Students view teachers as the enemy, when in fact they are there to help to give the child the skills they will need to get by and succeed. If they would take to get to know their teachers they would find an ally, and seek out their guidance — especially when they find themselves struggling to get the grades they will need in order to go to college, or get a good paying job.

I stumbled upon a great group of clips done by a teacher of 30 years, Graham Best, in Vancouver, Canada. Best also wrote the memory improvement book, “Memory Made Easy.” His videos, found on YouTube, are a series of tips that will help students to get better grades, and based on his experience as a teacher.

Best feels that if any student simply takes the advice of people who have been thru what they have, and open their minds to advice from ‘older’ people, they will find every one of them is capable of getting better grades. His theory is, “If it isn’t working for you now, then don’t you think it’s time to make some changes that may help?”

Here is a synopsis of Best’s ideas:

1. First things First. Eliminate all distractions! Clear your desk, turn off your television and radio, have good lighting and a quiet place to work. If you must have music in the background, use only classical Baroque music.

2. Be Prepared. Make sure you are fully prepared when you go into class, or to take a test.   Be sure you have studied thoroughly, gotten a good night’s sleep, and eaten a good breakfast or lunch. You can’t concentrate when you are tired or hungry. You will be much more confident when you know you are ready, your self-esteem will grow, and you won’t be nervous. Have all your tools ready and available.

3. Take a study break. Practice chunking. You are more apt to remember things in smaller phases of time than one large section. Memory tends to peak at the beginning of learning, and at the end. By taking smaller chunks of time, with a break in between, you have more peak times instead of just two (so if you take three breaks you will have 6 peaks instead of 2).   It also clears your mind to be more receptive to learning when you get back.

4.   Have Study Aides. Take advantage of wasted time by having flash cards, photocopies of important papers you need to remember, vocabulary sheet, or a tape/MP player with questions and answers around. You can study them while you are waiting for the bus, or sitting in the park.

5. Get organized. Make better use of your time. Make your study items easier to find, and an organized life is less stressful. Plan your time. If your surroundings are scattered your thoughts are. Make lists, blueprints, map your day, make a list of the week. Without planning you will get frustrated. Simplicity is important.

6. Learn Speed Reading. Stop the wandering mind by taking a speed reading course. It’s   not just about reading faster, it’s about comprehending and understanding what you read. You don’t need to read every word on the page, but learn how to read to get out of it what you have to. Read the heading, subheadings, first paragraph, last paragraph, first sentence, look at sidebars, definitions, diagrams. Write a summary and reflect on what you have read.

7. Take GOOD notes. Notes can help refresh your memory on key points brought out in class. Learn to listen with your ears, and our brain. If the teacher repeats something more than once, chances are it will be on a test. Listen for key words and phrases. If something is written on the board, it’s important to remember.

8. Turn in Neat Work. Some grades have been lower because the teacher can’t read the writing. Neat work also means you are organized and have taken the time to do the work right.

9.   Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask. You are in charge of your own destiny, and if you let it slip away because of fear of what people will think it’s like shooting yourself in the foot. It’s painful, and could have been avoided. If you don’t know something – ask a friend, a teachers or a parent. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, in class or talk to the teacher after class – that is what they are there for. Ask questions and anticipate answers.

10. Start a study group. If you can explain it to someone else, you get it. Others may have questions you hadn’t thought of, or may need help themselves. By working together you can help each other.

11. Do research. A survey conducted in Canada on their top students said they did a little more than they are expected. Read magazines and other books on the material; look up old tests your teacher has given on the subject; watch tv shows on the subject material; write your own tests, etc. The more you find out the better you understand and the easier it is to remember. Study smarter- not harder.

12.   Apply what you learn to life — use what you learn. Best likes to use the acronym – Follow the ‘camera’ —

c-contemplate

a — analyze’

m — memorize

e — explain

r — relate

a — apply to life

This is Ron White,   two-time USA Memory Champion. I found this information extremely apt for students in helping them get better grades.

 

Sources:

Graham Best- Utube videos:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXNfVs1pPQc&feature=autoplay&list=ULHxRBq1egWbk&lf=mfu_in_order&playnext=1