How A Straight-A Student Studies

I get good grades, and I surround myself with people who get good grades. In my 3.5 years of college, I have noticed that students who get good grades do things differently than other students. It’s not necessarily that they are smarter, just that they work smarter. Here’s how straight A students get the grades they do.
How a straight a student studies: 8 proven tips to get better grades this semester

1)They don’t always do the reading.

Okay students don’t do most of the reading, good students do all of the reading, and great students do the right reading. It’s really not worth it to spend all day reading textbooks if you don’t need to and could spend that time doing other productive things. I recommend doing all of the reading in depth before the first test, and then evaluating if the reading was necessary to getting a good grade. You can usually just skim the chapter and get the most important information from the lectures and slides. Reading the summaries in the end of each chapter is sometimes sufficient as well. This varies from class to class, but part of being a good student is understanding how much of the reading you really need to do, and doing it.

2)They prioritize their homework.

Ideally, good students do all of the homework. However, there isn’t always time for everything. During really busy weeks, good students start with the most important tasks, and then work their way down. It’s much better to miss a little quiz or turn in a paper that isn’t completely proofread than to focus on the little tasks and end up running out of time to do a huge part of your grade.

3)They usually actually do the homework.

The above is a rarity. In all but the most extreme cases, good students do all of the homework because they realize that the little points add up. It’s okay to miss one little assignment here or there, but if you start missing a lot of them, your grade will really suffer.

4)They’re prepared to participate in discussions.

This means having at least skimmed the day’s readings, and knowing it well enough to discuss it in class. Good students always have an answer (or can quickly make one up) when the professor calls on them, but they usually volunteer first. Good students realize that participation points add up, and actively participate during class discussions.

5)They plan out their study time.

Instead of winging it and studying when they have time after other activities, they study and do their homework first. There will most likely be time for other things after you finish your homework, but there probably won’t be time for homework after you finish other things.

6)They help other students.

The best way to cement something in your mind is to explain it to someone else. Additionally, the people in your class know who the good students are and turn to them for help or ask them to be in their study groups. Good students are willing to help out their classmates (within reason) because they know that doing so will help them understand the information even better.

7)They take classes they are interested in.

It’s much easier to put in a lot of effort and time into a class you care about. Good students look for the classes they are passionate about, instead of just the classes that are the easiest.

8)They have a life.

Contrary to popular belief, straight A students don’t just sit in the library and study every day. They have jobs, participate in clubs, and have social lives. In short, they know how to balance life and school. The activities they participate usually add to their resume and skill sets, making them more well-rounded, employable people. Good students know that grades aren’t all that matters.

What are your best study tips?


  1. Aly

    January 25, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Hi Kym! This is a great post. Your suggestions are great, especially about prioritizing. There are so many things we need to do and unfortunately some things need to be put off for later to make way for more important things.

    1. kymberlyann

      February 2, 2017 at 12:58 pm

      Thanks Aly! I agree! It’s hard to prioritize but unfortunately it’s necessary sometimes.

  2. Katrina

    February 2, 2017 at 12:43 am

    Hey Kym! I definitely agree with the first tip – sometimes doing all of the reading does more harm than good, and understanding when & where to apply that approach is truly an acquired skill (one I haven’t quite perfected yet!) Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. kymberlyann

      February 2, 2017 at 12:56 pm

      It can definitely be hard to learn what reading you really need to do, but when you master it, it can save you so much time! Thanks for sharing your experience, Katrina!

  3. Sarah

    February 19, 2017 at 5:47 am

    Loved it. Great article !:)

    1. kymberlyann

      February 23, 2017 at 4:41 pm

      Thanks Sarah!

  4. Cerine

    June 24, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    Thank you for this

  5. Maria

    July 16, 2017 at 9:43 am

    These are great tips. I must admit that the first two surprised me.
    She Blushes

  6. Jacob Hallman

    September 22, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    I love number 1 and number 6 best. Teddy Roosevelt was really good at shutting out external distractions when he studied, and that’s what I see happening with the best students. Extremely focused work follows extremely focused play. Good students don’t mix and match the two. I learned number 6 when I was a TA in my grad studies. I learned REALLY quick to solidify the fundamentals of my subject so I could be effective with my students. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Imelda

    October 4, 2018 at 8:52 pm

    This is such an awesome post! I’ve been getting good grades by following a similar method to this, definitely makes a difference.

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