Having to take difficult classes and pass difficult tests is an important, and sometimes very frustrating, part of life. There are ways of simplifying these challenging tasks, however, and I have picked up on some extremely helpful tips on the matter during my time in high school and college. These tips helped me through some of the hardest courses I’ve ever taken and I hope that you can benefit from them as well.
1) Planning is key!
With the exception of pop-quizzes, you should know the dates of every major test and when every project is due well in advance. Now I consider myself to be one of the great procrastinators of our time, but in retrospect, this is what dropped my GPA more than anything. Manage your time wisely so you are always prepared on test days and are not forced to turn in a project you did in the bathroom fifteen minutes before class.
2) If you don’t understand a lecture, learn the topic off the internet!
Not every teacher has the gift of making a difficult topic easy to understand. If you don’t understand what the teacher is saying in class, pull the subject up on the internet! It is amazing how many free online tutorial devices there are online. YouTube.com, for example, hosts educational videos on a variety of subjects. Many colleges have educational information posted online that you can access for free as well.
3) See the teacher for extra help!
There are several advantages to going to the teacher for help. For one, the teacher is typically the one who writes the test, so by asking their advice on things to focus on and strategies to solving problems, you can get a good idea of how to prepare for the test (Or even the types of problems the teacher will put on the test). Secondly, if participation counts in the class, now the teacher can put a name to your face. Instant participation bonus. Finally, if you are writing a paper or doing a project for a class, show it to the teacher ahead of time and get feedback, as anything the teacher tells you to fix equates to points that she would have deducted had you turned the assignment in as is. This is an invaluable technique in surviving any difficult class.
4) Practice makes perfect!
Unless you have the gift of being able to cram before a test and retain all of the information (you know if this applies to you), studying throughout the semester is a must. By practicing review problems and going over notes on a regular basis, you can make the night before the test so much less dramatic. Cramming only creates stress and deprives you of sleep, therefore, it should only be used as a last resort.
5) Get a good nights sleep before the test day!
This goes off the previous rule that cramming is a bad idea. Statistically, students who get a decent amount of sleep the night before a test do better than their sleep deprived counterparts. If you are trying to achieve the best possible GPA, every little bit counts. Insufficient sleep can be detrimental to a test grade.
Stay focused, manage your time wisely, and study hard, and you will have no problem passing even the most daunting of classes, trust me.