How can I improve my performance in school?

In summary, the student is struggling with their first semester of 10th grade, with a weighted GPA of 3.0. They are taking a variety of challenging courses and have trouble with tests, particularly in math where they struggle with word problems. They are interested in pursuing engineering as a career but want to explore the field more to make sure it is the right fit for them. Suggestions for improving test-taking skills include practicing with timed exams and focusing on problem-solving through practice.
  • #1
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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!
 
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  • #2
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.
 
  • #3
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.
 
  • #4
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.
 
  • #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.
 
  • #6
Choppy said:
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.

SHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Don't tell Klockan!
 

1. How can I manage my time better to improve my performance in school?

Time management is key for academic success. Start by creating a schedule or a to-do list to prioritize tasks and assignments. Set aside specific blocks of time for studying and avoid procrastination. Utilize tools such as calendars and planners to keep track of deadlines and due dates.

2. How can I improve my study habits?

Effective studying involves finding a quiet and comfortable place to focus, breaking up study sessions into smaller chunks, and actively engaging with the material through strategies like note-taking and summarizing. It's also important to take breaks and get enough rest to prevent burnout.

3. How can I stay motivated to do well in school?

Motivation can be a challenge, but setting realistic goals and visualizing the end result can help. Surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people, seeking help from teachers and mentors, and finding a balance between school and personal life can also keep you motivated.

4. How can I improve my note-taking skills?

Note-taking is a valuable skill for retaining information. Start by actively listening and using abbreviations and symbols to jot down key points. Organize notes in a way that makes sense to you and review them regularly. Consider using different colors or highlighting important information.

5. How can I handle test anxiety and perform better on exams?

Test anxiety can be managed by practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and positive self-talk. It's also helpful to study consistently and thoroughly, get enough rest and nutrition before the exam, and arrive early to alleviate any last-minute stress. Remember to read each question carefully and use time wisely during the exam.

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