How To Get Straight A’s In College

Getting straight A grades in college may seem like a daunting task. College is definitely a different ballgame than high school. High school for me involved nothing more than going to class, completing assignments, and turning the assignments in. Simple completion of tasks earned me pretty high marks in all of my high school classes. College is a different story. College classes demand attention to detail, the ability to discover and analyze problems, and producing high quality work.

One student may work as hard as they possibly can in a certain course, and then perform poorly on an assignment or exam for not delivering the caliber of quality work the professor demands. How, then, can a student expect to get straight A’s in college? Is it even possible? I am here to tell you it is very possible.

College has a system, just like high school. In high school, you learn that you have to do certain things to get straight A’s. It is the same in college, only the actions you must take to get the results you desire (straight A’s) are different. The remainder of this article will outline steps that any student willing to put in the effort can take to achieve straight A’s in college.

Read the Syllabus

Usually before classes even start, you will receive a syllabus outlining detailed information for the course. It lists assignment due dates, exam dates, and other course information. Many students lose the syllabus and never seem to know what is going on. Before class starts, read the syllabus all the way through. This will give you an idea of the important points the class will present. It also gives you a long-term vision of the types of things you will learn.

Get Organized

I recommend having a three-ring binder for each class. Put the syllabus in the front and any other material received in class behind it. Save graded assignments and old exams. These may come in handy later if there is every a discrepancy in your grades. Students who are organized get straight A’s with much less effort than those who are not (source). Also, develop a study schedule. Treat college classes like you would treat a job. Set a time to start studying and a time to stop. Following a disciplined study schedule throughout the term makes final exams much less stressful than they can be as you eliminate unnecessary cramming.

How To Get Straight A's In College

Go To Class

Too many students start college thinking that they only need to go to class when they want to, that they can get the same material from their reading assignments, or that they can team up with a friend and take turns going to class and simply exchange notes later. This kind of thinking won’t produce straight A’s. Half the battle of college is simply showing up. Get out of bed. Get dressed. Go to class. The professor will notice you there.

Make Comments

Now that you are in class, you might as well make a comment or two. Demonstrate to the professor that you are trying to learn the material by becoming actively involved in the class discussion. Volunteer to read. Ask a question. Professors love students who show interest in the subject that they have, in many cases, studied for the last 7-10 years of their lives.

Do the Reading Assignments

On the other hand, many students believe that if they go to class, they don’t need to do the reading assignments. This is also not true for the straight A student. Sure, it might work in a class or two. But the student who wants to confidently expect straight A’s in all of his/her classes will do the reading assignments.

Take Notes

This applies to both reading assignments and class lectures. Outline your reading assignments and jot down any questions you have about material that doesn’t make sense to you. Ask these questions in class, and add the professor’s response to your notes. During class, don’t try to write everything that the professor says down. Write down new things that you learn or concepts that help you understand the material better. After the lecture is over or at the end of the day, take some time to go through your notes again and fill in any missing information. This one discipline of going through your notes soon after the class in which they are discussed will save you a ton of time later and lead you to your goal of straight A’s.

Go See the Professor

Drop by your professor’s office. Say hello. Tell them how much you enjoy their class. Don’t complain. Ask for help if you don’t understand something. If at the end of the semester, your grade is at an A-, but close to an A, the professor will often give you the A because they have seen your face and know you have put in extra effort.

Go See the Teaching Assistant

Go see the teaching assistant for the same reasons you go see the professor. A lot of times the teaching assistant is the one grading your assignments.

Review All Material Before Exams

Before each exam, review all of the material that the exam will cover. If you have followed the steps above and been disciplined, studying for exams will actually be a piece of cake. I often walked into a final exam and scored a 96% or above after 1-2 hours of study because I had taken the time throughout the semester to fill in my notes and outline my reading. Too many students put themselves in a situation where they have to digest an enormous amount of material in a couple of days. For the most part, these are not the students getting straight A’s.

Now you know how to approach college classes. You can get straight A’s and you will get straight A’s if you follow these steps. It is easy to get lazy and fall behind. Don’t let this happen to you. With discipline and effort, however, you can conquer any college class and achieve straight A’s.