How to do Well in High School English Courses

Whether people hate them or love them, high school English courses are important. Many people say that reading Shakespeare or Charles Dickens and writing a six paragraph essay has no value to a student’s future. This is only true if they do not think that critical analysis and reading are important.

slidebird1The fact is, writing and reading go hand in hand in taking student’s skills to a higher level. People do not have to write academic essays when they grow up and start a career. However, they will have to know how to organize sentences and ideas in a coherent and logical manner if they want to be taken seriously in any job – think business emails. That being said, here are a few tips to get you on your way to success in English class.

1. Always Do the Reading

High school English courses present a wide variety of literature, and, odds are, students won’t like it all. However, people should discard their subjectivity while they read. English teachers care more about students completing writing assignments than them liking what they read – who knows, you might find yourself enjoying it.

Students should take advantage of class discussions to let their teacher know how they feel about what they’ve read. Teachers will be impressed by freethinkers who know the material. It’s difficult to contribute when you haven’t done the readings, and you’ll most likely end up embarrassing yourself. Further, a student’s grades will reflect their preparedness – teachers don’t like lazy pupils!

2. Know Thy Grammar

The majority of English students groan at the thought of studying grammar any more than necessary. They can not be blamed, as grammar consists of rules that put limits on how people express themselves through language. Some students may even see grammar-obsessive teachers as a handicap on their creative freedom.

Unfortunately, their English teacher will not be swayed by such an argument. What is worse is that they will continue to take points off of essays for things such as run-on sentences, comma splices, and confusion between “they’re”, “their” and “there”.

Relax, students shouldn’t fear weekends spent with a grammar book. Instead, they should pay close attention to how their teacher grades classwork. This will enable them to avoid making the same mistakes twice. If they can, students should also correct these errors when speaking; as people tend to write similarly to the way that they speak.

3. Always Start Essays Early

When writing essays, students should make sure that they have enough time to create quality-content. Teachers often give students several weeks to write an essay. It is also a good idea to start writing the essay the same day that it is assigned. This is because starting to write an essay is often the least fun and hardest part.

Students who get the dreaded first paragraph out of the way early are less likely to procrastinate. Likewise, they are able to get a good night’s sleep before it is due, as they finish with time to spare. Finally, use this extra time to proofread and make revisions as needed.

4. Learn the Five Paragraph Essay Right Now

In order to be successful in high school English courses, students should take the time to master the structure of the five paragraph essay. Lots of schools across the U.S. are teaching this as early as 5th grade. If a student takes the time to master this concept early, writing papers in high school and college will be a breeze.

Aside from that, it doesn’t hurt to have this skill when they are in the workforce. Writing presentations, reports, and emails is a snap when you understand how to structure arguments and ideas.

5. Journal

Journaling is like thinking, but in a written form. Another way for students to be successful in their high school English courses is to try creating a personal journal. Journaling helps them get their ideas out into the universe without editing themselves. The main point is that a student is jump-starting their writing skills by getting words out on paper. It also helps them remember important points in the story that they are reading. This will help them do well on essay tests, quizzes, and even in class discussions.


The Bottom Line

A lot of things that students write and read about in their high school English courses may not seem especially important for their future. However, teachers try their best to create a framework that helps people understand how to write and read critically. Students need these two skills for everything. Following these simple tips will not only give them an edge in their English courses, but also provide them with the important skills that they can use in their lives for many years to come.

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