3 Tips for Increasing Academic Performance for High School Students
All students who want to be accepted to a prestigious university know that they must possess excellent academic achievements that will affect their GPA results at the end of their schooling. Nevertheless, one’s academic achievements are significantly more difficult to enhance in practice than in theory, especially when it comes to the students who failed to start off on a good note. The underlying reasons for this can be growing up in problematic families, or the lack of a role model who could point out to their mistakes in learning or choosing certain habits.
If you are a high school student having difficulties in maintaining excellent results, or you do not achieve results that are proportionate to the efforts you make, then you should pay attention to this article. Later in the text you will be presented with three key tips on how to boost your academic performance.
- Change your approach to learning
Students often disregard the importance of finding an appropriate learning approach. For instance, let’s say that you regularly put in a lot of time and effort as you study for a test, and you constantly fail to achieve your desired results. In this situation, the problem may be the fact that you are not using the learning style that fits your personal and hereditary predispositions, as well as the learning strategies which can be integrated into that style.
So, when it comes to learning styles, you should primarily find out which type of learner you are. You can use The VARK Modalities that consist of four basic types of learning: visual, aural/auditory, read/write, and kinesthetic. It often happens that a learner is multimodal, which does not have to be the case with you. Kolb’s theory should also be mentioned. It divides learners into four categories: the converger, the diverger, the assimilator, and the accommodator.
Once you have found your learning style, you should also establish your learning strategy, i.e. a set of practices which will help you learn as efficiently as possible. Namely, you should find out if you are more comfortable with cognitive strategies (spacing, dual-coding, retrieval practices, highlighting, interleaved practice), metacognitive, or socio-affective strategies such as Game-Based Learning, the Muddiest Point technique, or the Devil’s Advocate approach.
- Manage your time and tasks more effectively
People in the 21st century have fewer and fewer concerns due to their increased economic wellbeing, and their exposure to attractive and easy-to-digest social media content. For this reason, we are facing a situation where more and more students cannot organize their time and tasks. As their existential and minor problems disappeared, students have lost their ability to worry, so they failed to acquire organization and time management skills necessary for achieving excellent academic performance, especially in upper school grades.
Consequently, it is vital that you create a structure in your life. A good way to do this is by having a fixed daily routine and knowing exactly when you should get up, go to bed, have breakfast, and do your extracurricular activities (if you are taking any). Having created a daily structure, you should make a list of long-term goals that will encompass your school deadlines, e.g. turning in assignments. Namely, writing your deadlines in a planner plays an important role in having a better insight at how you should organize your free time according to the tasks which, naturally, come first. And finally, you should have a list of daily tasks ordered by Pareto’s 80-20 rule. This means that 80 per cent of your daily results should stem from 20% most important daily activities.
- Physical activity boosts brain activity
Physical activity plays an important role in enabling students to use the maximum of their brain potential. However, as the overall life quality has increased, many students might have lost the motivation or the idea of how important it is to engage in any physical activity. Namely, by turning away from their biological evolutionary predisposition to moving, students amplify the likelihood of suffering from hereditary depression or anxiety, which may directly affect their academic performance.
Regarding physical activity, especially the aerobic type, one can conclude that it offers a number of benefits for the brain:
- It boosts the brain’s capacity of processing information. – According to a study by the Department of Exercise Science at the University of Georgia, performing aerobic exercise up to 60 minutes facilitates certain aspects of information processing.
- It enhances neuroplasticity by growing new neural connections. – The brain plasticity in itself is the neural system’s ability to change its activity by changing its structure in response to intrinsic and extrinsic stimuli. Bearing that in mind, a research by UCLA indicates that voluntary exercise increases axonal regeneration which represents a link among neurons, which further enables a more efficient transfer of information in the brain.
- It reduces stress and increases motivation. – During the performance of aerobic exercise, there is an increase in the production of endorphin which often serves as an antidepressant, then dopamine, a “feel good” hormone which is released prior to the feeling of reward (Sapolsky, R.M. (2017). Behave: the biology of humans at our best and worst. New York, New York: Penguin Press), and serotonin which has many roles – it regulates mood, reward, memory, and also learning.
- It encourages memory development. – A research conducted at the Karolinska Institute (Stockholm, Sweden) indicates a link between running and the growth of hippocampal cells, the part of the limbic system that is responsible for memory and learning.
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