Whether you're getting out of the GPA basement or looking for a moderate boost, improving your grade point average can be tough. If you're aiming for a 4.0 GPA every semester and your falling short, trying your best is all you can do. But how do you know if you're really putting in maximum effort?
There's a big difference between working hard and working smart. Putting in the hours doesn't necessarily equate to better results just as getting straight A's won't equate to having a successful career. But doing so certainly puts you in a better position and building a framework is essential to maximizing your chances of success today and in the future. So what steps can you take to make sure you're doing both and putting yourself in the best position to succeed?
Going to class sound obvious but it's an absolute must for anyone looking to perform at the highest level on a consistent basis. Make a deal with yourself that no matter how hung over you are or how pointless you find the lecture to always show up. As Woody Allen says, "90% of life is showing up".
While showing up is a good first step, paying attention is equally important. Paying attention doesn't just mean listening to every word the professor says, it implies note-taking and participating in class discussions. It's a great way to retain information, get class participation credit and ultimately, your money's worth. So start paying more attention and you will see an improvement in your grade point average.
Systems are all about processes. Being a good note-taker starts first with identifying and adopting a strong method just as study sessions are only effective if you have a plan and stick to it. The creation of good systems is the key to success at any level. The more habitual you make them, the greater your chances of getting better grades. So create systems and stick to them.
Not all classes are created equal. Some classes are notoriously more difficult than others and some have more demanding professors. Knowing what you sign up for is critical to scoring well and improving your GPA. If you haven't already, check out Rate My Professor to get a read on your instructor and reach out to students on Reddit forums to inquire about a specific class. Because more often than not, the easier the classes the better your GPA.
Depending on your academic position, taking less credits can be what you need to improve your GPA. Going from a 5 class 15+ credit load to a 12 credit load can be the difference between and 4.0 or 3.5 GPA. Take any advantage you can, even if its means cutting down on your course load.
Knowing what you want to achieve is just as important as execution. That's why those who set goals are more likely to reach them. The trick is to set ambitious goals and then hold yourself accountable. Start by writing down large goals, like "get a 4.0 GPA" , and then underneath that, how you plan on getting there. Examples might include class attendance, participation, and systems. Then break that down further until you get all the way down to the assignment level.
Seeing your classes this way is a great way to micro-manage your scores and start improving your GPA.
Finally, conducting an honest periodic assessment of yourself is another cornerstone of self-improvement. What are your strengths/weaknesses? How can you improve?
Once you identify where you're weak, you have begun the process of improvement. So be honest with yourself, find your flaws and start taking measurable steps to improve them. Because calculating your GPA is a lot more fun when you're typing in "A's".
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