10 Tips to Boost your GPA

A great GPA score usually signals the difference between meeting requirements for prestigious programs and scholarships – or not. It also decides the honors you get on graduation day, which go a long way toward distinguishing your degree from others in the world of work.

In fact, one human resource management lecturer with 20 years of experience in the field once told me that a degree with less than upper second class honors is not worth considering.

In a sea of graduates leaving college every year, a high GPA becomes one of the many things employers like her look for when hiring top notch talent for their businesses. It is also what a lot of clients look for in freelancers to trust their expertise in the field.

So here are 10 tips to up your GPA game.

1 – Join a Study Group

Joining a study group can make all the difference in your grades. Joining as a tutor allows you to help other students get better at topics and subjects you’ve already grasped, which helps to cement it in your memory for future use. Joining as a pupil helps you to get the assistance you need with areas you do not understand.

Join study groups which encourage healthy intellectual discussions about the topics at hand. When you interact with information outside of a classroom setting, it helps you to remember it better. Think of all the songs you know by heart, or all the information you can recite about pop culture. This is how you learned it.

2 – Revise as Soon as you Get Home

After surviving a day of class the last thing on your mind is going home to go through the ordeal again. But it is one of the best things you can do for your GPA. Reading over while the information is still fresh in your mind helps to make the information stick.

It also allows you to catch any errors you might have made while taking notes, which you would have accepted as fact if you waited weeks or months to look back at the information.

Making cue cards from the notes you take also comes in really handy, as when study time comes around, you can bring these virtually anywhere to get some studying in.

 3 – Be Proactive

It sounds simple but one of the biggest mistakes people make is to procrastinate. It is also the easiest offence to commit, since it’s so convenient to do everything else fun and leave work for the last minute. Don’t allow yourself to pick up this habit. It’s very hard to break once you do.

Getting your schoolwork out of the way as soon as possible allows you to focus on having fun in your free time, guilt-free. It also means that you have more time to go over your work and to catch all the typos and errors, if you rushed the project the night before.

Remember also that instructors usually subtract points from late submissions.

4 – Three Time’s the Charm

An English teacher in high school once told the class that our brains only retain 30% of information each time we cover it. She didn’t provide the science behind that, but applying that logic can go a long way towards boosting grades.

The aim should be to cover the information at least three times to score 90%. Do not count class-time, as this will make up for the rest of the percentage. Covering the information thrice does not have to mean rereading the same notes three times. It can mean reading the textbook, then the accompanying Powerpoint slides, followed by the notes made in class.

Whatever method you use, attempt to interact with the information at least three times in a brief period; usually a week or two before the exam.

 5 – Write Everything Down

A lot of students claim they can remember everything and don’t need to write it down. Maybe you’re one of them. But as one finance teacher once told the class, “The weakest ink lasts longer than the strongest memory”.

Take notes at your lectures and write down examples teachers give to explain problems. Even if you don’t understand it, write it down anyway. Often times, when you go home and go over it a few times it finally makes sense.

 6 – Buy a Good Laptop

Being a college student is a lot like being a freelancer. You are almost always on the clock wherever you go, even on holidays. Just as freelancers rely heavily on portable devices to get work done wherever they go, so will you.

Invest in a laptop to ensure that being away from home or on a road-trip doesn’t prevent you from getting work done in a pinch. Having a laptop also makes taking notes in class much easier. If you can’t afford a regular laptop, consider getting a Chromebook, or even a tablet with a blue-tooth keyboard. They work just as well for taking notes and doing online research, but cost a lot less.

7  – Take Care of Yourself

School is stressful. Boost those feel good hormones with exercise. College is very much like a sedentary job, and carries the same problems. Get up and run. Go to the gym. Bike. Walk. Skate. Swim. Do something.

Eat as healthy as you can afford to. Don’t use college as an excuse to stock up on junk. The last thing you need is to feel sick the night before finals. Take supplements to boost your immune system and cook with garlic, which is a natural antibiotic.

Stay away from recreational drugs as much as possible, and do not consume too much alcohol.

