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10 Steps to Help You Get Straight A’s


The school’s choice for “Most Likely to Succeed” was easy.

Gary always seems to have everything going in his direction. In all his classes, Gary is the first to raise his hand when the teacher asks a question, the one who always gets the highest grades. He’s a straight-A student.

He’s also active in his Scout troop and in school activities and plays baseball in the spring, tennis in the summer, football in the fall and basketball in the winter. How does Gary do it all and stay so relaxed and happy?

Here’s the secret to his success: Gary believes in himself, takes things seriously, works hard and knows what he is doing.

We can learn a lot from Gary. Here’s a 10-step program to get in on Gary’s secret so you, too, can become a straight-A student.

STEP 1: Take the right subjects …and school will be a lot easier!

You’re probably not ready to decide on a career. Even if you are, you’re probably not certain exactly where that career will take you. So take courses in school that give you the most possible choices later on. The three key courses: English, math and computer science.

Take as many courses in English and math as you can, even if you find them to be difficult. The more courses you take in these subjects, the easier they become—and the easier every other subject becomes, too. Computer courses, too, are important. Computer skills are required just to be considered for many jobs.

STEP 2: Work with your teacher …because your teacher is your coach!

Every teacher is looking for students who are serious about the subject at hand, who work hard in the classroom and who show progress and ability.

Consider your teacher a friend in learning, someone there to help you. Too many students think of their teacher as an enemy, someone who forces them to sit and be quiet then gives them assignments. Guess what? Your baseball coach tells you what to do and gives you assignments on the field. Is he an enemy? No, he’s a friend in winning. Your teacher wants to reward you, too.

Here’s how to work better with your teachers:

  • Show respect and interest. Participate in class.
  • Learn their style in the classroom.
  • Get to know your teachers as people. Know their likes and dislikes.
  • Think of them as coaches in the classroom.

STEP 3: Never miss a class …it will always catch up with you!

Most test questions come from material your teacher presents in class. Every day, your teachers cover the subjects they think are important for you to understand—some even tell students the specific questions that will be on an exam. Reading assignments alone can’t tell you that.

STEP 4: Always sit up front …because that’s where the action is!

You can use your brain more effectively if you are in a good environment. The best place to use more of your brain is in the front row, because this is not only where you will learn more, but also remember more.

STEP 5: Complete your homework before class …so you will be prepared in class!

Homework is not punishment. It is assigned to help you learn more about a subject.

Your first job is to find out what the teacher expects from you in the way of homework assignments. Make sure you understand exactly what to do. If you don’t, ask.

As soon as you get home from school, think about the homework assignments you need to complete before the next class. Then think about the order in which you will do them, and how much time you’ll spend on each one. The sooner you start, the quicker everything will be done. Then you will:

  • Be prepared for the next class.
  • Understand more of the teacher’s lecture.
  • Turn in assignments on time.
  • Ask — and answer — good questions in class.

STEP 6: Take notes during class …so you will become an active listener!

When you are trying to learn something complicated, it is much easier to learn and remember if you take notes. If you go into just about any college class, you will find that most if not all the students are taking notes. They know that taking good notes is one of the keys to making good grades.

Listen carefully, write down everything of importance (not everything the teacher says) and look for potential exam questions.

STEP 7: Review your notes before the next class …it’s never too soon to start studying!

If you are going to understand everything that your teacher says in class, not only do you have to take good notes, you also have to review and correct them before the next class. There is no other way to learn at the same rate that the teacher presents new information. And you have already started studying for the test!

STEP 8: Prepare for tests ahead of time …by studying a week in advance!

By doing your reading assignments and taking careful notes and reviewing them, you have mastered information as your teacher presented it to you. This does not, however, mean that you are ready to take a test without doing anything else.

Here’s how to prepare for an exam:

  • Start studying a week in advance.
  • Review your notes three times, leaving two or three days between reviews.
  • Think about potential exam questions.
  • Conduct your review in an organized manner.
  • Never study up to the last minute. (This creates pressure in the final hours before a test.)

STEP 9: Be testwise and confident …because confidence breeds success!

Don’t be afraid of tests. Be confident. If you have followed the first eight steps of this plan, you should be confident that you will test well.

It sounds simple, but it works: Believe in yourself, keep an open mind about tests, know your teacher’s style and apply what you know. That’s confidence. That’s success.

STEP 10: Show what you know on the final exam …because it’s a big part of your final grade!

You have been working hard to prepare for the test, and everything is on the line. Don’t worry about all the effort you have put in, or how the teacher will grade your exam. Your goal should be to show the teacher how much you’ve learned.

How? Know what material will be covered. Start studying well ahead of time. Look for major themes that develop in your class notes. Review previous exams to learn your teacher’s style.

Then comes the final step: Ace your exam!

From HOW TO GET STRAIGHT A’s by Gordon W. Green. Reprinted by arrangement with Tom Doherty Associates LLC and available wherever books are sold.

