Friday, January 1, 2010

How to Get Better Grades on Your School Coursework

I was always a good student and got good grades on school homework. I went on to work in tutoring programs and now I'm a teacher. Here are things I did to get good grades on school homework, and advise my students to do as well.

Attend classes regularly.
Most tutoring programs agree that attendance is important so you don't miss anything. Listen, take notes and ask your teachers questions if you don't understand something so you know what to do on your school homework.
Understand the directions on your school homework
Provided you follow those 3 prerequisite steps, you should have the information you need to do your school homework. To help you get the best grade on assignments, read the directions. A trick many tutoring programs teach is to identify how many questions are within the assignment, and be sure to answer every part of every question.

Know the big picture.
Tutoring programs ask participants for their course syllabus or course description. This is because it gives clues about key words and concepts the teacher is trying to convey, so refer to that. If you use those concepts in your school homework assignment, your teacher will feel you understand what's most important.
If this is a smaller school homework assignment, reread the notes or pages that the teacher referred to before assigning it. Sometimes the answers are right in the chapter. Other times, you need to think about WHY or HOW something happened, so draw on your own experiences. In math, the procedure for solving problems are laid out sequentially, so tutoring programs look for which steps you need help with and isolate them.

Budget your time.
If you have a lengthy school homework project, decide about how long you will need to spend on it, and divide that up into "work sessions." Tutoring programs teach you that each session should be in an environment where you can focus and have all your materials.

Begin a "work session."
Tutoring programs recommend that for students in sixth grade and older, a work session should be about an hour. If you have a shorter or longer attention span, you might want shorter, more frequent work sessions or longer, less frequent school homework sessions.

Don't do anything other than school homework during that session. Since your work session is only an hour long you can make a snack after. Then, if you want another hour work session, have snack as a break in between. The reason is if you budget an hour of work but spend 15 minutes making a snack, you didn't spend a realistic amount of time on work. This would make budgeting your time more difficult in the future.

Put your completed work in your bag right away.
You just worked hard, so you don't want to get to class tomorrow and realize you left your school homework on your counter. Get in the habit of packing the night before, so all you have to remember to grab in the morning is your bag. If you'd like more school advice, I've included resource links on this page. Good luck!
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