Straight A's

Fake Your Way to Straight A's


August 11, 2012

I published a form of this article in a kids magazine back in 2006. In about 10 days, I start teaching at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College (ABTech). I'll be teaching a class required for all first semester students on student success and study skills. Seemed like a good time to pull out this old article and post it. I've not updated it to include current technological aids, but I think you'll find these habits are timeless.

Fake Your Way to Straight A's

Disappointed in your grades? Want to be an A student? You can be. . .just fake it! All you have to do is find those academic superstars in your life and start imitating them. Here’s what you do: pay close attention to their class attendance; take note of how they take notes; and then study how they study. Once you have figured out how those A students act, just copy their behavior. Before long, your grades will look just like theirs!

One thing A students do is go to class--every time it meets. They treat class like a job. So do that. Be on time to class, pretending that you have to punch a time-clock. Be alert, ready to go to work. If you know you will have to miss a class, let the teacher know. Get your assignments. Act as if you care that you will not be there. If you do not know beforehand, just explain your absence to the teacher later. If possible, get a brief summary of the previous class and also find out how to make up any missed work. Then, of course, you should follow through and do the work. That’s what A students do.

C students often take lots and lots of notes, spending their whole class period with head down and pen to paper. Don’t do that. If you spend every second writing, you will miss the whole lecture. Most A students take notes sparingly. They have pre-defined abbreviations so that note-taking is more efficient. For instance, in a class on the Roman Empire, a good note-taker would just write a capital R for Rome or Roman, therefore writing less and listening more. After class is over, it’s a good idea to fill in any vague areas in your notes with details you might forget later. While you are doing that, quickly review all the day’s notes to solidify what you just learned. Take that a step further and breeze over them just before the next class begins. This way you have a fresh memory of the information from the previous class and can respond appropriately to the instructor’s questions. Not only does this make the upcoming information easier to digest, it also makes you look really smart.

A students study in many different ways. Some confine all study to an orderly desk. Others spread notes on the floor, prop up on an overstuffed pillow, and go to work. Whatever study environment suits your needs, that’s the environment you should create. It’s a good idea to post reminders in your study area so you will not forget what you are trying to fake. Make a sign for your study area that says, “A students enjoy studying!” Make a note in your car that reminds you, “A students make the most of every minute.” If you have a tendency to slouch in front of the TV like a solid D student, place a sign on it that suggests, “A students do not waste time.” (It’s not easy to be someone you have never been before; every little reminder helps.) Also, remember to allow sufficient time to study alone, even if you participate in study groups. Many A students benefit from group study; you might as well. But most A students prepare for group sessions in private and also do ample studying on their own.

One key aspect of studying is scheduling. At the start of your course, break down course requirements into daily study requirements. Stick to the plan whenever possible, but revise your schedule as the course progresses and as needs change. Sometimes classes need more time than you originally thought. Revise your plan if this is the case. And sometimes you will get behind. Again, readjust, refocus and get back on schedule. A students get off schedule all the time. The trick is, they make a new plan, they readjust, and then they get back to work.

Many times a study environment requires certain tools--things like computers, test tubes, calculators, books, notebooks and pens. But often, we find ourselves with time to study in places where these items are not within reach. When the tools that you normally use are not readily available, consider using mental rehearsal. This technique involves reviewing necessary information in your mind as if you were actually studying or practicing it. You can silently recite historical dates, mentally practice a music score or dance routine, or review mathematical or scientific equations, all without picking up a pen or lifting a finger. Mental rehearsal is convenient. It helps you make use of time that is often wasted. While you commute to class or wait in line, while you wait for your doctor's appointment or sit in line at the drive through window, wherever you are, you can use your best study tool--your brain.

One very irritating thing about A students is that they always do their class assignments, whether they get a grade or not. They practice formulas and do their reading assignments. So if you want to fake your way into straight A’s, this is crucial. No C student does assigned work just for the sake of doing it. So do those assignments, and do them in advance. A students usually have reading assignments complete before class discussion of that reading ever begins. They even bring questions to class about completed assignments that stumped them. And remember, A students do get stumped--all the time. They just ask questions, figure it out, and keep moving.

So are you ready for the test? You should be, almost. Because if you have done all these other things that A students do, cramming for the test will not be necessary. Complete additional study and review before the test. Do not stay up all night. Get plenty of rest and eat a good meal--that brain of yours needs sleep and nourishment! Get to the test on time, dressed in clothes that make you feel confident. (In other words, look the part.) Then get in there and ace that test!

See, you do not have to be an A student. Just pretend that you are! And in no time, you will find people are starting to imitate you!

About the Author Aileen Lawrimore

Aileen Mitchell Lawrimore is a mother x 3, wife x 28 (years not men), minister, speaker, writer, retreat leader, and lover of beagles and books. She has a lot to say.

Leave a Comment:

annettechrisman says August 22, 2012

iam so very glad you wrote this,I struggle with starting over ,fitting in,but iam willing to do whatever it takes..iam going to use all the hints!!!!

