How to Maintain a 4.0 GPA

Three Parts:Having a 4.0 LifestyleUsing Class Time to Your AdvantageStudying Effectively

The pressure's on to maintain that perfect GPA. The competition just seems to be getting more and more fierce! And if you have a dream school in mind, you may be feeling the fire. How do you keep it up? Read on!

Part 1
Having a 4.0 Lifestyle

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    Get organized. Get a binder and notebook for each subject. When everything is made easier, it's less of a task to get your study game face on. Get rid of old papers or assignments unless you think you'll refer back to them. Have your syllabus tucked away nicely but still easily referable, and keep a pen in there for good measure!
    • That goes for your desk and locker, too, no clutter -- really any area you use for studying and being academic. If it's intimidating to even dig through, you definitely won't be sitting down to study. You'll be spending all your time looking for some things!
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    Make smart, focused friends. The more accurate statement would be "make smart, focused friends 'and make them to your advantage'." Plenty of your friends are smart, but when's the last time you sat down with them and combined mental powers?
    • Spend your free time with them -- just watching each other study. Pick up on their better habits. If you have a class together, make time once a week or so to talk about the content -- not about your teacher's phlegm problem or that cute guy who sits in front of you.
    • Sit with them in class, if you weren't already! When your friends' hands shoot up to answer questions, you'll be less inclined to snooze away.
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    Make friends who took the class. Along with that 4.0 group you travel with, find someone who's taken the class already. Lots of teachers recycle tests -- if the person has kept their old ones, double score. It's not cheating at all -- it's being logical.
    • They can also tell you what the teacher is like and what you could expect. If you go in knowing their tendencies (and maybe even how to butter them up cough-cough) and how they operate, you'll have that much of a leg up even before the first class.
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    Manage your time well. This idea has probably been drilled into you since kindergarten. In order to squeeze the most out of your day -- to study, play basketball, practice the violin, eat right, stay hydrated and sleep (yes, those last three are important) -- you've gotta rock the time management skills.
    • The most basic thing you can do is to create and follow a schedule. Make sure to give weight to the stuff that requires a longer amount of time or is more thought-intensive. Having your priorities in order will make that schedule simple to figure out.
    • Be realistic. Saying you're going to study 8 hours a day isn't feasible. You'll burn out and then the next day will be spent in bed with a tub of Jell-O. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, but what does kill you... kills you.
    • Don't procrastinate! If you have a paper that's due in two weeks, start now. If you have a test coming up, study now. Some people work well under pressure, sure -- if that's you, at least do a little now. There's no time in your schedule for freak-out sessions, unfortunately.
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    Go somewhere else to study. If you're in your dorm room or bedroom, your TV risks growing a voice that keeps screaming, "WATCH ME." Instead, get out. Go somewhere else. Go to the library. Find a quiet place away from distractions. Ever read Moby Dick the entire way through, and then realize you didn't absorb a single thing; so, you have to go back and read it again? It was a waste. So take your study to the library.
    • At the very least, make a special spot in your house that's devoted to serious studying. You don't want to go to bed every night feeling like you should have been studying! Get a table, a desk, or some common couch that you use only for studying. It'll help zone your brain once it makes the connection. Be habitual.
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    Eat healthily. You know that feeling after you've slammed down a gorging breakfast and finished it off with a killer chocolate shake and a piece of pie: Yeah, a heavy stomach and a "dead" head. If you want to stay focused, energized, and feeling vigorous (and your brain working right), eat for only "one person", and healthy food. Limit the sugary, and greasy foods. You'll be much more likely to retain information, if your brain, body and stomach don't feel like mush.
    • For breakfast before an exam, keep it light. And don't drink so much coffee you get the jitters! Have some toast and an apple or whatever you might reasonably need. But do eat breakfast. It's just harder to concentrate when you're shaky from hunger!
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    Get enough rest. Avoid horrors of cramming all night; it's bad for you: get enough sleep, for feeling right and for your grades! When your mental energy is running on fumes, it's hard to concentrate; you can't focus, and all that information your teachers are trying to cram into your brain is going to go in one ear and out the other. So cultivate your brain!
    • Aim for 8 hours every night -- not much more or less. Stick to the same schedule so it's easy to get up Monday through Friday. Though you can sleep in on weekends, it'll be easier to hear that 7 AM alarm clock -- or earlier, if you stay rested up!
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    Stay sane. Live joyfully, smiling, being optimistic. You've probably heard about the pressures many students all over Asia feel and about the massive student suicide rate among them.[1] "Stay sane!" means just that. Studying until you're crazily praying for death is not a joke. It's a very crushing thing. So schedule time to go to a nice party. Catch a movie. Take an occasional nap, for your sake.
    • The world will not come crashing down around you if you get an A-. Sure, it'll stink, but lots of things are rough. You'll still get into a good school. You'll still get a job. You'll still be worthy of love. You're not struggling with cancer or poverty or being hunted down by the mafia. It is Okay!
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    Keep up your own motivation. Alright, you're on this page because you want to maintain a 4.0, right? That probably means you're smart and driven with a good head on your shoulders -- the only thing you gotta do is stay there! Keep wanting it. This 4.0 will get you a lot places, because you never slack off. You gotta make it fresh every day.

