership of their responsibilities.

Parents and students, remember to keep up your physical and mental energy by getting proper nutrition, sleep, exercise, fresh air, and whatever makes you happy.

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