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How can I improve my performance in school?

  1. Feb 10, 2011 #1
    I am currently in 10th grade, and this first semester has not been good. My weighted GPA totaled to about a 3.0. I'm taking English Honors, Chemistry Honors (weighted), PE, AP European History (weighted), Algebra 2--Trig. Honors, and Spanish 3. I understand the subject when the teacher is explaining it in class and do well on the homework, but the tests reflect differently. I am not sure whether or not I am well-prepared for my tests. I usually skim through my textbooks the night before an upcoming test to review. I feel confident about the material that I will be tested on when I'm reviewing, but when I take the test, I forget some details or I just don't understand what the question is asking. Especially during math tests, I've noticed myself getting intimidated by long word problems. I can solve the basic, simpler questions but when it comes to solving a more complex problem, I get completely confused. What are some ways I can use to be more prepared for my future tests? What are some good studying techniques that can prove to be useful for me at this moment?

    I want to get into a really good UC (UCSD or UCB) or Stanford and become an engineer. As of now, I'm leaning towards becoming either a Computer Engineer or a Mechanical Engineer. I have not exposed myself to this field too much, but from what I've read/heard, I am interested in pursuing engineering as my career. Considering I'm a better hands-on worker/learner, I know I will be able to enjoy my work and thoroughly understand it. How can I get a better feel of engineering in order to decide if I am really interested in the right field for me?

    Any suggestions would be useful and very much appreciated. Thank you!
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 10, 2011 #2


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    The best way to get better at taking tests is to practice taking tests. Find some practice exams on line and practice taking them, with a time limit just like a real test. Not only will you get better at taking tests, but it will highlight weak areas in your knowledge. Sometimes you think you know the material, but when you try to use it on an exam you find "gaps" in your understanding.
  4. Feb 11, 2011 #3


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    Practice. Practice. Practice.

    Especially in mathematics and science, for most people it's usually not enough to just read over the material. This will likely trigger a conceptual understanding, but it won't give you the practical skill for answering questions.

    For example, I could probably explain to you that replacing a kitchen sink is simply a matter of disconnecting the old one, removing it, fitting a new one in place and connecting it. In terms of doing it though there are all sorts of practical issues such as: making sure the water it turned off, which wrench do you need to unhook the drain pipes, how do you fit a wrench up underneath the faucet, how much caulking putty do you use to seal the new sink to the counter, etc.

    Word problems are very similar. You can probably look at them and pick out conceptually what needs to be done, but until you do it, you are likely to miss the more subtle details.
  5. Feb 11, 2011 #4


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    Your studying for math tests should involve doing lots of the types of word problems you find hard. Just reading over the material is not going to make you a good problem solver. Only practice at solving problems is going to do that.
  6. Feb 11, 2011 #5
    It's already been said. Do more problems. If that doesn't get you where you want, do even more problems. Focus on the ones you find difficult.
  7. Feb 11, 2011 #6
    SHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Don't tell Klockan!
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