56 Comments on 10 Steps to Help You Get Straight A’s

  1. Happy scout // July 31, 2010 at 11:38 am // Reply

    I read this and the whole year i a got a’s thanks you should have a section in boys life each month!

  2. BTW don’t try to sleep early unless you have serious sleep deprivation. I once tried that, and woke up at 4:00 in the morning. By the time school came rolling, I was half asleep and completely unfocused. I ticked off pretty much every single teacher I had that day.

  3. You’re right Johnny. I know some really smart kids, but they don’t have a reason to do well in school so they don’t do anything. I used to sit next to one in science. Instead of working he rips paper, but I’ve talked to him and he does have a lot of smarts. BE MOTIVATED!

  4. I don’t do these and I get strait A’s

  5. Lightbulbhead // May 31, 2010 at 3:31 pm // Reply

    this is really good advice for the really troubled

  6. PAYPAY!!!! // May 27, 2010 at 5:12 pm // Reply

    All it takes is hard work…..and you have to believe you can get straight A’s or it wont happen. i used to get A’s and B’s in school but once i started trying hard i got straight a’s every grading period……and i still have lots of funn!!

  7. Supersonic // March 6, 2010 at 7:47 am // Reply

    What if we can’t take notes?

  8. A good tip to get straight A’s is complete assignments on time and turn them in correctly.


  10. Ladiesman2177 // February 20, 2010 at 7:46 pm // Reply

    All of my grades in school are above a B. because i do all of this because my parents make me, so it really does work

  11. Idk just got an “A” on a vocab test here. 32-33. 😛

  12. Yeah right, Im a C and D student. And i try my hardest.. kinda 😛

  13. Guy in the Green Jacket // February 6, 2010 at 5:52 pm // Reply

    Hmmmmmm. Will it work … Or not

  14. What if the teacher doesn’t tell you a test or if it is a pop quiz.

  15. Kid wit face // January 1, 2010 at 10:24 pm // Reply

    Ummm…i like this strategy but, imagine having to do all da subjects in a week in advanced

  16. This is true, do don’t say, follow these steps and straight a’s are guaranteed.

  17. Well, hope this is going to change my self from C and D’s” to A’s” XD

  18. Gee, thanks Im gonna try this out

  19. hope this works


  21. co9fisherman // July 28, 2009 at 4:59 pm // Reply

    Man I dont do none of this stuff and I still get straight A’s.

    Just sit back and relax and do right desicions. That’s it!

  22. i really hope this will work. i really messed up this year and i need to get back on track

  23. thanks!

  24. warmaster123 // May 26, 2009 at 2:35 pm // Reply

    thanks i will try it and ive been lacking in my grades so it might help me out alot!

  25. The main point that all these lead up to is the ability to switch focus quickly. It will reallt help me with my Latin Grade, thanks!


  26. This has got my grades up, but only by a small bit. Hard work is what I think it takes.

  27. it help me a lot …i hope this few step will work for my coming exam ! thanks

  28. sta tennis // June 30, 2008 at 11:08 pm // Reply

    i have done all of that even trying not to miss a day of school but i have kept my grades good in the past but ill try again.

  29. Thanks I am going to try this out!

  30. Thanks so much my grades have always been a’s and b’s but sometimes i might fail a paper and almost start crying in class… I have always just not wanted to worry about getting any bad grades but sometimes i do i have tried going to bed early and that actually does really work for those of you who are trying to get your grades up also…so i am going to try these few tips and see if they work

    Once again thanks!!!!!!

  31. It helped me with my grades. Thanks

  32. thanks this will help me get better grades in school

  33. this is too hard

  34. thanks

  35. No… Won’t work

  36. i never used these never take notes in class my lowest grade ever is an A-

  37. thanks i’m going to need these!

  38. it dose’nt work

  39. awsome!!!!!!

  40. spelling bulldog // October 30, 2007 at 5:26 pm // Reply

    to be honest, i don’t use most of these tips and i still get straight a’s. but i’ll try them out.

  41. Excellent information. I will share this with my Cub Scouts on our next meeting and have them practice these ideas for the next month, to experiment and try. I know for sure I will try it with my son, who sometimes struggles in school with his grades. Thank you very much!

  42. Tank you gorden because I used this article for my current events you are the best.

    I hope you can write more school things it really helps from bulldog94

  43. It looks cool!!!

  44. WOW??? eerrr is it good you people whove tried it out there???

  45. The idea is rile cool. I think I will try it.

  46. I does help. And it always apply to the scout motto: Be Prepared

  47. I’ve gotten straight A’s and my biggest peice of advice to anyone is to get ther priorities staright. I have at a gifted school. I couldn’t handle boy scouts, baseball, and school. I had to quit baseball because I love boy scouts. I was still able to my involved with physical activities.

  48. Great idea.

  49. Nothing helps you study better than a well written notebook.

  50. Thank you Gordon.

    I am really grateful for your advice. I already get A’s and B’s but this advice will help me be sure to get ONLY A’s.

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