The Steps To Become A Straight A Student


So you want to be a straight A student. That’s great! But before you convince yourself that the only way to succeed is to spend sleepless nights at the library, wired up on coffee, cramming in as many study hours as you possibly can, it’s important to understand that this is not the way. There are much more effective, simple, and realistic ways to make your dreams come true and get those straight As without completely burning yourself out. The most successful students don’t necessarily study harder and longer, but rather, they study smarter. Sometimes, less is more. Here’s how to become a straight A student and the necessary steps for success.



How To Become a Straight A Student

The work that you accomplish is not a factor of how much time you spend studying, but rather the quality of your focus. Most students believe that good grades come only with pulling all nighters, but the real secret is to study smarter, rather than harder.


1. Manage your time in 5 minutes each day


Most students have a tough time with time management, although it’s a critical skill that’s needed to succeed not only in college, but in everything in life. By investing a mere five minutes a day to manage your time, you can live a more stress-free and balanced life without missing out on all the excitement of college.



2. Always have a plan

Make sure to always have a plan ahead of time, and to always be on top of important dates for tests and deadlines. Using a calendar, either a digital or physical one, you can mark dates down and even set scheduled times where you will sit down to study.



3. Be organized

  • Filing


Having a folder to files all of your subjects is a great way to stay organized. Have a section for each subject to avoid confusion, and be sure to place all relevant notes and papers in the right section.


  • Homework


Always be sure to keep a list of your homework and refer to that list every day when you come home from school. Check your calendar at the end of each day as well to make sure that there are no upcoming assignments that you haven’t started yet.


4. Take care of your physical health

  • Sleep


The ideal amount of sleep is eight hours — and some people even need nine hours. Sleeping less can affect your success and your ability to focus while studying. If getting to sleep at an earlier hour is hard for you, try gradually easing yourself into it.


  • Food


Eating healthy will help you focus better when studying, and get the most of the hours you put in. Just like your parents and doctors always told you, be sure to eat regular meals throughout the day, drink enough water, limit sugary drinks, and have plenty of fruits and vegetables.


  • Exercise


Research has found that physical activity improves your thinking skills and memory. Even just three times a week for 30-45 minutes can seriously help you succeed academically.


5. Don’t cram — instead, use a periodic review system


Periodic review has been proven to be more effective than cramming when it comes to studying. By reviewing the course material on a regular basis, it is more likely to really stick with you and you will actually understand the material. Periodic review is also a lot less stressful than cramming at the last minute.



6. Form a homework group


By having a homework group, you can avoid giving up as you may get discouraged and frustrated along the way. Other people in the same boat as you can not only provide support and motivation, but they can also help you understand and solve complex problems.



7. Set up a distraction-free study area


It can be a challenge to avoid distractions while studying. There are apps such as Freedom that can help you stay focused. Turning off your phone and putting it out of sight is also helpful.


Working in a clean area free of clutter can also help avoid distractions. Time your study sessions and make sure that you are giving yourself the breaks you need to succeed.


Rewarding yourself after completing a certain amount of studying also never hurts.



8. Clarify your doubts immediately


Many students will wait until the last minute to clarify doubts they may be having. This can lead to anxiety and panic on test day. Don’t wait! Be sure to always check things right away, as soon as you notice that something is unclear.



9. Increase focus while studying, decrease frequency


The biggest secret to success is to increase your focus while studying, rather than your actual study time. Studies have found that the ideal study sessions are actually just 50 minutes long.



10. Keep a work progress journal to uncover your excuses


Every morning when you wake up, make a list of the most important work that needs to get done for that day. At the end of the day, if something wasn’t done, write down the reason for that. Seeing the same excuses over and over might tell you something and help you become more self-aware.



11. Use the three P’s to move through exams smoothly: plan, procede, proofread


These 3 magical P’s — planning, proceeding, and proofreading are key when it comes to passing exams successfully. Make this step-by-step plan part of your exam-taking process to help reduce anxiety.


Planning means skimming through the exam to see what’s ahead of you. Proceeding means starting with the questions you can answer easily, and proofreading includes leaving yourself time at the end to go over everything.



What else can you learn?

Other than learning the importance of quality over quantity, we can also take from these lessons that studying needs to be done at the right time, place, and mood.


Another lesson to take is that there is a certain way to take notes, and it’s also not about quantity. Be sure to keep them in the right file! Ask yourself the right questions to learn what you need to know without digging much deeper.



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What Straight A Students Do:

1. The super-achievers


While it may seem as though super-achievers were just born with natural brains, this is not always the case. These successful students are often merely people who have mastered correct study techniques.



2. Priority setters


Straight A students know to set their priorities straight — making studying number one. If they’ve scheduled a study session, no matter what comes their way, they will stick to their commitment.



3. Everywhere is your study space


Learning that literally anywhere and everywhere can be your study space is also another secret to success. Make the most of your time and perhaps you’ll even discover a place that helps you study the best!



4. Organized


Being organized is key to becoming a straight A student. A clear mind helps to focus better when studying and be less distracted, and it starts with even the smallest of things.



5. Read fast!


Speed reading is one of the most valuable skills to learn, especially in college when students are assigned endless pages that simply can’t be read slowly.



