Guess what? You’re not the first person to go to school.
If you’re having some problems with your grades, you can learn from the others who have gone through it before.
Like most things in life, you don’t have to re-invent anything. Someone already did it. You just have to learn about what they already discovered.
We recommend you learn, apply and exploit the key areas of math, statistics, human nature, technology, online tools, research, psychology and crowd-sourcing to increase your chances of doing better in the areas of grading and testing.
Sound fun? Yes, we know it does.
Well, if you’re sitting comfortably, we will begin.
Prepare Like a Boy Scout
When you bring one pen to class and it doesn’t work — you look stupid.
Don’t look stupid.
If you are kind of stupid — don’t advertise it.
If your job is to be a student, yet you show up for class with just one dried out pen — you’re not doing your job very well.
Many teachers believe they are training their students to participate in and succeed in life. Succeeding in life almost always involves a certain amount of preparation.
Be prepared for your classes.
Teacher is a Person
Always remember that the teacher is human.
He or she is just a person doing their job. Some days they may like their job; some days they may hate their job.
But, like everyone else who works, they have to set their alarm clock, drag themselves out of bed in the morning, get ready for work and drive to their job at the school.
Don’t make their job harder to do. If you’re a jerk in the classroom or appear to absolutely hate the class — you are making their job harder to do.
Teachers are just people attempting to do their job as well as they can. They have personal lives that can get in the way of that job. It’s just like how you have a personal life that every once in a while can get in the way of you being the perfect student.
So what should you do?
Make an attempt to relate to them as just a person.
While teachers try to give out grades based primarily on objective elements such as test scores, subjective factors such as class participation are often included as well.
And if subjective factors are included, it’s almost impossible for a teacher to not be influenced by how much he or she likes the student.
There is often a razor-thin line between grade levels and if the teacher needs to make a decision one way or the other, you want them to have a favorable opinion of you as a student and as a person.
While this may not happen often, there will be times when your relationship with a teacher can move a grade from a B-plus to an A-minus or, more importantly, from a D+ to a C-minus.
Have you ever wondered why politicians always show up at events where they try to shake hands with as many people as possible? There’s a good reason why they do that. Research has shown time and time again that it is hard for people to vote against someone whom they have had any contact with whatsoever. If a politician shakes hands with someone, that person will most likely vote for them. It’s just human nature.
How does this apply to you? Don’t just be a name in the grade book.
Be a person who the teacher recognizes and knows something about. Maybe even likes a little bit.
Find Out What the Questions Are
Look, teachers are like everyone else. They don’t have lots of free time. They will often reuse some of the same test questions that they have used in the past.
During an instructor’s first few years of teaching a class, they may design and tweak exams, but once they have put together a test they really like, there really isn’t a good reason for them to change it much.
Okay, so find one or two people who have taken this test before. Find out what they remember from the exam. They probably won’t remember too much, but every bit helps.
This can also be applied to projects. Some teachers will assign the same project every year. Find out from previous students what the teacher was looking for.
It’s usually hard to find someone who has had your same class and teacher before. But once you get into your major, it gets a little easier because you will be acquainted with the other students and they all have to take most of the same classes.
Frats and sororities are great sources for this type of information. Just saying.
Watch Where You Sit
Sit in the front half of the class.
You don’t have to sit in the front row, but teachers are human, and they subconsciously believe that students that sit closer to them are more interested in what they have to say than students who are sitting as far away as possible.
Also, sitting in front reduces the amount of distractions that a student can notice.
Now, sitting towards the front may also mean that you can’t get away with non-class related activities. So, it may be harder for you to be on your phone or text or browse the Web, but you’re strong, you should be able to wait until you get out of class to do that anyway.
Watch Who You Sit By
Don’t sit next to the cutest guy or girl in class. It can be too distracting.
While it may be a pleasant distraction, it can be a significant distraction. And you don’t need to make any class any harder.
The typical classroom isn’t the best place to sweep someone off their feet anyway. In the classroom, you don’t have control of the situation. It isn’t designed for romance.
The classroom is a terrific place to make acquaintances and friends, but not of the boyfriend/girlfriend variety. Those types of relationships don’t often happen in the classroom.
You will have more success in this area if you just appear to be interested in the class, not in the other students. Strive to be the smart and maybe mysterious guy/girl that the other students want to get to know, not the other way around.
Ask Great Questions in Class
Be the kid in class that regularly asks great questions. Spend a couple of minutes outside of the classroom coming up with a thoughtful question that the teacher will want to answer.
If the question topic is at all subjective, try to subtly ask the teacher what she thinks.
Teachers get asked dumb questions by students all the time. All the time. Don’t be the girl that asks, “Will this be on the final?”
Instead, be the girl who asks a good question which makes it appear that she is somewhat interested in the class topic, not just her grade.
Don’t Forget to Sleep
Try to get enough sleep. Sounds lame. This really matters.
If you can stay alert and focused in class, you will understand the day’s topic better and remember it longer.
Plus, nothing makes a teacher think a student doesn’t care about his class more than a student literally not being able to stay awake in class.
You don’t want the teacher, when he’s assigning your final grade, to remember you as the guy who couldn’t stay awake while he’s talking. There is nothing more annoying than that to a teacher.
