Updated 30 October 2013

How to improve your marks

Although your parents might think so, your school marks aren't everything. But if you are worried about the exams and how to improve your marks, try some of these simple tips.


Although your parents might think so, your school marks aren't everything. But if you are worried about the exams and how to improve your marks, try some of these simple tips:

  • Create a study plan - Figure out how much time you should spend on each subject every week, and then make a weekly schedule. Use a calendar to mark when major projects are due. Once you determine how much time you'll need for these projects, you can use your calendar to figure out when you need to start working on them.
  • Do your homework - It's easier to keep up with your work than it is to dig yourself out of a hole when you find yourself behind on a subject. Working through your subjects every day helps you to identify problem areas. It also makes studying easier because you've been through the work well already.
  • Talk to your teachers - Your teachers may have suggestions about what you can do to learn more and improve in weak areas. If you are struggling to understand a particular section, ask the teacher if they could spend some time explaining things to you after school or during a break.

Don't be afraid to work hard because you might look like a nerd. Your friends will be phoning you during exams for help!

How to study for a big test
The big test is tomorrow, and you haven't even started studying. Uh-oh! Now you have to cram. It's not the best way to study, and experts say it's not a very effective way to learn. But if you have no other choice, here's what to do:

Organise your limited study time

  • Find a quiet place to study. Make sure you won't be interrupted. Cramming takes concentration!
  • Organise your stuff: gather together your textbook, notes and books and arrange them by topic or course section.
  • Prioritise: figure out the most important things you have to learn. Identify six or seven basic concepts that will be covered in the test and rank them by how well you understand them.
  • Figure out what you actually have time to do. Add your total study hours and estimate how much time you'll need to spend studying each major concept, allotting the most time to the material you are least familiar with. Tackle the most unfamiliar concepts first, while you're still fresh, and save the material you know best for last. If you need to reallocate your time, donate spend more time on the stuff you know the least about, to make sure you understand it fully.
  • Work steadily, but take frequent five- or ten-minute breaks to conserve your energy and avoid getting overwhelmed. Take a walk; get a snack and some fresh air. Move around.

(Susan Erasmus, Health24, updated June 2010)

(Picture: boy studying from Shutterstock)


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