It's absolutely important to do all the assigned work if you want to get a 4.0 GPA. I know this may sound obvious, but I am constantly surprised by the amount of people I see that supposedly want to get good grades but then skip out assignments and other forms of assessment. If you don't complete the assigned work at all, then you get 0%.
Everything adds up in the end, so try not to make a habit of just not doing some assigned work because you don't feel like it (I'm sure you'll get this feeling often, but push yourself and do it anyway). If you don't know how to do the assignment, approach your instructor for some guidance. Once you've got this clarity, give the work your all. This way, you can be sure that you're not throwing away those vital marks that contribute to the much-desired 4.0.
As they say, preparation is the key to success. One of the most important ways to get reach a 4.0 GPA is to plan when you can study for exams. It can be quite disastrous if you ignore the big picture of the term and just focus on each day. Because then one day you'll realise you have a big exam next class and you certainly won't be ready for it.
To avoid such a disaster, make sure to make a note of your coming assessments. In school, you must dedicate time to assignments and you must also dedicate time to quizzes, tests and exams.
It's a balancing act, juggling between completing material to hand in, while studying for in-class assessments. You may find it helpful to keep a diary or calendar where you can write down big dates to remember during the term. When you do this, it helps you a lot because you can flick forward to anticipate what your workload might be like in future weeks and plan accordingly.
When you write down your exams and see them in advance you can also set a date that you'll start studying from. Everyone has a different studying style, some start studying a little early, others a little closer to the exam. Whatever the case, it's still good to lay things out on paper so that your exams don't catch you by surprise, as this can cause unnecessary anxiety.
You can then make a study plan that works for you, making a note of the chapters you might study in each session, the practice exercises you might do, etc.
Trying to squeeze work in creates stress. Plan ahead, and give yourself more time than you think you need. Giving myself extra time in my schedule to work on assignments has always proved to be really helpful. Sometimes it's hard to estimate the amount of time an assignment will take, especially when you're in a new class and the assigned work is different to anything you've ever done before. Other times, due to unpredictable life events, your estimate will be wrong and the assignment might drag out a little longer than you expected.
When you give yourself extra time, it also enables you to do your work at a calm, relaxed pace, which will generally improve the quality of the work.
Mid-way through an assignment, you might realise that you were doing it completely wrong. But this is a lot less hassle if you started early and gave yourself enough time to be able to get back on track.
It might also be a good idea to break up your assignments over the span of a couple days. Let's say you have an assignment that will take 3 hours. 3 hours working on one assignment straight is not always the easiest thing to do. But you could make it easier by doing 1.5 hours one day, 1.5 hours the next. And you could throw in a third day where you dedicate an hour or so to work more if the project ends up taking longer than expected.
Staying motivated to do school work can be a challenge - but giving yourself extra time and breaking up the work goes a long way to making it all feel manageable.
My last but perhaps most important tip on getting a 4.0 GPA is to think from the instructor's perspective. Before handing anything in, review the criteria that your teacher will use to grade your work (it's usually available) and check if you've met the outlined requirements.
This is one of the easiest things you can do to check that you're on track. Also, be sure to ask any questions you may have about an assignment ahead of time to make sure you're on the same page as the person who is eventually going to mark your work.
Don't forget to listen. Instructors and professors can be quite vocal about what they are looking for, giving you hints and helpful suggestions in your lectures. Pay attention and make a note of the things they mention. It's not hard, but it makes all the difference.
There are simple, common-sense questions that you can ask yourself as you look over your work. Is this detailed enough? Would my instructor think I've done enough research and given detailed explanations and examples? Does my paper have a thesis statement? Have I linked back my work to the content and major concepts we discussed in class?
Usually, within a few seconds of looking at your draft, you'll be able to provide yourself with an honest answer to the above questions. And you'll be able to make changes where needed!
A 4.0 GPA is certainly achievable if you follow the tips outlined above and go into the term with a positive and hard-working mindset. You'll need to be proactive and self-motivated to keep up with the demands of the term, but it will all be worth it when you receive your stellar grades at the end.
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I recently read a short excerpt by Alain de Botton that made really reflect and think: Can we blame others for not understanding us? Let me explain:
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