The Secret to Achieving a 4.0 in College

Ok so I lied-

The title is a bit deceiving because there is no “secret” to achieving A’s in  school. Maybe I should have waited to tell you because now you’re going to click the back button…

(Please don’t leave me, I have good stuff I promise!)

So one day I was sitting in class and a girl came up to me and asked:

“How did you get such a good grade on that test? It was so hard!”

“I don’t know…I just studied hard,” I replied.

“But what did you do?” She asked expectantly.

“Well…” I answered, “I took good notes in class, then I re-wrote all of my notes and took the vocab and main points from each chapter in the book and added them to my notes. I then made little packets for each chapter or section  using those notes and vocab. I reviewed each packet over and over until I could basically rewrite the entire thing.”

She looked at me her eyes glazing over and said, “Nah…that’s too much,” and she walked away.


I think the number 1 thing I have learned in college is that you don’t have to be the smartest kid in the class, instead you have to be the hardest worker. Someone could be a genius, but if they are unwilling to put in the effort, then I could outwork them. This has always been my philosophy.

Also just doing the work!

So many of my classmates would totally forget assignments or would even just forget to print it out. These are grades and points that go straight into the garbage…do not be a throw away student when it comes to simple points. Small assignments add up over time!

Here are some tips to help you get to the 4.0 you want, but in no means are they “quick fixes,” or the easy way out. If you want that head on over to Sparknotes…they’ll fix you right up…

(Just kidding.  Sparknotes  is actually a great supplement to help you with literature you’ve already read.)



Get To Know Your Professor 

I am not saying to get on their good side out of manipulation, I am saying to go to their office hours and ask questions. Ask them how you can improve and what you should be working on to get better. Email them, and make them remember you! You want your professor to know you by name within the first two weeks of class.

This also means sitting up towards the front of the class and looking your professor in the eye as they lecture. This shows that you care. But do not over do this, you don’t want to be annoying. Genuinely care about the class and what you are learning, and the teacher will definitely notice.


Put a Lot of Effort Into Your Work 

As an English major, I spend oodles of time writing, rewriting, and revising/editing my essays or creative works before I ever turn them in. I know so many people that claim their best writing happens when they begin their essay the night before it is due. And somehow that pressure makes them crank out a “good” essay.

I can tell you now that’s a bunch of you know what…

Writing an essay the night before means you’ll be turning in a first draft. NEVER turn in a first draft. My first drafts suck. Starting the project early or right on time gives you a chance to mull over your ideas.

Don’t write for the grade, write because you have something to say.

(I totally just rhymed. Love it.)

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Get Competitive

 Ok so I am SUPER competitive. It’s survival of the fittest out there in the academic world and I always strive to be the best (even when I don’t make it). Just like with sports, try to be the MVP of your class. I know I sound like a complete dork here…but it’s true. Healthy competition can be a great driving force to make good grades.  You know that one kid who thinks he knows it all, try to get a higher grade than him on the next test. You never know you just might do it!

Prove people wrong, and crush their low expectations.

Love Knowledge, and Become an Academic 

Lot’s of students will talk the talk, but will not get good grades…Don’t let this happen to you. Don’t think about school as annoying, or a waste of time, instead think of it as unlocking new ways of thinking, or opening your mind to something you didn’t know before.

Take an extra step and watch lectures on YouTube or watch TED Talks. This is especially helpful if you are having trouble understanding something. I do this all the time, and I actually enjoy it!


Review, Review, Review Until You Are Tired of Reviewing 

Read your notes over and over again. Then re-write your notes over and over again. Copying your notes into a new notebook can be very beneficial for retaining information. After you have copied and read your notes, read and copy them some more. Do this until you feel like you could write them all out by memory. Then think about the subject in your head throughout the day to lock in a deeper sense of understanding. If you are having trouble sleeping repeat your notes in you head or what you learned in class that day until you finally fall asleep.

Basically review until you just can’t do it anymore…


Make long term and short term academic goals and stick to them! That could be graduating Cum Laude, or getting into an honor society. This could even be as simple as making a better grade on your next test.

Knowledge opens your mind to new worlds. It truly is the key to a deeper understanding of the world we live in. So don’t just think of it as a grade or assignment think of it as gaining understanding and bettering yourself.

Happy Learning!



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