The Key To Good Grades

Nour Al-kaaby, Staff Writer

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   It happens the same way every time: you are sitting in the front of the class, bottom numb in the old wooden chair. The teacher is passing back thick test packets to class, and you are next. She hands you the test and you read the look in her eyes. When she hands you the packet you quickly search for a grade. Once again, it says 74%. You were so sure this time you would get 100%, you practically flew through that test. No matter how hard you try you just can not seem to get over a B in this class. While studying, you have tried listening to classical music and chewing weird flavored gum; you should have gotten an A at that point. 

   The second quarter being right around the corner means a fresh start and a chance to get the best grades you can. The reason you are probably not doing your best is because of three things: habit, mindset, and lack of drive. 

   We as humans are naturally creatures of habit, whether we like it or not. This is a good and bad thing. For example, when you brush your teeth in the morning it is out of habit, it doesn’t require you to decide anything. But some habits aren’t as important as brushing our teeth, like coming back from school and spending hours on your phone before you realize that it is 6 p.m. and you have to do that paper due at 11:59 that you put off for two weeks. I am not saying that everyone does this, but from the number of aggressive texts I get from my classmates the day an assignment is due, I can safely estimate that a good 60% of high schoolers do. 

   Now, habits cannot be changed; they have to be replaced. Habits work in a cue, routine, reward system. For example, the cue may be that your friend sends you a text, the routine that you checking the text, then tell yourself that you will only briefly check Instagram, then the reward is the dopamine rush you get from using your phone. In order to replace this habit, you can keep the same cue and reward but your routine has to change. For example, when your friend texts you instead of going on Instagram you can try downloading an app like Habitica to keep you on track. Habitica is a self-improvement app that ‘gamify’s’ your life, you get points for being productive and working on your goals. Now when you go on Habitica you will be able to get a dopamine rush from productivity. 

   Mindset is something that can change almost every aspect of your life. “Staying up won’t increase your score,” Daioa Al-kaaby (12) said, “it’ll make you freak out,” Al-kaaby said that as a senior, she finally understands the secret to a good mindset for school, and it is to trick yourself into liking to study. Instead of making school and studying a chore, have fun with it. Some ways you can do that is by being artistic with your notes, starting a bullet journal, playing study games on Quizlet and other sites, start rewarding yourself with candy when you study. Just be creative with it and you will find something you love.

   School is not for everyone, because you clicked on this it is probably important to you. In order to achieve a goal, you need a “why” or a motivation. “Why” is what is driving you to get to this goal. It is basically a powerful thought that keeps you motivated. For example, if your goal is to work out more, you need a motivator such as, “I want to work out more so I can get my summer body”, or “I want to get fit for better health”. It is not just enough to have a motivator but also to imagine that motivation in your head, like imagine your summer body, or your test results from the doctor’s office. Motivators like these can get you a long way and as long as your “why” is meaningful to you and powerful enough that it is guaranteed that you will be working on your goal non-stop. 



Finally, here are some study tips. When you are studying, shut out all distractions, phones, tv, etc. then play some relaxing Lofi or chill pop. “You have to practice, practice, practice,” Mrs. Martin said “for math, reading over notes isn’t as effective, you need to practice problems.” Some things that help me are rewriting my notes once I get home, and if I do not understand the notes I will look for a video or a website that will explain this better. When I study for something like a language I look for websites that will ‘gamify’ the study session so I can pay attention better. For me, each subject has a different and effective way of studying. For example, for English, I read, for science, I rewrite notes and use Quizlet, for history, finally for math, I practice problems and go over my notes. With the 2nd quarter right around the corner, I’m sure these study tips will ensure that you will get that 100% you have been striving for.