8 – Learn to Need Less Sleep

Time is of the essence in school, and sleep is one of the biggest thieves. While sleep is actually quite important to physical and mental health, you should learn to need less of it anyway.

No matter how early you get things out of the way, there will always be nights when you need to stay up late to get important things done. Training your body to require less hours of sleep puts more hours in the day to get more done, and over time it makes staying up late a breeze.

Using social media to engage other college students in discussions about the topics you’re covering will also make it easier to stay up; as long as you keep the phone on silent and have the willpower to resist checking the phone every five minutes. If you can master that, you’d be amazed to see how much this helps you to remember things.

9 – Find a Healthy Distraction

This seems like an unlikely recommendation for college, but you do need to find something to look forward to every day outside of schoolwork. Whether it’s playing video games, working on your blog, writing novels, or reading a few pages of a book, make time to feed your brain something other than academic concepts and statistic formulas.

Made it through an entire night of studying or completed a project you’ve been working on for hours, or weeks? Great! Reward yourself. You’ve earned it.

10 – Beware of Relationships

Relationships can be fun and nurturing, but obligations to your partner gets in the way of time you could spend getting work done. Add the risk of pregnancy, and the demand of raising kids, and the stakes climb higher.

However, having a partner can also help you get better grades. If you already have children, then a partner can help watch the kids while you focus on your studies. If you don’t, be sure to use effective birth control methods regularly to keep it that way. And if – like my husband – you have a partner who gives you a lot of space to study and will help you with schoolwork, then your GPA may thank you for it.

Whatever your decision, weigh the pros and cons of the kind of relationships available to you versus your grades. Relationships are often short-lived and temporary at this age, but low GPAs and student debt are not. Invest in the life experiences which stand to benefit you most. There’s plenty of time for everything else later.

Photo Credit: 360 degrees


About the Author

Alexis Chateau is the Founder of College Mate and Managing Director at Alexis Chateau PR. She is an activist, writer, and explorer. Follow her stories of trial and triumph at www.alexischateau.com.

13 Comments Add yours

    1. Thanks for sharing. 🙂


  1. Absolutely love this! Filled with so much truth! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. GPA Underdog says:

    Excellent stuff! Wish I could have taken heed while I was in school. Any youngsters reading, listen up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey GPA Underdog. Thanks for reading. I’m glad you find them to be good points. I applied them myself and they worked for me haha.

      Your name caught my attention by the way, because that’s a part of the slogan for my PR firm “Championing the underdogs since 2006” which is ironically also the year I started college and my PR work.

      You should write for the College Mate contest. Share a college story about life with a low GPA or something. There’s a $25 prize every month and all entries get published on our website. Here are the rules if you’re interested: https://collegemate.org/2017/01/04/monthly-college-mate-writing-contest/

      Liked by 1 person

      1. GPA Underdog says:

        Thanks Alexis, that sounds really great. I definitely whip something up!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Awesome! Deadline for February is on the 20th. If you miss it, we’ll submit for next month. Last week left and no submissions for this month yet though, so your chances of snagging that $25 is pretty high for February. Good luck! 🙂


  3. Mohita Verma says:

    Finally, an article that talks about all the right things. These days, people tell each other all kinds of nonsense like you get away with end semester examinations by studying only a week before the exam.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness! Please don’t ever, EVER do that. Lazy students sometimes pass and often fail, but very few of them, if any, ever excel!

      When I was in college, I studied every day. I would come home and make my cue cards after classes, which is what I used to do my big studying closer to tests/mid-terms/exams. Because I was reading over my notes after classes every day to make these, it really helped making things stick.

      As far as when I started my hardcore studying for final exams, I aimed for two months, and considered one month (4 weeks) before the first exam date okay.

      I’m not sure if you’ve seen it already, but here is how I used to make my study plans at that time: https://collegemate.org/2016/11/29/how-to-make-a-study-plan-tutorial/

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mohita Verma says:

        Hey! Thanks for the reply.
        I so regret not studying early. I wouldn’t have to take all this black coffee ☹️

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well there are other semesters where you can make up for it. I hope your grades turn out good! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

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