How to get good grades

October 23, 2012

By Nitin Shyamkumar

Nitin Shyamkumar Skyline High School

It’s the time of the year when class ranks are announced, and with class ranks come a flurry of questions.

If you’re an underclassman, maybe you’re wondering what the “trick” is to getting good grades. Or, maybe you’re a fellow senior and you’re wondering (1) how you could have improved your class rank, (2) why an article like this is necessary or (3) how you managed to get class rank X.

In any case, here are the opinions of three high school seniors from Skyline who chose to remain anonymous. Some are serious tips; others are a little less serious.


  • Communicate with your teachers: Getting good grades is a matter of effort and communication. The most students can do is to try their hardest and talk to their teachers if their grades aren’t reflecting their effort.
  • Procrastinate by convincing yourself you’re multitasking when you’re really just doing everything else other than homework and then stay up until 2 a.m. working on your history paper: This will guarantee you an A. Or a D. One of the two.
  • Sleep in class: Your teachers will know you were working hard at 2 in the morning and respect you all the more for it.
  • Skip school every so often: Your teachers will know that you’re hard at work studying at home and give you an A.
  • Try external help: External help such as tutoring has varying degrees of value to people, so it’s worthwhile to try a bunch of options and see if any are useful.
  • Ask other students for help: Don’t be afraid to ask others for help, especially upperclassmen who have likely gone through the same struggles and projects as you!
  • Learn the essential skills for being a good student: You should know how to summarize Sparknotes, copy answers from CalcChat, scribble answers in less than two minutes on that worksheet you forgot to do, and be able to whip out an essay from thin air.


  • Preparation and studying for tests: If you know you have trouble with material, don’t wait until the last minute to start reviewing.
  • Studying for tests. If you think you know the material, put it off until the night before, never mind the fact that the material will be 10 times harder than you thought and impossible to remember.
  • Do not study for tests: Sleep and put a pile of textbooks under your pillow. If you follow this procedure, knowledge will flow from the area of higher concentration to your brain, presumably an area of lower concentration, in a process known as osmosis. Never heard of osmosis? Go sleep with your biology textbook under your pillow.
  • Multiple-choice tests: Always select A. Always. Teachers will be impressed by your dedication to straight As and name you valedictorian in the Annual School Valedictorian Naming Convention.

End of the semester:

  • Bribe your teacher with doughnuts: Yes, there has been a documented case of doughnut bribery used to round grades.
  • Hard work: Honestly this is all it is. If you look back on your high school career at senior year and you can tell yourself you’ve done everything you possibly could, then that’s all that matters. If you’re unhappy with your class rank, remember that it didn’t come from any fault of your own, but from the fact that someone somehow got into a few more International Baccalaureate or Advanced Placement classes than you. So underclassmen, relax, and enjoy the next few years of high school! And seniors, forget class rank and enjoy the last year of high school.
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