    Aileen Lawrimore says August 22, 2012

    Thanks for your comment. It is always difficult to start over, isn't it? It is for me. I'm so glad you found the article helpful! Blessings!

Grace Nyanga says August 23, 2012

I'm glad I read this. I'm reading all I can that will help me achieve my goals and this is one of the articles that is of great help. Thanks Aileen!

Rachel Haney says March 12, 2013

My favorite part of this post is the part about treating school like a job. This is an excellent way to look at it. I have never thought of that before. This semester I haven't been working as much so school IS my job right now. Great information.

Otis Mallory says March 12, 2013

I Think that was a very helpful post because simply I feel like emulating a straight A student would help me stay on track.

Anonymous says March 13, 2013

I really like this article. I really want to be an A student, so i will be using
some of the suggestions. Going back over my notes, and doing all the work even though it's not required. This one will be hard for me; however, I will learn so the credit will come from doing better on my test.
Thanks Aileen
Amanda White
ACA -115- N1

Anonymous says March 13, 2013

This is great advice; the importance of it to me is going to be in the forming of habits now when I have what appears to be lots of spare time, so that next year when I am on a full scedule I haven't a struggle to study and learn with little or no time to myself...something I am very used to having an abundance of...

brandon russell says March 13, 2013

this is a great blog......maybe it should be required, thank you for writing it and bringing it to my attention I think it will help me in classes I think aren't that interesting..

beandon russell says March 13, 2013

thank u so much for this blog it is very interesting and useful

James Hamlin says March 15, 2013

I am trying to picture myself as an A student. I believe actually leaving myself notes will motivate me.

Chris Baldwin says March 18, 2013

For me it is really more a matter of just doing the things I already know to do than faking anything...I recognize that in order to do well in the coming years, I need to get in the habits of studying and scheduling now, so when the load is more than doubled I will be able to handle the increase...seamlessly...with no THAT will be 'faking it'!!

LaVerne Lordman says March 20, 2013

I have not been doing the best I can with my study habit, but reading this blog has made me rethink the way I am going to start to think about my success in passing this course and others.

jill freeman says March 27, 2013

I like the mental rehearsals. I always make up crazy things help me remember what I need to know. I try to help others do the same and it makes me feel like an A student!

Alejandra Garcia says April 1, 2013

As I was reading this I noticed a lot of tendencies that I used to have back in high school. Since I've been out for now 3 years I kinda lost all my study skills and its funny because I would see people doing some of those things and I would literally try too imitate them. This was really helpful because it reminded me of my high school years and will surely begin doing this again.

Susie Burns says April 1, 2013

This article for me was very helpful and inspiring. I have written my affirmation statements that I have placed in key areas to review daily. It helps to focus my time and efforts, giving me that extra boost of energy when I need it.

Thank you !

John Rogers says April 7, 2013

Mrs. Lawrimore,

We Talked a Little about this in class and its one if the few things I discovered early in college, and am glad to see others like yourself, re-affirm the same. I Found that by sitting as close to the front of class it forces me to pay attention and by "copying" those students that prosper in class has caused me to keep my grades in check. I still have my moments but I am glad to see the charges in my test scores.

mira says April 13, 2013

Very helpful information. Pretty soon the imitating will become a habit. In this case, I really hope so!!

Jesup Lundberg says April 14, 2013

I think this was a helpful article, thanks for sharing. It was cool how they had the ways for each group of students (like the "a" students).

eldridge says May 2, 2013

I have found this very useful. Its a cool way to look at it, I was always told you are who you hang out with might as well use that to your advantage.

    Aileen Lawrimore says May 2, 2013

    I like that way of saying it too Eldridge. I've quoted you this week, by the way. Your comment about how smiling even when you don't feel like it improves your mood. Good Stuff! 🙂

he says May 2, 2013

Thanks for your words of wisdom. I like and hope to adhere to the point about always do your work even though you don't get a grade on it. I find myself not doing the extra work, and I could use the extra learning the work would give me. I don't like it; therefore, I should defiantly try it. TY

Mallory Long says May 6, 2013

I'm really glad I read this article. There were a lot of helpful tips on how to be an A student. I especially like the treat class like a job tip, because I'm never late or miss my shifts at work and even though I never miss a class at the beginning of a semester, it becomes easier for me to miss towards the end of the semester. I really think this tip will help me get my butt to class and even finish all of my assignments. Thanks Mrs. Lawrimore!

Emily Friend says May 9, 2013

I like the part about not spending the whole class with pen to paper. However, depending on how a class is structured, I may find myself wishing I had more notes to refer to later, rather than less. I've worked hard to find a balance and tailor my note-taking style to each class.

Sierra Robinson says May 13, 2013

I found out this semester that environment really does play a part in my ability to study more effectively. When I take extra time to find an open room on campus to study in I learn more and my homework gets completed more quickly.

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