How to Improve Your Academic Performance

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Sophie Marcus, Writer

Many factors come into play when it comes to talking about one’s level of intelligence. There are many different things to take into consideration, like the class level a student is in, how a student uses their knowledge and skills, and the quality of their work. But how can you succeed in school and get good grades?

Step 1: Get Into “That” Mindset

The first step you need to tackle is asking yourself, “What is it that I would like to succeed at?” Analyzing what you want to do is essential in holding yourself accountable for staying on task. 

One of the biggest mistakes a person can make is comparing their work to others. Each person grows at their own pace, and that’s okay. Therefore, copying your friends’ homework answers or cheating during a test only weakens your education. Later on in life, you are going to need strong work habits for whatever job you end up doing.

If you are struggling with school as a whole, you first want to take a step back and look at your actions from a bigger stance. Whether it is that you know your potential and you are not utilizing it, or maybe it is that you just need to discover that potential, you first need to recognize what you would like to accomplish. Goals are not only important in achieving a dream, but they are so important to look back on and reflect on how much closer you are to accomplishing your goals.

Step 2: Get Involved In Class

Getting involved looks different for everyone. If you are shy, then maybe start challenging yourself by participating in class discussions and answering questions. Sure listening to a class discussion is informative, but adding your opinion to the conversation allows others to gain a new perspective and gain more insight on the topic.

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Do not be afraid to ask questions. Oftentimes, people are afraid to ask questions during class or are embarrassed that others will judge them for raising their hand. However, if you have a question or need clarification on something, you need to be able to ask your teacher for assistance. 

Once you are challenging yourself to step out of your comfort zone, make sure you get the right amount of help that you need. Staying after school is very beneficial when you do not know what you are doing in class. This improves your knowledge, along with demonstrating to the teacher that you are trying to succeed.

I decided to speak with Pentucket alumni Olivia Nardone for her thoughts on how she improved her grades. Nardone took AP English Literature and AP Psychology at Pentucket and faced some challenges. Nardone said, “Although I took very insightful and detailed notes for Psychology, when a test came around, I found that it was impossible to receive any grade above an 85%, considering that every test was around 150 questions long. This made me mad; all of the effort I put into that class and my grade did not even reflect my hard work.”

Nardone did not give up and decided to make a change to the way she approached learning.  Nardone said, “I started to clarify with my teacher what material would be covered on the test, and I would stay after for test corrections. This was helpful for me, but it also showed my teacher that I could ask for help when needed. Eventually, I ended the quarter with my appropriate grade, an A.”

As shown through Nardone’s actions of change, effort does not go unrecognized. She shows that goals are reachable. One main takeaway from Nardone is that if you realize that your hard work is going unnoticed, you may need to change your technique and seek help. Nardone represents many other students who change their routines to receive a grade that fulfills their satisfaction. 

Lastly, if there is one thing that shows a teacher that a  student is not dedicated to their academics and education, it is skipping class. So it is essential that you attend every class to show the teacher that you are setting yourself up for success.

Step 3: Time Management

The most important step in becoming a successful and well-rounded student is forming the ability to manage your time wisely. In a broad stance, this is not only going to help you through school, but it will help you in life. This can mean putting your phone in another room while studying or making a limited amount of time for other activities until you have finished your schoolwork.


You also must prioritize your schoolwork over your extracurricular activities. Staying on top of your workload is important so that you do not get to a point where you fall behind in a class. Know where your priorities are, and consider how you will manage time properly. Consistency is also a key factor so that you will always have the quality of being able to manage your time no matter what situation you are in.

Studying is a very important tool for a good quiz grade. Although doing all of your school work is important, quizzes and exams are often weighed more than homework, thus showing the importance of receiving a good grade on an exam. Each person has their own definition of what they perceive as a good grade. To improve your grades on quizzes, you must strive to decide what grade you are comfortable receiving. Making an effort on an assignment really shows how you are capturing your full potential in your work. 

Step 4: Did Someone Say Begin to Fall in Love with School?

When you put your best foot forward and try to focus on your school work, do you find that you are just bored out of your mind? One very helpful tip is to start liking school. There are always positive and negative opinions about school, but an essential tip in life is to try to look on the bright side of things. School is a big part of people’s lives, considering how much time people spend in their lives learning. This shows that it is very important to enjoy school to a certain extent. 

Talking to someone about how you feel about school and your workload really helps relieve stress, and it takes a weight off your shoulders. Have you ever worried about having to have the best grades and, as a result, lost sleep?

Maybe you are losing sleep because of trying to get good grades or are stressed over submitting your essay, but remember that working hard and putting in maximum effort for a grade is much more important than receiving a good grade.

When interviewing sophomore Neve Bonura-Learnard, she states that “I have had many sleepless nights over school. However, I shortly changed that work ethic when I realized that I was losing sleep due to thinking about my grades. I changed my obsessive idea of needing to receive good grades and began to focus on putting more effort into genuinely learning the material. Letting go of perfectionism is not easy in the slightest, but the end result is so rewarding.” 

Bonura-Learnard emphasizes how once she focused on her academic morals and really took the pressure off of being perfect, she liked school. School is what you make of it, and you just need to find out what habits work best for you. 

The reader can infer that when Bonura-Learnard analyzed that her time management was not going as successful as it could be, she stepped back and looked at the bigger picture. This bigger picture for Bonura-Learnard was absorbing material and realizing that learning is so much more rewarding and enjoyable than feeling the need for good grades. Bonura-Learnard emphasizes how she has found a love for school by discovering the fun in learning.

Not only is talking to someone about your schoolwork going to relieve stress, but it is also going to help you manipulate time to your advantage. This will help you figure out why you are stressed and turn your stress around into gratitude because that is what you are going to feel when you start liking school. You are in school for mainly the first 25 years of your life, and what you do in that time will be reflected throughout your career. Shortly after talking to someone, you will realize that since you like school now, your grades and knowledge will progress immensely.

Step 5: Recognize Your Worth

A big mistake that is very common among teenagers in school is that they underestimate their abilities. In order to express your knowledge, you must put yourself into situations which you know you will benefit from. You must treat yourself right and know that it is okay to mess up. When you make a mistake, you need to know why it is important to make those mistakes. 

 Everyone makes mistakes, and they are so important to make because they require you to rethink your original plan and challenge yourself to do better. 

Freshman Tey Turner was eager to share her personal experience with mistakes in academics. Turner says, “I wrote my English essay in a way that I set myself up for a successful grade, but then I changed it because I feared that the way I wrote was not fulfilling my teacher’s expectations of how I should write. I was not comfortable changing my writing, but I did, and nonetheless, I received a poor grade. To fix my mistake, I rewrote my essay the original way that I wanted to write it, and I received a better grade.” 

Turner’s actions show that it is okay to make a mistake in order to discover your full potential. Also, she shows how one mistake does not define a person. When faced with hardship, one must perceive through it, and Turner shows a great example of how a person can do that. There is only one person who can determine your future, and that person is you. Utilize a mistake to your advantage and make it into an opportunity to show others what you are capable of being when your actions are unlimited.

Requirements to Success

There are no particular standards that say you have to be a certain person to succeed because that would be a lie. Anyone can overcome a hard time in school and come out of the tunnel as a new person.

 There is one thing that you do need, and that is determination. This is going to inspire you to accomplish things that you did not think you were capable of. You need to believe that you are worthy of straight A’s or a high GPA because, at the end of the day, your main supporter is yourself. 

Do not force perfection. The most significant thing is that you are trying to better yourself. When people say practice makes perfect, they really are right. If you really want to better yourself academically, then challenge yourself to start one step at a time. Let’s succeed!