The Key to Getting Good Grades


A Student Who Stands Out: Due to his academic excellence, sophomore Joseph Cichowski receives a special certificate from the President’s Education Awards Program in 2019. Photo courtesy: Joseph Cichowski, February 23, 2021.

Connor Nieman, Staff Writer

     Every student has most likely heard sometime in their life that getting good grades in school is the best way to boost their chances of being successful in the future. In addition, good grades are also a confidence-booster and allow students to feel a sense of accomplishment.  That being said, why do some students excel in school, while others struggle to pass their classes?  

     When trying to get good grades, one of the important things that students have to recognize is that they’re not going to enjoy every class. However, this doesn’t mean that students should only pay attention and try to learn in the classes they enjoy if they are trying to excel across the board.

     Melissa Prompovitch, a Foran parent and teacher at Orchard Hills Elementary School, states, “Learning is definitely necessary to achieving good grades. The more knowledge you have, the better off you will be. However, students should be learning with the mindset of being a lifelong learner, keeping that information with them for years to come. They shouldn’t learn just to get good grades.”

     In today’s world, technology is extremely prevalent and a lot of the connections to our family, friends, the media, and outside world are at our fingertips. However, these connections can pose as major distractions when a student is trying to learn and concentrate on their school work. As a result of these connections, many students become immersed in their distractions and it takes them off-task from their academics, leaving them uninterested and unmotivated to complete their work.

     Although these distractions can be challenging to overcome, there are students that have been able to do just that. The students that can overcome their distractions are typically the most successful academically because they are able to focus on staying motivated to complete schoolwork.  Joseph Cichowski, a sophomore, is a perfect example of one of these students.  Cichowski is an excellent student, but he acknowledges that distractions can draw him away from his schoolwork.

     Cichowksi claims that his best strategy to keep himself motivated is to eliminate as many distractions as possible from his study area.  In doing so, he is able to stay focused and productive during his work periods, enabling him to complete his work in a timely manner.

     It is crucial for students to understand that they are going to need to devote some of their time to their studies to get good grades. In the article, “Grades may depend more on hard work than intelligence,” Elisa Drake, a science teacher at Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, MA, says, “I watch students on a daily basis who are very intelligent but don’t do the work, so they don’t get great grades. I have students who don’t have natural ability and they work super hard and get fabulous grades.”

      That said, the amount of time that a student will need to put towards their schoolwork depends on a number of personal factors. Nevertheless, every student is capable of achieving academic excellence with a good work ethic. 

      “Students excel when they dedicate a time to study and do work, and put their phone in another room,” states Sarah DiGiacomo, a social studies teacher. “Your teachers want to see you succeed, and if you have genuine enthusiasm for the learning process, your teacher will ensure that you get the skills – and consequently, the grades – you desire.”

     According to research from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and its page on “How to Get Good Grades,” following a pattern of 45-minutes intervals of studying and taking 15-minute breaks in between is an effective homework and studying strategy. The article states that between 45-minute intervals, students should move around, eat snacks to keep themselves fueled up, and relax so they are refreshed for their next study period. 

     The article further goes on to explain how students setting goals for themselves helps them to be motivated and how breaking up work periods helps students maintain focus on their school work. “Create specific goals for yourself and stick to them,” says Lauren Giustino, a school counselor at Foran. “If you tell yourself you’re going to study at 4pm, don’t let those thoughts come into your head that say, ‘Maybe after dinner would be better…’ or ‘Maybe after I take a nap…’ If you make excuses ‘just this one time,’ what’s going to stop you from making excuses the next time?”