Part 2
Using Class Time to Your Advantage

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    For starters, go to class. Really. Though sleeping on top of your textbook every night won't result in some type of mental osmosis, you'll be surprised how much you do gain from going even if you don't pay attention 100% of the time. Some teachers reward those who go by giving attendance points or even giving out extra-credit answers or "secret" info to those present. Score.
    • And while you're there, take good notes. But you knew that right?
    • Going to class, while also helping with knowing the content and what will be on the tests, will alert you to deadlines and test dates. Sometimes professors switch things up on a whim. If you go, you'll know what to expect and when you have to show up.
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    Participate in class. Turns out your teachers are just as bored with you as you are with them. If you can be one of the students that actually engages and that they like, it can work wonders for your grades, sure, but also your class experience. So participate! Ask questions, make comments, and just be attentive. Teachers are sick and tired of snoozers.
    • You don't have to break new philosophical ground with every comment you make. Even answering questions your teacher poses can get you in good. Some teachers have participation points or will round up your grade if they know you do. So do it!
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    Get to know your teachers. If your teacher has office hours, go to them. If not, seek them out after class. Think about it this way: You have to give $50 to an acquaintance or to a friend. Who would you give it to? So when you get 95.5% on that test, it's that extra effort to get to know them that can bump you up to that A.
    • You don't have to ask about their kids or invite them out to lunch. No, no, no. Simply go up to them after class, ask them about a point they covered and go from there. You could also ask them for scholarly advice (potential jobs or schools, maybe?) and talk about yourself, too. You both need to get to know each other!
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    Ask for extra credit. Teachers are people; they are not machines. If you need something, they may be able to accommodate you. Especially if you're a good student that they've gotten to know! If you got a less-than-stellar grade on a piece of homework or exam, ask to do extra credit. Even if they say no, no harm done.
    • Even if you didn't get a less-than-stellar grade, ask about extra credit. When you're rocking a 105% class average, you can slack a little (but not too much) on the next test!
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    Take a blow-off class. Don't take seven, but do take one. Everyone needs to take pinball or choir or cake baking. Use it to recenter and focus yourself. And to be well-rounded! You can't all be about academics. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, remember?
    • You still gotta ace it, you know. So go to it, try your hardest, but go home not having any homework, you know?
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    Take advantage of technology. The world you live in is amazing. There are textbooks online. Tons of schools post their lectures in either video or audio format online. There are websites dedicated to helping you learn. USE THEM.
    • Ask your teacher for his/her powerpoints. Get on Memrise and make yourself some interactive flashcards. Go to Khan Academy to brush up on the Korean war. This ain't the 50s and you don't have to rummage through your library's card catalogue anymore to find extra resources. They're right at your fingertips.

