How to Get Good Grades in High School: 10 Steps to Success

Doing well in high school can be hard! Here are 10 tips that will help you navigate this difficult time: 

  1. Utilize goal setting techniques: Use a planner, notebook, or journal to set your goals and stick to them. Utilize the SMART technique in setting your goals. To make your goals SMART, make sure they are Specific, Measurable, Relevant, and Timely. Make sure you break larger tasks into smaller tasks to make them easier to manage.


  1. Use a planner to manage your time: Managing your time is essential to achieving your goals, and this is the same with getting good grades. High school is a time of transition and change, so it is important to keep track of your changing schedule diligently. Planning out daily, weekly, and monthly activities in advance, carving out daily study time as well as time for fun and relaxation is vital. Include assignments, homework, and project/test dates daily to stay on track of your academic achievement and progress. Make it a habit to use your planner to schedule everything and your mind will be at ease knowing that you have written down all of your necessary due dates.

  1. Talk to your teachers/mentors regularly & seek help early: Teachers are an invaluable resource and are there to help you. Utilize them as a resource! If you need advice on topics, ask your teacher. If you are having trouble grasping certain concepts, ask your teacher. If you are interested in delving deeper into a specific topic you are interested in, ask your teacher. Extra credit? Need to raise your grade? Ask your teacher!

  1. Utilizing tutoring/mentoring to help you achieve your goals: Learning from others who have already experienced life where you are at gives a unique perspective about what your best steps can be. Tutoring gives one-on-one instruction catered to your individual learning style, and can give a boost to your grade no matter what level you are at. It is an invaluable, but often underutilized resource.

  1. Mindset is everything: Find your inspirational groove to motivate and drive you to achieve your goals: What inspires and motivates you? Is it a particular movie, book, or song? Incorporate it into your pre-study motivation routine! Pump yourself up and set your intention in a fun way-it will truly make a difference when you do school work.

  1. Find out your unique learning style, and use it:  Below is a list of the 7 types of learning styles. Which one speaks most to you? Incorporate more of it into your studying. For example, if you are a visual learner, utilize pictures and diagrams to help you study, even if the materials are simply text (for a history class for example). The idea is to mold the material into a format that will make it easier for you to learn:

  • Visual (spatial):You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.

  • Aural (auditory-musical): You prefer using sound and music.

  • Verbal (linguistic): You prefer using words, both in speech and writing.

  • Physical (kinesthetic): You prefer using your body, hands and sense of touch.

  • Logical (mathematical): You prefer using logic, reasoning and systems.

  • Social (interpersonal): You prefer to learn in groups or with other people.

  • Solitary (intrapersonal): You prefer to work alone and use self-study.

  1. Prioritize self-care & routine: Routine and scheduling is one of the biggest factors that you can control and work on with regards to your grades. Getting enough sleep, waking up early, eating nutritious meals, and getting enough exercise are all part of this. Mental health, stress management and positive talk are all important as well; in combination, make sure you are putting your health as a priority in order to perform your best.


  1. If you are having a difficult time, know that you are not alone: Many students go through difficulties with regards to their grades. It is all a part of your journey in becoming the best student (and person) that you can be. Bad grades do not mean you cannot achieve greater: you CAN. It just takes a shift in mindset and is a matter of implementing the habits to make you the best you can be.


  1. Redefine failure as a notch on your road to success: Failure is not a bad thing. All of the great scholars and accomplished talents of our time have failed and learned from their failures. You don't learn from winning, so in order to grow we have to be put in situations where we must make ourselves better. Use your experiences as a push to propel yourself forward into a new world of improvement. Keep your focus on growth, and you will never fail: you will simply learn.


  1. Take control of your academic career, starting NOW: At the end of the day, no matter how many counselors, tutors, family members, or friends give you advice, this is YOUR academic career. You are the only one who can push yourself to make it happen. You cannot control what has happened in the past, but you do have control over what you will do with what you have experienced. 

Remember this: It's not about what you know, it’s about what you DO. It doesn't matter how much intelligence you have, what matters is how much IMPACT you make. What are you going to do about it?