What Does It Take to Get Good Grades in High School?

What Does It Take To Get Good Grades In High School?

Transitioning to a high school mindset can be a tricky task; high school differs greatly from elementary and middle school in many ways. As students attend high school, the need to become more mature, both mentally and emotionally, arises. New courses, expectations, and pressures begs the question, “What does it take to get good grades in high school?”

Finding the best path to success in anything is complicated. However, the best way to get better results in high school is to first start off with what works for the majority of people; to get good grades, students should follow normal and healthy habits within school. Keeping up with extracurriculars, AP or honors classes, and other circumstances is a tough challenge to manage and balance out. Although, basic strategies have proven to quickly help relieve this stress and improve grades overall.

Class Participation

Most of the learning process takes place inside the classroom. For this reason, maximizing your attention in class can help stimulate retention of the material at hand. Both answering and asking questions engages a student to take a more hands on approach to learning. Another way to ensure class participation is to take notes during lectures or lessons. When taking notes during class, make sure to summarize the key details during the lessons. By forcing your brain to condense the ideas into summaries, it first processes the information then stores it in your long term memory to be accessed for a later time, such as during the next test. Students should be able to take detailed notes while listening to lectures from the teacher. The more you participate in class and are comfortable with the lessons, the more engaged you are with the learning material and process. This understanding and engagement ultimately improves test scores along the way to improve  grades.


While it may be a surprise, organization is the first essential part of studying. In high school, there are several classes that need to be taken at once, so being on top of assignments and tests is a must. Therefore, keeping a planner to track each class’s homework and test dates allows for a better mindset to study effectively and efficiently. 

The right mindset in question requires energy, and studying takes up quite a lot of energy. Therefore fatigue becomes a problem. In the best case scenario, there are two ways to combat this issue: you can either replenish energy after fatigue or reduce the rate you become fatigued. The latter is more plausible, thus using an approach such as the Pomodoro Technique can help. This can limit distractions to maximize engagement with your studies. The technique is as follows: start with a mildly rigorous study session of reading, practicing problems and/or note taking for 25 minutes straight. Once the 25 minutes is up, take a short break of 5-10 minutes; this reduces fatigue that may start to grow. The more this process is repeated, the more fatigue builds up. Despite the several small breaks taken, exhaustion will eventually set in. At this point, take a longer 20-30 minute break to rest your mind.

Emotional Intelligence

By being aware and regulating your own emotions, you are able to perform better in a learning environment. Between 1998 and 2016, Professor Carolyn MacCann from the University of Sydney, performed research on the effects emotional intelligence had on academics. Throughout 27 different countries, she observed various students with higher emotional intelligence. She concluded that these students succeeded more in grades and academic achievements compared to their classmates. Her study displays a direct correlation between emotional intelligence and grades. Therefore, regulating emotions will lead to better grades within high school. Because anxiety and pressure cause unnecessary stress, students should be able to handle such negative aspects. This management creates a mindset that is more fit to learning and performing better tests.


Earning and maintaining good grades in high school prove to be difficult due to the anxiety, pressure, and new environment students face when transitioning to higher education. By maximizing class participation, a student is able to fully engage with their learning as well as grasp the concepts effectively for upcoming tests. Keeping detailed notes allows students to easily comprehend prior lessons and succeed throughout the rest of the class. The ability to organize schoolwork, such as having a planner, demonstrates one of the various healthy habits for learning in high school. The student is able to efficiently keep up with all of their heavy load of work. Using fatigue reducing strategies such as the Pomodoro technique works to increase productivity and efficiency while studying. In order to settle the main problem of anxiety and pressure, having a strong emotional intelligence to manage and regulate a student’s own emotions can result in improved grades.

Written by Jacob Adarlo


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