Part 3
Studying Effectively

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    Get a tutor. Whoever you are, there is someone smarter than you. Okay, so they may not be smarter than you at English or at math, but they could be an absolute whiz when it comes to the fall of the Roman Empire. So get a tutor! There's no shame in it. There's certainly no shame in ensuring your future.
    • If you're in college, there are some students that have tutoring as part of their graduation requirements. They get credit, you get tutored. And it's free! If you can find a pedagogy class, go for it. No stress on you or your wallet. Double win.
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    Study in chunks. Studies show that if you take breaks while studying, your attention lasts a lot, lot longer.[2] So study for half an hour, take a ten minute break, and get back to crackin'. You're not losing time -- you're letting your brain re-energize.
    • Also try studying at different times of day. You may find that you like studying more in the morning or at night. Everyone's different!
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    Study in different places. Another brain hack is to study in different places.[3] Turns out your brain starts getting used to an environment and stops processing information (or something like that) and when you go to a new place it gets all excited and starts taking in things and remembering them better (until it gets used to it again). So if you can, find two or three places to do your dirty work.
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    Study in a group. Studies also show that studying in groups can help you retain and understand information.[4] When you get to explain something to someone else or hear other people explain it in different ways, it's a lot easier to process and remember. Here's a few other reasons studying in a group is awesome:
    • You can break up a boatload of content into manageable pieces. Assign each member a chapter to become an expert on.
    • Problem-solving and consensus reaching. Especially great for the sciences and math.
    • Predicting test questions and testing each other.
    • Making studying more interactive and fun (and thus memorable).
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    Don't bother cramming instead of staying refreshed. Turns out students who cram frantically, generally get pretty average grades.[5] So don't do it! The last thing you want is to be sleep-deprived all the time; your brain can not function well when it's exhausted, so don't bother.
    • Seriously. Totally study the night before, yeah, but do not lose sleep or your mind over it. You're better off getting a full seven or eight hours. You've been studying the whole time, and should know the topics, right?
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    Know how you learn. For some, taking notes isn't going to do a thing. If they recorded the lectures on the other hand, that might work. If you know whether you're a visual/aural/kinesthetic learner, you can tailor your time to studying the most effective way. And it might be an excuse to get mom to buy you that new pack of highlighters.
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    Use wikiHow. Seriously. There are a billions of tricks on wikiHow can teach you on this topic. Like did you know dark chocolate is a super brain food?![6] That people who write in cursive generally have better grades?[7] Tons of neat stuff! Here's a list to get you started:


  • Finish homework early so you aren't stressed out.
  • Study a week before a test, not just at the last minute.
  • Refer back to your work when studying for assessments.
  • Try to avoid getting in trouble. Follow rules. Be respectful and honorable. Be prompt to class (never tardy).
  • Don't underestimate your capabilities of achieving a higher grade.
  • If you are having trouble with the class material, ask the teacher, professor or teaching assistant for clarification of difficult concepts. This seems like a no brainer, but many students feel embarrassed and never get the help they need. This simple tip will save you precious study time, and show the professor how determined you are in doing well in his/her course.
  • Don't wait until the last moment to finish an assignment! The quality of the assignment will go down, if you are rushing it. Likewise, don't procrastinate while telling yourself that you'll "do it later." Start sooner, and take as much time as you need.
  • Study using flash cards, which are easy to organize. Add more and set aside cards that are well understood, or use outlines that have all the key issues and even check footnotes and do some advanced exercises in math and such.
  • Don't worry about trying to be the smartest person you know. That will just put pressure on you, and you won't do as good.


  • Don't overwork yourself. Take breaks, and get plenty of sleep.
  • Don't make the mistake of abusing your body with bad food and too much stress. There are serious health issues that come from overwork including both physical and mental aspects.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencils/Pens
  • Notebooks
  • A Binder for each subject
  • Highlighters
  • Index cards for taking notes
  • Dividers and paper for binder
  • A planner
  • Whiteout

Article Info

Categories: Improving And Maintaining Grades