From a physiology view, deep sleep helps repair your muscle and tissue cells. The right amount of sleep can help you fight off or recover faster from viruses and infections. Sleep is also important in helping to reduce stress, anxiety and some of the causes of over-eating.
And when you sleep, your brain processes all the information it experienced during the day and tries to save it as memory.
This is why you should always sleep before an exam rather than staying up all night and attempting to take a test on zero sleep.
Do Something Really Nice or Smart (But Not Too Smart)
If you can do something positive that gets the attention of teachers in your school and shows you in a good light — that’s a good thing.
You could participate in some school organizations or groups, organize a charity benefit, start up a small part-time business, or do something to help out local residents. You are looking to put your name and face out there so that you’re not just one of the many anonymous faces in the classroom.
You want people to walk away with the impression that you are nice, smart and hard working. You do not want them to think you are a know-it-all or a jerk.
If your name happens to comes up in any type of publicity, make sure that you downplay your own involvement. Don’t talk about yourself; Stress the involvement of others.
If you helped build something, emphasize how long it took to build it and how much work it took. If you organized an event, stress how others did all the real work, you just helped organize it.
You are hoping that your teachers will notice your extra-curricular activity and get to know a little bit more about you and maybe it might benefit you later during their grading process.
Consider Going Greek
If you’re just starting college, consider joining a fraternity or sorority.
On average, students involved with the Greek system get a better GPA than non-Greek students do. We’re not saying they’re smarter; they just get a higher GPA.
Why is this? Frats and Sororities have support groups and pooled resources. You want to see a sample of a past exam from a specific tenured professor? A good frat might have that.
If you’re going for the Greek lifestyle option in college, make sure you pick the right fraternity or sorority. Each house has it’s own personality, vibe and family of students. Make sure you find one that fits your personality.
Don’t Be Stupid On Purpose
Some people think that being smart isn’t cool. They think cool kids are different from the really smart kids.
And some kids think that the hot girls and smart girls can’t be the same. Someone is either one or the other.
If you believe this, you could logically conclude that being smart would interfere with being cool or being accepted or being liked by the cool kids. Don’t think this.
Don’t fight being smart. Don’t think that you’ll be more popular if you aren’t smart.
Don’t strive to be the dumb hot girl. Strive to be the smart hot girl.
And if you’re in high school, you should understand that this belief generally goes away as a person gets older.
When you get old and look back on your life, you don’t want to realize that you peaked in high school.
When You Get Stuck, Just Stop
If you’re working on a project and you get to a point where you are stuck, just stop for the day.
Often times, if you sleep on something, or get away from something for a while, your mind will continue to work on the problem in your subconscious, and when you approach it again, you may find the answer easier to come up with.
Don’t fight it. Stop and regroup.
Hot for Teacher
When a student enters into an intimate, personal relationship with a teacher, it usually doesn’t end well.
Now, maybe the heart wants what the heart wants, but the odds are just too great and the risks are too high for this to be an avenue for a teacher and a student to willingly go down.
And speaking of going down, when this relationship ends up burning on the ground after the crash, it can adversely affect the reputation of the student and the teacher, if not negatively impact the teacher’s career. And you’re not allowed to ruin a teacher’s career just because you can.
Flirting is fine. It can be fun. Everyone has a good time.
In fact, flirting is a terrific tactic to getting a better grade. But it can’t be obvious that you’re flirting.
Don’t flirt like some stupid girl in a movie. It can’t look like you’re flirting. In fact, it’s so subtle let’s not even call it flirting. You just want to engage in a casual conversation and discuss what’s going on in the class. Nothing more.
Screenwriters in Hollywood understand that the best stories often include sexual tension between two people. It’s the dance, the possibility of the further relationship that might develop between two people that provides the story.
The overriding story line is whether or not the two individuals will get together. That is the story. Once the two people get together as a couple, the story’s over.
Bottom Line: If you want to create a little personal tension in your teacher’s mind, maybe it might work for you. But that’s as far as it should go.
Get to Know Everyone in Your Major
Depending upon how big your school and department are, this could be either easy or difficult.
Don’t view the other students in your major as your competition – you should see them as your comrades. You’re all in this together. It’s easier to work together as a team than it is to try to go at it all by yourself.
And don’t be cliquey or dismissive of any of the other students. You don’t know enough about them yet.
That one student you don’t want to include now could end up saving your ass or even becoming a great friend one day.
Don’t judge. And leave no fellow student behind.
Remember to Take the Long View
When you get frustrated with your current school and life situation, remember that it’s just temporary. Things will change soon. There will be a time when high school and college are just memories.
Emotions are magnified for individuals during their school years. We get it.
But things change. Everything changes. When things are hard, you need to keep moving forward. One more day, one more week, keep moving forward.
Semesters end. School years end. Students graduate. People move on. And so will you.
The typical person’s work life is 40 years. College is four years.
Use school to help you prepare to get the career you want after you graduate.
Don’t just spend your college years in classes you think are fun, always be thinking about the type of career you would like to have one day and reverse engineer your student career.
If your college major or minor or extracurricular activities successfully prepare you to get into the kind of job you really want, you’re going to be pretty happy about it sooner than you know.