Five easy ways to get better grades
Getting your hands on an E endorsement at high school is like getting a hot supervisor for your end of year Physics exam: Very Rare and Extremely Unattainable.
And while it’s hailed as some noble requirement to prove you’re smart, the truth is, down the line you won’t even remember the amount of credits you have at each level.
The more important thing is how smart your study strategies are, and how much you’re learning. But we’ll stop there because we know you’re bored of this rant.
Nonetheless, it’s nice to be formally recognised for having learned lots and studied hard.
Luckily for you, we’ve compiled five simple tips to help you build positive and healthy habits that will improve your grades and overall learning experience – putting you on track for an E endorsement in no time. Here they are.
Sweat the small stuff.
NCEA is can be really nitpicky, we know this. So one way to combat this is to start your year out getting into good habits.
This starts with simple things like labelling your axis, writing answers out in full, and not cutting corners.
Don’t play yourself with the – “I’ll remember to write this out later, it’s no big deal now” spiel. The end of that sentence could prove costly, and might mark the difference between a Merit and Excellence.
Remember those nerves you felt in your first exam? They can be pretty distracting, and often when we’re facing an overwhelming challenge, we’ll forget the smaller details that end up adding up.
Be totally present with every session of study you do. If you’re cutting corners, notice it and stop yourself in your tracks. Do things properly and they’ll become second nature eventually.
So start off early, and get into those great habits that mean you’re doing only a couple of seconds longer than your mates, and reaping the benefits.
Surround yourself with like-minded people.
I want you to look at your mate. Look at them right now. Look into their eyes, into their soul. Then tell them without breaking eye contact, “you’re the reason I get bad grades”.
Don’t actually do that – it’d be wrong – and probably quite hurtful. Instead, look at your friend, and say “We can’t sit together in maths anymore because I need to concentrate.”
If you feel like you’re getting distracted, this is a fair call to make. A true friend wouldn’t be mad, provided you’re relatively decent in your delivery. They’d be happy that you’re putting your education first.
I’m sure it’s no surprise to you that your friends can be quite distracting. This is a hard truth to face, but definitely one that’s worth facing.
If we face this hurdle, and start working and studying with those who have similar goals to us, we’ll way better off from the word go. Save time with your wild mates for Karaoke at Bad Grannies on a Friday.
Test yourself regularly.
Your whole life, you’ve probably been taught that there’s the school year, and then there’s exam season.
You know that as you edge closer to exam season, the more you should test yourself, and actually actively study for exams.
But you can exponentially improve your grades by simply applying this mindset to the whole year. Testing yourself throughout the year is a way better time, because it’s the same degree of learning without the anxiety-inducing stakes of exams.
Testing yourself can be as simple as recalling what you learnt in biology the day before while you’re on your way to school. Or, it can be as extensive as planning out an essay for the theme of racism in To Kill A Mockingbird before sitting down to write it.
What you’re doing when you try to recall information is training your brain, and your memory. It’s like a workout for your mind.
Recalling information regularly means your much more likely to retain it long term.
Switch Off Your Phone.
Alright, so now we’re really challenging you.
You’re probably fully aware that your phone is stupidly distracting, and usually pretty mind-numbing.
Most social media (bar StudyTime of course) will be adding unnecessary chaos to your life, especially in the classroom.
We’re not saying you can’t go on social media anymore, but perhaps asking you to use it a bit more selectively.
The best way to think about it is this: The longer you leave your phone off, the more messages, snapchats, and new followers you’ll have when you finally switch it back on.
So whether you switch it off for an hour, a half day or even go the full monty and tell your mates you’ll message them at 3:15, you’ll be rewarded for your patience in extra social media stimulation!
As if that isn’t enough, you’ll also find your attention and enthusiasm during the school day improve dramatically.
Finally, this is one you might find easier. It’s so important to live a healthy, balanced life. School is simply a part of your life growing up, it should never be your life.
It is so important to not get so fixed on doing well in school that you end up draining away other elements of your life. Exercise, socialising, and simply chilling on the couch with the family is actually really important.
School can be stressful, and detaching from this now and then can help you recover and revitalise your motivation and enthusiasm for studying.
Tapping out for periods of time might be exactly what’s needed to help you do better in school. Put yourself first, and you’ll find yourself much more mentally empowered to do well everywhere else.