Improve Grades

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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An obvious way to improve one's grades at any level of schooling is to become a better test-taker. While new and unorthodox testing standards are creeping into school curricula, the time-tested method of administering exams that cover entire units of information is still de rigeur. You may get 10 percent of your grade from attendance and 15 or 20 percent from class participation, but neither of these will rescue a low grade due to poor test results.

The answer then is to become a savvy test-taker by mastering both the physical and psychological aspects of the craft. Physical strategies include showing up early to prepare your space, wearing loose-fitting clothing, and keeping a snack nearby (if permitted). Psychological components include pacing yourself on long exams and starting with easier questions to help you build confidence for harder ones.

Improve Your Grades with Great Test-Taking Strategies

Another way to get the most out of your performance is to spend a few moments preparing after the test has been administered. It may seem like a race to get through all 100 questions or three essays in an hour or 90 minutes, but taking a few moments at the start can pay off in numerous ways. For one thing, taking a minute or two to scan the entire test can give you an idea of what's to come. Often it's that very uncertainty that is most troubling.

Spending as much as three to five minutes preparing your essays is also a smart way to boost your overall grade. There's no rule stating that you can't use the back of your test sheet to draw up an outline of the points you wish to cover. Once you put them down on paper, you know they'll be there to jog your memory later should you need it. Doing this also lets you write a much more tightly focused essay. Even the best test taking skills can't help you if you don't know the material, however. Strong study skills and the ability to retain information provide the foundation for good grades.

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