How To Get Straight A's In College?

By Amanda HoyleJanuary 7, 2022
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Amanda Hoyle
Amanda is a proficient and widely published educational leader, with Master's degrees in both Education and Psychology.
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There has always been a debate on how true this saying is. But, whether or not you think the quote holds true, good grades are an indicator of certain values. Grades shouldn't define you, but they matter. Working towards having straight A's build character in you and reflect some values that you'll always find helpful in other life endeavors. It will open doors, define you and get you into rooms that poor grades most likely won't.

It will always be a debate whether good grades are worth it.

But what do statistics show? According to Forbes, "Good grades in school translate into higher salaries after graduation. Students who do well in exams at 18 go on to earn as much as 40% more post-university than peers who flunk their exams but still go onto higher education."

If being the best at what you do is essential to you, then you should consider the following steps in getting Straight A's in college:

Know Your 'Why'

Most people come to college with the dream of having straight A's. But, there is a need to define why you want Straight A's. Your strong reasons will motivate you when you feel like giving up. In the beginning, college Students feel very motivated and ready to storm the world. But, along the line, motivation is lost or just misplaced due to some events that might have happened. With reasons already well defined, you can plan, and staying motivated is a little easier.

Understand the Rubrics of your Grading System

It is of great benefit to understand how your college’s grading system works. Sometimes Professors provide an exam study guide. This guide should come in very handy in understanding the specific requirements for an A in a course. It will help you consider areas to focus more on. 


Now that you know your 'why' and understand how you're graded, you need to plan.

How can you make a routine that works?

  • Identify your learning preferences and create a study schedule. 
  • Plan for classes, assignments and their deadlines, study time, extracurricular activities, exercise, fun. Yes, it is important to make plans for rest and fun activities also. Your physical and mental health is critical to achieving Straight A's.
  • Don't feel pressured to copy the schedule of others. Do what works for you. Make achievable plans. They shouldn't be ambiguous but simplified within the time frame allocated.
  • You can set reminders to keep you on track. Planning can be a weekly or monthly thing; you don't need to do it for a whole semester all at once. The cure to panic/ anxiety is majorly planning.
  • Proper planning and preparation will prevent panic or anxiety on test/examination days, which permits you to do well in your exams without tension.


No man is an island, and you need help from others as much as you need to help others. A friend with similar goals as you will help. This forms your support system. 

They could become your study partner if your learning preferences are similar. You can brainstorm and learn from each other. Join a study group in your class. Association is a two-way thing. You learn from others, and you also help others. 

An easy way to retain memory is to teach someone else. Associating yourself with seniors who have been through your class before can help you learn from their experiences. 

Please familiarize yourself with them, and don't hesitate to ask for help.

Your Professors and Advisers are there to make sure you're successful in learning and achieving your goals. Make sure not to under-utilize the resources they can provide.

Pay Attention:

You can save yourself so much study time by paying attention in class. Ask questions if you don't understand. This way, it won't be a struggle when studying. There might be extra tips your Professor might give the lecturer that will not be in your notes or textbook. Proper engagement in the class will help boost your memory when studying that course.

Build Stable Study Habits:

Setting the stage for study time could differ for different people depending on your learning preferences. But certain things work well for all. For example, get a good night's sleep, eliminate distractions, and snack on quality food.

You can switch up your study environment by checking out a new corner in the library or a coffee shop you like. Stick with the environment that works for you and has minimal distractions. Keep your study environment tidy and uncluttered. Healthy snacking is important. Some foods, rather than give you energy, cause you to sleep. Healthy snacks can include dark chocolate, nuts, fruits etc. Ensure it's not too much, though.

Building any good habit requires discipline. It's one thing to plan and another to follow through. You can get accountability from friends, family or anyone you respect. Your study group can be of help here. Reward yourself for achieving small goals. This can help motivate you to do more.

If attention is a problem during study, you can try out the Pomodoro system. It involves 25 minutes of active and focused work and a 5 minutes break.

Time management is likewise important. You need to be able to prioritize tasks and assignments. Avoid procrastination so your workload doesn't become overwhelming. Once your workload gets overwhelming, you lose motivation, and you might never do those tasks. This is why it's important to put breaks in your schedule. An ideal study time is just about 50 minutes. But you need to make the best use of those minutes. Increased focus is more important than increasing the frequency of study time.

Taking notes in class is important. While typing it out is cool, writing with your paper and pen has proven to be more helpful. While studying also, jotting with pen and paper helps with assimilation.

A research of university students in Japan has revealed the benefits of writing in the physical paper compared to using an electronic device. It's report shows that writing on paper causes more brain activity and enhances memory. You're more likely to remember what you've handwritten one hour later than what was typed out on a device. The researchers concluded that the complex, spatial and tactile information associated with writing with hands on physical paper is likely what leads to improved memory. Remember not just to write down notes but also review them frequently.

A method for memory retention developed by researchers a long time ago is the SQ3R method. You might have heard or read about it before. It involves Survey, Question, Read, Recite and Review. 

First, you're advised to skim through a book, take notes of images, headings, subheadings, or anything that stands out to you. While doing this, some questions might pop up in your head. This way, you've created a vacuum in your head that requires knowledge to fill. Now, you read and look for answers to questions you had formulated earlier.  After reading, summarize in your own words what you've learnt. You can do this by speaking out loud and writing it down with pen and paper. Once you're done, reviewing all you have learnt is also important.

Retrieving the information you have learnt is likewise important. You can test your knowledge by answering questions. Questions you have created yourself or past questions. You can create flashcards or buy some. Quizlet has been helpful for many students also. You can find already done flashcards there.

Spaced practice is essential. Take time to review already studied work.

This is why it's crucial to start studying early in the semester or even before the class.

It is evident getting Straight A's is not exactly an easy task, but it certainly builds discipline, dedication, consistency and hard work in the student. These values will serve you later on in the future. That itself is a plus aside from the many other opportunities it opens you to.

Having an optimistic mindset is also beneficial. You can achieve what you put your mind to. The efforts you put in pays off handsomely in the long run.

However, don't obsess over getting straight A's. Events might happen beyond your control that could affect your grades in some way. You don't have to sacrifice your physical and mental health for Straight A's. It is achievable with the steps listed above, without costing you good sleep time or mental health.

Academic excellence is beneficial but is not a strong indicator of career excellence. Across industries, the correlation between grades and job performance seems modest in the first year after college and trivial within a handful of years. At Google, for instance, for employees two or three years out of college, their grades have no bearing on their performance. But of course, it must be said that if you get D's, you probably won't end up at Google. More than just getting Straight A's, it is imperative that the knowledge you have gotten can be applied to provide solutions.

Get Straight A's and put the knowledge you get to work. Provide outstanding solutions to problems with your wealth of knowledge. Now, that's what truly distinguishes you.

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Amanda Hoyle
Amanda is a proficient and widely published educational leader, with Master's degrees in both Education and Psychology.
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