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Debunking Myths about Getting Straight A's

So many people have misconceptions about getting straight As. But I’m here to burst these myths and tell you all the things that you can stop doing, while still keeping good grades!

Myth 1: You need to be a natural genius to get Straight A’s

Everyone who has good grades is not naturally smart. Sure, there’s the occasional wild card genius who obtains perfect scores in every class without ever studying. But, most people have to put in the effort. Stop telling yourself you won’t get good grades because you’re not “naturally smart”. You CAN get good grades - you just need to be disciplined, work hard, and be organized.

Myth 2: You have to sacrifice everything else in life to study

This is probably a big one. Nope. If you figure out the BEST study techniques for you personally, you’ll have time for other priorities. Like anything else, it truly is a game of quality over quantity and consistency over cramming. Even if you’re taking hard classes you should still have a little time for other activities, hobbies, spending time with loved ones, and relaxing. 

I also suggest that you figure out how to stop procrastinating and learn to manage your time efficiently. These actions will greatly help you meet more of your school goals.

If you have Balance, you won’t Burn Out

If you're studying ALL day, but you feel like you are emotionally OK - the hard truth is that your lack of balance might mean that you'll eventually burn out. You could go from an A-star student to Fs if you’re burnt out enough. School shouldn’t get in the way of relaxation, hobbies, spending time with friends, or human necessities like sleep. School is important, but it shouldn't impact your mental health.

So take preventative action to have some balance in your life - don’t wait to change your habits after you’ve already burned out.

Myth 3: You have to pull All-Nighters or sleep late

I don’t know why, but I feel like a lot of people think that to get straight A’s you need to be LOSING SLEEP to do well. It’s actually the total opposite, and this is also definitely a time management problem for some people. I know some kids who can write a whole paper from beginning to end by pulling an all-nighter the day before it’s due. But, if they had chunked out the paper so that they were writing a little bit every day, the week prior, they wouldn’t have lost as much sleep.

Older students who are in harder classes may HAVE to do this. But, if you have the opportunity, please, please avoid cutting into your sleep at all costs. Sleep deprivation is only going to hurt your learning ability the following school day and also reduces the quality of your work. By doing work while you’re tired, you may be dragging on assignments longer than it would take you to do them if you were more awake.

A better option:

Instead of staying up late and sleeping at 3 AM, try sleeping as soon as you get home from after school activities, and then wake up earlier to do homework. This way, you can finish homework and assignments with much more energy.

Myth 4: You need to take a LOT of notes

When you take these preliminary notes during a class, keep them short and classy (like a summary). There’s no point in writing every single detail.

Additionally, DON'T use rewriting notes as a study technique. You may have to write some preliminary notes the first time you learn something but after that - DON’T rewrite them. This is because if you’re trying to memorize/study for a test, rewriting and highlighting notes will not help you learn better. Instead, try to use recall techniques like flashcards and practice problems. It’s scientifically proven that passively writing notes is not effective and won’t help you retain information long-term.

Myth 5: You need to write pretty notes

You don't need to take these kinds of notes!

Though some people love taking gorgeous Pinterest-worthy notes, it’s not necessary to do well. This is what my notes actually look like 90% of the time:

Yes, these notes are EXTREMELY ugly. But I still passed this particular class with an A. As long as your notes are readable, there’s no need to make them cutesy. And remember, the more simple you keep your notes, the more time you'll have for other stuff. Plus, like I said before, writing notes does not help you retain any information. You don’t need pretty notes - just legible ones.

Myth 6: You Have to get an A on every single test.

Again, not true. It’s totally possible to get Bs or A-s on individual tests, but still, have an overall A in the course, and have an A written on your transcript.

So should you retake it if you don’t get an A?

It depends. If your course grade is the overall average of all your classes you should be able to calculate your bad score with all your good scores. Is it still an A? Even if it isn’t, consider that for future tests you might score an A+ after A+. So then what’s the point of retaking? If you want to be a straight-A student, don’t work harder than you have to! Make sure you know how to calculate your overall class grade and when or when it isn’t appropriate to retake a test.

Only retake a test with a bad score if you absolutely have to. In some cases you might be spending too much time studying for the retake, which could even hurt your performance in other classes

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