About 85% of students reported that the Covid-19 pandemic had negatively affected their academic performance. As an ambitious student, you may be eager to discover what it’ll take for you to improve your academic performance. You already know that it could take much more than hours upon hours buried in your books, and you’re absolutely right.
Both your study habits and your lifestyle will play a huge role in how you improve your grades. Factors affecting your performance are both physical and psychological, so you need to get to the bottom of everything preventing you from achieving your ultimate goals. This guide will help you do just that.
It’s a comprehensive guide that aims to make improving your academic performance so much simpler. Keep reading to find out what you can do to improve exponentially.
Start By Adopting a Positive Mental Attitude
A positive mental attitude affects absolutely everything when it comes to success. It’s the catalyst that sparks exceptional results. Once you have a positive attitude, you get positive thoughts, which ultimately affect all events and outcomes, even in your academic performance.
If you’re a new college student and want to take your academic responsibility, this is where you begin. Even if you’re not a new student but have been getting lower than expected grades, it’s understandable that you may be feeling disappointed. You may start to feel defeated or depressed and like you can never do better.
However, the most important thing about turning your grades around is eliminating this negativity. Any negative self-talk will only plant the seeds of doubt in your mind and block any possibilities of improvement. Start by acknowledging that your grades need improving, then set your mind to doing something to change that.
Work Out Why You’re Falling Short
Before you draw your plan of action, it is important to first understand where you’re falling short. Figure out which areas you’re underperforming and why you’re underperforming, so you can figure out what to do about it. Are your grades consistent across all subjects, or is there a particular area you’re currently struggling with?
Take a look at your academic performance for the past few months and look for a pattern. If you notice a general decline in your achievement, you’ll have a better idea of where to start. Did your grades fall after the pandemic, or is it something you have been struggling with for a while?
Are they only low in some areas and high in others? Answers to these questions will help you understand what strategies you need to implement to improve your academic performance. The next order of business is figuring out why you’re not performing to your full potential.
Have you noticed external factors that may be negatively affecting your situation? Do you have family problems that need to be addressed? Are there certain academic skills you’re struggling with that are dragging your grades down?
There’s a wide array of factors that could be affecting your academic performance, including depression. Other factors may be physical inactivity, learning environment, motivation, sleep, distractions, and even self-esteem. We’ll discuss most of these issues a little more in-depth below and help you get to the bottom of it.
Break Your Stress and Self-Esteem Cycles
A lot of college students are faced with a considerable amount of stress, with about 90% of them reporting education as a significant cause of stress. Stress resulting from the cost of education and having to balance work or family with college life can be overwhelming. When stress leads to low self-esteem, it also leads to poor academic performance, a cycle you need to break in order to improve.
The lower your self-esteem is, the lower your academic performance is likely to be. Stress and low self-esteem feed off each other, and lower grades also lower self-esteem, which becomes a vicious cycle. There are many things you can do to raise your self-esteem, such as setting SMART goals.
SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Reasonable, and Time-bound. The best thing about setting smart goals is that you start to consider how rewarding and satisfying it will be when you complete them. These are positive connotations that are bound to improve your self-esteem and self-worth.
When it comes to improving your self-esteem, find different ways to improve yourself daily. For instance, you can try out daily positive affirmations, but make sure you keep them believable. Positive affirmation could improve your confidence exponentially and boost your self-esteem
Focus on your strengths and be intentional. By being intentional, you’ll be able to hone your goals then take action towards them. People who are intentional report more effectiveness when it comes to their time and resources.
How to Set SMART Goals
When it comes to specific goals, don’t just say you want to improve your self-esteem. Set specific goals like completing all your assignments 24 hours before the stipulated deadline. This is very specific and will help you complete your assignments on time and reduce stress as you won’t have to race with the deadline.
Your goals should also be measurable within a given time limit. Moreover, it’s absolutely important for you to be realistic with setting goals and make them 100% achievable. For instance, you could set a goal to study about 10 hours every week, which is quite attainable.
Additionally, make your goals reasonable to avoid stressing yourself further. It may be impossible for you to improve your grades exponentially within one semester. Hence, be reasonable with how much you feel you can comfortably achieve without straining yourself, then work towards it.
Beyond that, it’s also essential for your goals to be time-bound, so you need to set deadlines. Consider setting mini-goals within your larger goals, then set shorter deadlines in order to make them easier to meet. Working out smart goals can significantly improve your self-esteem, reduce stress, and ultimately improve your academic performance.
