Friday, January 13, 2012

How to Get Straight A's in College

Hey all,

Haven't blogged in awhile, but I've been on break since I've finished my first semester at college.  I'm happy to report that I got an A in six of my courses and an A- in my seventh.  However, that class was worth only one credit, so my overall GPA was hardly effected.

I guess for me, I've made big changes since I've entered college.  My social habits have changed and influenced my study habits, apparently for the better.

I have some tips that helped me this semester.  Just keep in mind that the classes I took were really only sophomore level, so I can't say that this will work for other years.  Also, I'm majoring in Biomedical Engineering, so the coursework is fairly rigorous.  Anyway, on with the tips.

  1. Take notes or don't take notes.  This sounds more confusing than it is.  Basically, if taking notes got you good grades in high school, consider taking them in college.  For me, I always took notes in high school, but I found that I hated doing it and I rarely referred back to them before a test.  So, in college, I didn't take notes; I just listened closely to the teacher.
  2. Skim the chapter before class.  Some classes can get confusing quickly.  If you don't preview the material ahead of time, you're going to have trouble during class.  All this means that you're going to have to do a lot of studying later on.
  3. Study.  You can choose how you want to do this.  In high school, I studied every night, going over all the material I learned that day.  However, to be brutally honest, I didn't study until the night before a test in college...sans the finals since those are a wee bit more important.  Teachers like to tell you that cramming doesn't work.  But believe you me, it does.  You can hold seven (give or take two) pieces of information IMMEDIATELY before a test.  If you 'study' the night before, you can put some stuff into long term memory and the rest can go in your short term cache.  The point is study one way or another.
  4. Socialize.  If you hate people, go do something counter productive.  Watch TV, go bowling, or if you're like me, play 10 hours of Super Smash Bros. Melee each week.  10 hours is possibly more than what I played in a whole year in high school.  So I guess you could say I'm less studious, now.  The thing is, I feel like 'wasting' this time makes me relax and get away from the coursework.  Balance academics with fun-stuff.
  5. Shoot for a higher grade than you really want.  For instance, if you want a B, shoot for an A-.  You might not get an A-, but you'll be closer to a B.  That being said, if you are probably going to get a C, don't shoot for an A.  If you fail, you'll be depressingly miserable.  Finally, if you're probably going to get an A, shoot for the highest grade in the class.  That sounds pretentious, but it works.  If you make grades a competitive sort of thing, you'll do better because you think it matters more.
  6. Final tip: Study like an Asian.  Remember when I said I studied the day before a test?  I meant it.  However, that didn't mean a couple hours.  No.  They were more like 6 or 7 hour sessions with a single break in between.  Did I need all of that time?  No.  It's just what I like to do.  I study until I know I can get an A, then I study an additional 3 or 4 hours.  In the case of my finals, I had 6 days to study for my three finals.  I finished studying in 4.  But I didn't socialize at all until I handed in my exams.  The single most important tip I have is this:  when you think you're done studying, study the material two more times.  Do problems from the workbook if it's a problem-solving type class, like math or physics.  It helps.  It really does.
Thanks for reading,


  1. Thank you for the tips. What recommendations can you give for SATs? especially for balancing between study and cubing?

    1. Do your work for the SATs. Every hour or two, take a 15-30 minute break and cube or do whatever else you want :)

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