By Patrick Cole
Your GPA, or Grade Point Average takes all the courses you’ve attended, notes how well you did in each as well as how many points it is worth and based on that works out how well you’re doing. For different countries, it is generally worked out differently. In the US it’s based on a 4 point scale, with the 4 being the highest.
Your GPA is a very important score. When you’re in high school it is, along with your test scores and your extra-curricular activities, a vital part of deciding what college you’ll be able to go to. For that reason it’s vital that you keep it as high as possible, so as to give yourself as many opportunities as possible. After all, somebody with high grades can decide to become a bum, if they so choose. A person with low grades, however, will struggle to get a high-flying career.
The obvious question then is, what can you do to pump up your GPA?
Actually go to class
This one’s pretty straightforward. Go to class! Listen to the professors. Get your money’s worth. Sure, the material is also in the books, but the great thing about classes is that the teachers and professors cover the topics in their own way. That means that they will give you a different perspective, which will make it far more likely that you’ll actually be able to grasp the material.
What’s more, often it’s the teachers in charge of the testing. By going to class, you’ll get a pretty good indication what they think matters. That will make it easier to study the material that you need to.
It’s such a simple thing and it makes such a huge difference. It is hugely important for memory. It helps to both make it easier to concentrate and focus as well as lay down the memory afterwards. That means you need to get a good night’s sleep both before and after a class.
So get a good sleep rhythm going, where you generally go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time. If you do this effectively, it will be much easier to both go to sleep and get up. It will become a natural rhythm that your body expects.
When you don’t know, ask
Sure, it’s scary to ask questions. After all, it’s better to have people think you’re an idiot than open your mouth and prove it, right? The thing is, in the long run the only person whose opinion matters in that classroom is the teacher. And they’re going to think you’re far stupider when you don’t know something on the test than when you ask a rather obvious question.
So don’t be embarrassed. Your future is more important than that.
This goes double as in most classes what you’re learning next class builds on what was covered this class. That means that if you don’t know what’s going on today, you’re going to struggle even more the next time. So ask the question. Don’t want to do that in front of everybody? Then approach the professor afterwards.
Hang out with high GPA people
Just hanging out with smart people is already going to make a difference. They discuss strategies which will make studying easier. They’ll make you work harder in order to keep up with them. Heck, sometimes they will just say something that will open up an entirely new world for you.
So befriend the smart people. You’ll get new strategies, new ideas and new habits that will all positively affect your GPA.
It doesn’t end there, either. The smart people have a good shot at making it big later on in life. That means that they won’t just benefit you in terms of your GPA. They’ll benefit you in terms of life in general, as it’s always useful to know people in high places. That is particularly true if you’re looking for a job.
Create or join a study group
Even better than just hanging out with people that are smart is to join a study group with smart people. Here you’re not just talking. Here you’re actually discussing your courses and the material being covered and that’s sure to give you a leg up.
In fact, study groups help in many ways
- Just by going you’re committing yourself to several hours of study.
- They will teach you new study habits as you discuss how to get ready for exams, write essays or retain information.
- They offer you different perspectives, thereby giving you a more rounded understanding of the course material and teacher expectations.
- They can be very useful if you do have to miss a class or if you didn’t understand something the teacher said.
Really, study groups are full of upsides. The only way there can be any downsides is if you find one where people are less focused than you are. So, make sure you find a good one with people who are at least as eager to get good grades as you are.
As you might have noticed, there are no simple tricks that will immediately boost your grades. That’s because GPA, as the name implies, are an average, which means that as you collect more grades, each individual grade will have less of an impact.
For that reason, you’ve got to stay with it and aim to have high grades right from the beginning. In that case, even if you do get a bad grade later on, all these other grades will act as buffers keeping your GPA high and your opportunities many.
Of course, it also works the other way around. Once you’ve got a lot of bad grades, you’re going to struggle to raise your GPA. So don’t let that happen. Give yourself breathing space by hitting the ground running. Then you’ll be in a great position to take a few bumps if life happens to get in the way.
And trust me, life always gets in the way.
Patrick Cole is a passionate writer and contributor to several websites. Loves to write about education and self-realization. You can connect with him via Twitter