Start Working Out
Physical activities are important for people of all ages because it improves both physical and mental health. As a college student, however, it goes beyond that because it also provides academic benefits that you may want to consider. To begin with, physical activity improves concentration, so anytime you’re unable to focus, take a few minutes to exercise and activate your brain.
Physical activities also improve memory and recall. If you’re looking to be an honor student, one of the best things you can do is get into physical activities because it will improve both short-term focus and long-term memory. Even better, exercising will improve creativity and activate your feel-good hormones, such as your endorphins.
In order to hold yourself accountable, get involved in organized sports or other recreational pursuits in your school. Look at this in a positive mindset because apart from improving your physical and mental health, you’ll also get an opportunity to build strong relationships with others.
Track your step count and aim for at least 10,000 steps per day, and try integrating exercises with studying. If you feel like exercising may take up too much of your time that could be attributed to your studies, consider audiobooks.
Some textbooks and course materials are available in an audio format that you can listen to when you take a stroll or jog around your neighborhood. Additionally, you can do things like walking or biking to class and incorporate exercise into your smart goals. Or, if working out sounds like hard work, take up a fun new hobby such as a solo sport.
Use a Wide Array of Learning Resources
Don’t feel restricted by the materials and resources only recommended by your professors. Go a step further and use different varieties of learning resources. Find the materials that give different perspectives of various theories to enhance your learning process.
If you want to be an honor student, read about academic honor societies and understand the requirements. This will give you even more motivation to improve your academic performance and get on the honor roll.
Find a Good Study Environment
One of the most critical things you have to do to improve your academic performance is finding a good studying spot. You need to locate an environment with little to no distraction so you can completely focus on your assignments. The library has always been an incredible place to get some real work done, but you can always find a different spot as long as it works.
If your campus doesn’t have great study spots where you can hide and focus by yourself, you can always venture outside. There may be some coffee shops that will allow you to sit there as long as you want as a customer. Additionally, you can try out recreational parks or a public library for a change of scenery.
When looking for a starting spot, consider the lighting in order to preserve your eyesight and maximize your energy and time. Choose lighting that doesn’t make you strain or leave you tired by the end of the session.
Once you find a great study spot, establish rules that will help you keep it going. For instance, if you find a study zone at home, let the people living with you understand that if your door is closed, it means you’re studying and not to be disturbed.
Avoid Social Media
Social media can be one of the biggest distractions you have to face. Once you open a social media platform, you find that hours have gone by and your voice that significant time. It’s quite common for a lot of people to have at least one open browser for social media, but it can take away your focus and attention.
The thing is, you will keep getting alerts that will need your attention. An alert will most likely require a reply, which will end up being a full-blown conversation that will eat up about half an hour. Consider staying away from your phone during study time to avoid even more distractions.
Put it on silent or put it out of sight to avoid getting sucked in. If you must check your phone, possibly for emergencies, give yourself study breaks.
Create a Study Group
College or university is hard work, and most of the time, you may not be able to pull it off by yourself. Finding fellow students who excel in various subjects that you’re struggling with will make your coursework more comfortable. You’ll get to have a team to work with.
Different students struggling with different subjects can help each other in areas they excel in. Together, they can raise their academic performance. You can also join already existing groups if you find that they can work out for you.
Understand Your Learning Style
Different people use different learning styles. It’s important for you to understand yours if you want to excel and improve your academic performance. Understanding your learning style will help you retain information a lot better.
For instance, you may find that you are a visual learner who needs images and pictures or spatial understanding. If you’re an auditory learner, you may prefer music or sounds. If you’re a logical learner, you’ll use logical reasoning and systems in your learning.
Verbal learners prefer using words in writing, social learners thrive when studying with other people. Solitary learners do best when they study alone.
Once you learn what style works best for you, you’ll determine how and where to study in order to avoid distractions. You’ll also get an opportunity to improve your academic performance because you’ll maximize your studying potential.
Study Every Day
The problem with studying only when you have exams is that you do it in haste and may not grasp concepts well. To make studying less stressful for you, try something new and study every day.
Make it a habit or a routine and dedicate several minutes or hours of studying. When it comes to improving your academic performance, consistency is key.
Simplified Studying: The Best Route to Improved Academic Performance
While there’s no shortcut to success, you can work hard towards your goal by being smart about it. Set appropriate SMART study goals if you want to improve your academic performance and become an honor student. If you’re willing to do what it takes to improve your potential, go through the study strategies listed above and then take action.
As a smart student, determine what factors are preventing you from achieving your goals, then adapt to the best study methods for you. Beyond that, if you found our guide informative, please check out our blog, where we have so much more for you.
If you’re studying for academia, or looking to upskill or reskill, let us know how you get on in the comments.