While we all know grades aren’t everything, a few points on your GPA can be the difference between thousands of dollars in scholarships, winning an award, or getting into your dream grad school. I’m only a junior in college, but so far I have managed to get a 4.0 every semester. Of course, a 4.0 GPA doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a dream job in your desired occupation – but it doesn’t hurt either. Here are some tips and tricks I use to keep myself on task, motivated, and on the way to the Dean’s list!

We shared our secrets to getting a 4.0 GPA in college!

Handwriting Notes

Handwriting your class notes has countless benefits, including keeping you actively engaged and helping you retain information longer. While handwriting everything may seem slower and more meticulous at first, you get into the groove of it and learn to really focus on writing down key points rather than monotonously typing every little detail. Being able to determine what is worth writing down requires you to listen more carefully and in turn, helps to keep you attentive during long lectures.

I also like handwriting notes because you have more freedom. If you find your mind wandering during class, you can add a little doodle here or there to keep yourself focused. Handwriting also gives you more freedom when copying down graphs, timelines, or other visual components – rather than fumbling around with charts on your computer and missing important information, handwriting allows you to easily sketch in visuals whenever you need to without missing a beat.

Related: 5 Ways to Never Miss an Assignment Again

Going to the Library

When it comes to focusing and making the most of your time, it’s important to know how you work and where you work best. For me, this is the library. I like the library because it is a quiet environment that really encourages productivity and focus. When you look around and see that everyone else is busy working, you will be encouraged to get back to work too and won’t be tempted to distract others. This quiet, distraction-free environment is the best place for me to go when I really need to get stuff done.

For you, the ideal work environment might be different – for example, a coffee shop, your dorm lobby, your room, etc. There’s no wrong answer, so it’s important to try out different places at first to find where you work best. Wherever you decide to do your work, make sure that it is a place with minimal distractions and one that caters to your individual working style.

Using a Planner

I honestly have no idea how people survive college without some sort of planner – my planner is my life source! Planners are great because you can keep all your important information in one place, whether that’s assignment info, to-do lists, or due dates. I keep my planner with me at all times and check it countless times throughout the day. Having your planner handy will ensure you don’t forget anything because you can jot it down right away! During the beginning of the semester, I pull out all my syllabi and begin planning out my semester with all my upcoming assignments, tests, presentations, etc. I make sure they are color-coded based on the class they’re for.

Paying Attention to the Little Things

Though it can be easy to ignore small assignments in the midst of big presentations and tests, you might regret it when the end of the semester comes and you’re only a few points away from an A! Small reading responses or easy extra credit assignments might feel like pointless busywork, but they can really make a difference on your long-term GPA. Of course, I’m not suggesting you spend 3 hours on a 5 point assignment, but if you prioritize your time well, you should have no problem keeping up with day-to-day work, even if it means staying up half an hour later than you originally planned to. After all, it’s always better to turn something in and get partial credit than to get a zero.

Going to Class

Pretty self-explanatory, right? My school has a fairly strict attendance policy where not showing up to class really effects your grade, but I know many bigger colleges don’t. Whether you have to or not, going to class is super important if you want to maintain good grades. Even if you have someone film the lecture for you, nothing quite compares to physically being there where you can discuss the material or ask the professor questions. I highly suggest making class attendance a priority from the very beginning of your college career – besides, classes are literally what you are paying for, so make sure to get your money’s worth.

So, there you have it! While doing these things won’t guarantee straight A’s every semester, it’s a good place to start.

What are some tips and tricks you use to keep yourself on track?

jordanJordan is a junior majoring in Business Administration and minoring in Intercultural Studies. When she’s not dreaming about sitting on a warm beach, she’s probably eating Ben + Jerry’s, laughing, or planning her next foreign adventure. Once she decides to take the leap, you’ll find her writings at jordaninreverie.wordpress.com .

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8 thoughts on “The Secrets to Getting a 4.0 GPA in College

  1. I’m starting college in fall & to get into meds school I have to have at least a 3.8 gpa. I want to aim for a 4.0 that way if it does go down a point I don’t have to worry. How many hours a day do you spend studying to get a 4.0? I read you should spend 2-3 hours a week per credit, is that realistic?

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    1. Hey Serena!
      When it comes to premed classes, it’s typically a bit more just because some classes, like organic chemistry, are harder for most people. I’m not a premed major, but my best friend at school is and she spends closer to an hour a day for her premed classes. It’ll just be important to read what classes are harder for you to split up your time when you start the semester. Good luck!

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  2. I start community college soon. Let last 3-4 years of school I was not doing good. This past year though I have turned it around and almost all As!! This post helps me know that I can continue those grades in college. Thank You

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