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14 Tips to Improve Your GPA

Students attending lecture in library

These GPA-boosting habits will not only help you succeed in high school but in college and beyond.

Get Ahead in Class

  • Take notes. This helps your brain sort out what is important and makes the information easier to retrieve. Go over your notes each day while the lecture is still fresh in your mind.
  • Sit near the front. According to a University of Colorado study, students who sit in the front of the class are more engaged and successful. Some teachers even call the front and middle of the class the “zone of participation”. If you have trouble staying focused and engaged, sitting in the front might make it easier.
  • Speak up. Ask questions and join discussions. You'll retain content much better than if you stay quiet.
  • Keep up. Don't fall behind on assignments. Ask for help if you do.
  • Improve reading and writing skills. This will not only help your high school grades but also help you create strong applications and do better in college. Get help from your English teacher if you struggle with reading comprehension or writing. And, read for pleasure whenever you can. Studies show that students who read for pleasure outside of the classroom get better grades.

Get Organized

  • Write everything down. Whether you use a personal planner or a spiral notebook, keep track of assignments, due dates, and upcoming test dates.
  • Prioritize your study tasks. This will help you avoid procrastination and do your most important tasks first.
  • Develop a study schedule. Time management and college professors alike have long recommended a daily study schedule. The number of hours you spend each day isn’t as important as being consistent and not waiting until exam time to study.

Study Effectively

  • Quiz yourself. Research shows that self-testing, such as with flashcards, helps students retain knowledge more effectively. The results are even better with a friend or study group.
  • Vary your study locations. This keeps your brain alert and allows better retention of the material.
  • Space it out. According to an American Psychological Association article, research shows that spacing out study sessions over a period of time rather than cramming right before a test improves long-term memory. If you have 12 hours to spend on a subject, it’s better to study it for three hours each week for four weeks than to cram all 12 hours into week four.

Take Care of Yourself

  • Get enough sleep. Your brain needs rest to function at its best.
  • Reward yourself. Celebrate your achievements, big and small.
  • Ask for help. If you feel you're floundering, get help from a teacher, counselor, tutor, friend or parent.

What's Next?

Go beyond your GPA. Impress colleges with the challenging courses you are taking. Challenge Yourself: Show Colleges You're Ready describes the types of courses colleges look for.

Impress colleges even further by taking a college class. Taking College Classes in High School shows you how to sign up for college classes and work with your high school to add college credit to your transcript.

The information contained on the CollegeData website is for general informational purposes only and may not apply to you or your situation. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content contained on the CollegeData website without consulting with your parents, high school counselors, admissions representatives or other college counseling professionals. We disclaim all liability for actions you take or fail to take based on any content on the CollegeData website.