How to Get an A Before the End of the Term: 4 Steps

Many students find that they are just short of an A at the end of the semester. This is especially frustrating for students who worked extra hard in hopes of getting an A on their final grade report. It’s also frustrating for parents who want their children to have excellent grades when applying to college.


How can students push through these last couple weeks of the term in order to push that C to a B or that B to an A?

1. Schedule extra time with a tutor

Tutors are generally the most busy the two weeks leading up to the end of the term and the two weeks leading up to a standardized test. Most students are advised to ask their Orange County academic tutor well in advance if they are available for extra study help. It’s important for students to be organized in advance of their study time and tutors can often help determine how much time to allocate to particular subjects. For example, if a student has a 99% in French and 89% in calculus, the tutor can definitely point their student towards extra calculus study (READ: “3 Warning Signs of Senioritis“). Tutors can also help students determine which assignments are worth a large amount of percentage points and which assignments are nominal. However, sometimes those nominal half percent assignments can push a B+ to an A-. Students should discuss with their tutor what their goals are and how much time they’re prepared to spend on self study leading up to finals week.

2.  Self-study

Students who complete their homework assignments but don’t necessarily spend a lot of time studying for tests and quizzes are advised to abandon that train of thought leading up to finals week. Students who do not participate in regular self-study will be much less likely to turn a B into an A (READ: “10 Study Tips from an Irvine History Tutor“). In general, students who spend five hours per week on self-study should be prepared to spend seven or eight hours minimum during finals week. Students wishing to get an A will probably spend up to 20 hours a week outside of school preparing for their exams. This is, of course, a crazy amount of time to spend on studying but expectations for high-schoolers get crazier every year.

3. Academic socialization

Students often complain that they don’t have a chance to see friends the two weeks leading up to finals. This is a valid complaint however, students who over-socialize during this time will probably end up with a C+/B+ as opposed to the B-/ A- they were hoping for. A good solution is to participate in academic socialization. Students who meet their friends at a coffee shop to study can still enjoy spending time with their peers but also use the time as a productive educational tool. In high school, our friends are our cheerleaders and can provide us with both the self-esteem and the drive to work hard and pursue our goals. On the other hand, friends who lead us away from these goals should be avoided towards the end of term.

4. Open communication with the teacher

Students who are between 1 and 3 percentage points away from receiving an A should definitely talk with their teacher after class. Many teachers would like to be able to give all of their students an A, but they need to be fair and make sure that each student is deserving of such a grade. Some teachers will offer extra credit to students who take the time to ask for it towards the end of term. Teachers appreciate that their students took the initiative to do well but will not reward students who don’t ask in advance. The worst that can happen is the teacher says ‘no’.

Almost every student, at some point in time, has been in a situation where they didn’t quite make the grade (READ: “College Application Decisions: Food for Thought“). These are great learning experiences to help determine what we can do to improve in the next term. It’s a good idea for college prep students to look towards the past and figure out what they can change to make that A grade in the future.

Finals are just around the corner, good luck!

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