Five ways to improve your grades

Try the following five ways to maximize your academic performance.

Want to get better grades? Pointers for academic success

These five suggestions are not magic potions guaranteeing a transcript filled with "A's". Following these suggestions will take time and mean work on your part. While they do not come with a money-back guarantee, you will be rewarded with better grades if you put them into practice.

  1. Attend every class session and actively participate.
  2. Do assigned reading and study handouts.
  3. Complete all homework assignments. Do them thoughtfully. Make an effort to learn something instead of just doing the assignment.
  4. Use exam study guides wisely.
  5. Interact with the instructor and your classmates.

"Be there," says psychologist

LEWISBURG, Pa. (CPS) If you're going to take the time and effort to be in school, you should focus on the class while you're there -- not the dozens of other concerns pressing for your attention, a Bucknell University psychotherapist said.

"If you are going to be in class for 50 minutes, be there," said John Ortiz, Bucknell's assistant director of psychological services.

Procrastination and "having to be in the right mood to study can hinder a student's education," he said. "(If you're procrastinating or waiting for the right mood,) you are either in the past or in the future. You worked so hard to get here (into school), so be here now. Whatever you're doing, do it. The only way to do anything right is with your full attention."

On the other hand, if you go to a sporting event instead of spending that time studying, Ortiz says you should try to get genuine satisfaction from the entertainment rather than fretting over what you should be doing instead.

Students get into the "shoulds and wants, or just waste time feeling guilty," Ortiz said. "By letting go of your expectations, you can react to circumstances as they appear in the here and now."

A final exam day parable

Written in the language of the 1611 King James Version of the Bible

Don't Let This Happen to You!

And it came to pass early in the morning toward the last day of the semester, there arose a multitude smiting the books and wailing.

And there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth, for the day of judgment was at hand, and they were afraid, for they had left undone those things which they ought to have done, and they had done those things which they ought not to have done, and there was no help for it.

And there were many abiding in the dorm who had kept watch over their books all night, but it availed them naught.

But some there were who rose peacefully, for they had prepared themselves the way and made straight the paths of knowledge. And these were known as wise burners of the midnight oil, and, by others, they were known as "curve raisers."

And the multitude arose and ate a hearty breakfast, and they came unto the appointed place, and their hearts were heavy within them.

And they had come to pass but some to pass out.

And some of them repented of their riotous living and bemoaned their fate, but they had not a prayer.

And at the last hour, there came among them one known as the instructor. He looked at them with a diabolical smile, passed papers among them, and went his way.

And many and varied were the answers which were given, for some of his teachings had fallen among fertile minds. Others had fallen among the fallows while still others had fallen flat.

And some there were who wrote for one hour, others for two, but some turned away sorrowful: and many of these offered a little bull, hoping to pacify the instructor, and these were the ones who had not a prayer.

And when they had finished, they gathered up their belongings, and went their way quietly, each in his own direction, and each one vowing to himself in this manner:

"I shall not pass this way again."

   --Author Unknown

drawing of green arrow   How much do you remember after two weeks? Edgar Dale's cone of learning

Are you tempted to cheat?

Fifteen percent of college students are serious, repetitive cheaters. At least, that's what one survey says. Do you know what is classified as cheating in college? What are the consequences at SNU if you do?

"A phenomenal 87% of college students in one survey say they cheated on written work, and one-quarter admit they have plagiarized papers"
   -- report published in the Washington Post

The battle for the students in the middle

"My belief is that 10-20% of students will cheat whenever they feel they can get away with it," says Rutgers University professor Donald McCabe, "and 10-20% will never cheat because of strong convictions or fear of getting caught. The battle is for the 60-80% in the middle."

In research at 31 schools, McCabe found 15% of university students admitted that they were "serious, repetitive cheaters."
-Reader's Digest

Guidelines for Academic Integrity

"The righteous detest the dishonest" -- Proverbs 29:27

"Cheating is not really considered a bad thing by students. Since everyone does it once in a while, it is kind of like going over the speed limit. Everyone knows that it is against the rules, but everyone still does it"
    -- male student quoted by K.J. Chapman, et. al. in "Academic integrity in the business school environment: I'll get by with a little help from my friends," pages 236-249 of volume 26, number 3 of Journal of Marketing Education

SNU policy

Southern Nazarene University seeks to support and promote qualities of academic honesty and personal integrity.

Serious offenses against the University community include cheating, plagiarism, and all forms of academic dishonesty. Cheating or academic dishonesty is defined as the deception of others about one's own work or about the work of another.

Examples of cheating include, but are not limited to:

  1. Submitting another's work as one's own or allowing another to submit one's work as though it were his or hers.
  2. Several people completing an assignment and turning in multiple copies, all represented either implicitly or explicitly as individual work.
  3. Failure to properly acknowledge authorities quoted, cited or consulted in the preparation of written work (plagiarism).
  4. The use of a textbook or notes during an examination without permission of the instructor.
  5. The receiving or giving of unauthorized help on assignments.
  6. Stealing a problem solution from an instructor.
  7. Tampering with experimental data to obtain a "desired" result or creating results for experiments not done (dry labbing).
  8. Tampering with or destroying the work of others.
  9. Submitting substantial portions of the same academic work for credit or honors more than once without permission of the present instructor.
  10. Lying about these or other academic matters.
  11. Falsifying college records, forms, or other documents.
  12. Unauthorized access of computer systems or files.

Students who are guilty of such academic violations can expect to be penalized; any student who knowingly assists another student in dishonest behavior is equally responsible.

The course instructor shall have the authority to deal with instances of academic dishonesty in a variety of ways including (but not limited to) the following:

  1. Work may be redone for full or partial credit.
  2. Alternate assignments may be given for full or partial credit.
  3. Work may not be redone and no credit will be given for that particular assignment.
  4. The student may be dropped from the course.

Faculty members must report any academic integrity incident to the Office of Academic Affairs. Following two reports against a particular student, action will be initiated under provisions of the judicial code and may lead to dismissal of the student from the University.

Students have the right to appeal action under this policy through the regular channels as established by the grade appeal process.

— SNU Office Academic Affairs

"Do not lie to each other." -- Colossians 3:9

Websites about pirating other people's words and ideas (plagiarism)

linksPlagiarim Sites on the Internet

Giving credit where credit is due rather than taking someone else's work and passing it off as your own.

    -- Howard Culbertson,

Afterword: Three Things to Do to Succeed in College

Being a successful college student involves a combination of academic, personal, and organizational skills. Here are three key things a person should do to excel in college:

  1. Time Management: College life can be demanding with classes, assignments, extracurricular activities, and personal commitments. Effective time management is crucial. This involves creating a schedule or planner to allocate time for studying, attending classes, completing assignments, and engaging in social activities. Prioritize tasks based on deadlines and importance, and avoid procrastination to ensure you stay on top of your workload.
  2. Active Participation and Engagement: Actively participate in class discussions, group projects, and extracurricular activities. Engage with professors, ask questions, and seek clarification when needed. This not only enhances your understanding of the subject matter but also demonstrates your commitment and enthusiasm to learn. Additionally, joining student clubs or organizations related to your interests can provide valuable networking opportunities and enhance your overall college experience.
  3. Effective Study Habits: Develop effective study habits tailored to your learning style. This may include breaking down study material into manageable chunks, utilizing active learning techniques such as summarizing information in your own words or teaching concepts to peers, and finding a conducive study environment free from distractions. Experiment with different study methods to determine what works best for you and maintain a healthy balance between studying and relaxation to prevent burnout.

By mastering these three aspects -- time management, active participation, and effective study habits -- you can position yourself for success as a college student and beyond.

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