6. Schedule your time


Schedule your time in the best way that will work for you. If you’ve been assigned a huge project, don’t stress! Break it up into small parts and decide when you will get those parts done.



7. Use your notes


While reading your textbook is of course important too, what’s in your notebook will always be the most important, because that’s what your professor has put the most emphasis on. Use those notes to your advantage! They are your study summary.



8. Clean up your work


Always be sure to hand in neat work. As opposed to a sloppy or slightly torn paper, one that looks appealing to the eye and as though effort was put into it will always get a better grade.



9. Participate in conversations


Don’t be afraid to speak up! It’s your key to success. If something isn’t clear, ask your teacher. You will also surely be helping someone else in the class who had the same question.



10. Get help


Seek the help you need to succeed. Ask your teacher, a friend, a peer or a parent. If you don’t ask, you might never find the information or learn the skills needed for success.



11. Be Organized


If you want to know how to get good grades in university, or succeed at anything in life for that matter, it starts with organization and planning. These are the ultimate keys to success. Always make sure that you have a concrete plan for yourself and that you are on top of your work, including all your deadlines, whether it be for home assignments or tests.


A calendar can be your best friend throughout college, and is a useful tool to make a study schedule for yourself that you commit to sticking to. While writing everything down in a calendar and planning out your time may seem time consuming, in the long run, you could be saving yourself a great deal of time — rather than feeling overwhelmed and all over the place, not knowing where and when to start.


Being organized in college goes beyond just time management, and if you really want to know how to get straight As in university, it means being organized in your every move, such as keeping all of your notes in one place — whether it be a folder on your computer or having everything in one organized notebook or filing folder with clear tabs that make all materials easy to access.



An organized college student with all of her class materials in one tabbed folder

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Make Health a Priority

On your journey of discovering how to become a straight A student, it’s normal to make some common mistakes, such as staying up all night long to study as much as possible, skimping on sleep, and sometimes even on meals in order to save time to study. This is one of the most popular, yet dangerous mistakes that students make while trying to succeed in college.


Making health a priority is just as important as being organized in college.


When it comes to health, both your mental and physical health need to be taken seriously and given the attention they require. In order to study long hours and truly be able to focus in class, you’ll need energy, which can only be obtained from a good night’s sleep. No amount of coffee will be able to have the same effect on our bodies, and we aren’t machines. Convincing yourself that you will ‘eventually catch up on lost sleep’ will never really work in your favor.


On top of sleep, it’s also important to stay active as much as possible and engage in physical activity, whether it be joining a gym, a sports team, doing some yoga or walking on your own. Make a plan and commit to it. It can be very hard on our bodies to be sitting down at a desk all day, and exercise can help prevent common aches and pains caused by that. By working out regularly, it can also provide us with more energy and help us better focus during our study hours.


When it comes to eating, it’s no less important than the rest of the steps to success. As you search for ways on how to become a straight A student, know that it’s a holistic process. It’s not just the hours you put in or the way you study, it’s also the way you treat your body and your mind, which is what will allow you to succeed.


Always make sure to eat healthy, complete meals that include foods from all of the food groups, including proteins, fruits and vegetables. Make sure to drink lots of water, rather than binging on coffee and sugar-filled energy drinks that will give you a short-lived boost, and then will have you crash completely.



Be Proactive

While searching for ways on how to get good grades in university, it’s crucial to understand that sometimes less is more. Cramming is not the way to success. One hour of completely productive, focused studying can be a whole lot more effective than an entire day. Remember this, and make sure that you are studying smart.


This does not mean, however, that you should invest as little time as possible into your studying. It’s very easy to convince yourself that since the test is in a few months that you have all the time in the world, and that you can study right before. Otherwise, you won’t even remember the material, right? Well, actually that couldn’t be more wrong!


In order to avoid cramming, make sure to review your class material on a regular basis and do your homework even if it isn’t mandatory. It will help make exam period a whole lot less stressful, and if you really are reviewing the material periodically, it will be stored in your memory. The material will become a part of your everyday knowledge, without having to think about it too much. It may seem like a big investment to make to be studying every week even when it’s not finals time — but it will save you time in the long run. That’s really how to become a straight A student.


If you feel as though you are struggling to succeed in college due to personal reasons such as not being able to support yourself through school without working, then know that you have other options and can still be a straight A student. Don’t let external factors stop you from succeeding!


University of the People offers online US accredited, tuition-free degree programs, which makes higher education accessible to all. This means students are able to study remotely and still work part-time or fulfill their responsibilities at home with a more flexible class schedule. It also removes the financial stress that often comes with attending college, allowing students to focus fully on their studies and make their dreams come true.



College students studying together and sharing ideas about how they study best

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Create a Support System

In order to succeed in college and get straight As, it can be helpful to form a homework or study group with your fellow classmates, creating a support system for yourself. It can help keep you on track, can help keep you motivated to succeed, and studying with others is also a great way to learn valuable study skills and tricks. Every student has a different way of learning and we can all learn from our peers. By working together and reciting the material out loud, it can also help us better retain the information.


Part of creating a support system also means getting to know your professors. Find out what their office hours are, ask questions on a regular basis, and have them get to know you. Show up to class and show an interest and effort. They will see that and will want to be a part of your success, helping you in any way that they can.


Now that you know how to become a straight A student, you’re all ready to start your successful college path!