True or False Part I: Tackling Common “Advice” on How to Get a 4.0 GPA

I’ve heard and read A LOT of “advice” for getting good grades and for earning a 4.0 GPA. Some of the advice is sound, and some is just . . . well, kind of odd. So, let’s tackle some of these supposed tidbits of wisdom and see which ones are true and which ones are false.

Empty Promises
Some of these supposed “tips” are just empty promises like this lake. It produced only one fish. ONE FISH! Promises, promises. Photo By: Elizabeth Preston

1. Exercise and take care of your body – True. When you don’t feel well or when you get sick, you aren’t likely to study well and retain information.

2.  Visualize getting a 4.0 GPA. – Inconclusive. I think that this greatly depends on your personality. I’ve never been a “visualizing” person. I’m more of the “worry that it won’t happen and use that anxiety to make it happen” kind of gal. However, if you’ve never tried visualizing yourself achieving your goal, then give it a go. Maybe it will help.

3.  Introduce yourself to the teacher on the first day. – False. I heard this one even before I started college, and I keep hearing it again, and again, and again. The reasoning behind it is that by introducing yourself on the first day, your teacher will know who you are and I guess be more likely to help you or something? Look, if your teacher is a good teacher, then he’s going to help you no matter if he knows your name or not. If your teacher isn’t a good teacher, then he’s not going to help you no matter if he knows your name or not. It really doesn’t matter. In big lecture halls, your teacher has little chance at remembering who you are anyway because he is teaching literally hundreds of students. In smaller classes, your teacher will get to know you soon enough through your work and participation. If you want to introduce yourself, then go ahead. But don’t expect that move to guarantee a helping hand or a good grade.

Masking the Truth -- Cute Trash Panda
Some of these “tips” mask the truth–kind of like the mask on this cute little raccoon. What? Too much of a stretch? Fine. You’ve caught me. I just wanted to put up a picture of a cute trash panda. Photo By: Elizabeth Preston

4.  Take breaks. – True. You do not have to be a non-stop studying machine to get a 4.0 GPA. In fact, you shouldn’t try to be a machine. Your brain needs breaks, and these breaks allow your brain to rest and simmer in the information with which you just saturated it. Breaks also allow you to human. Yes, I just used “human” as a verb. Don’t forget that you are human and you need fun, food, exercise, interaction with others, and sleep.

5.  Always sit in the front of the class. – False. I sat in the back of the class as much as I possibly could. Part of that stemmed from me being a little self-conscious and shy back then and wanting to, well there’s no easy way to say this, hide. Part of it stemmed from not wanting anyone behind me so that I didn’t get coughed on by someone who was sick (it only took me one time of getting the flu from this very scenario for me to learn this lesson). Sit where you want, but more importantly, sit where you are the most comfortable. If sitting in the front makes it easier for you to see the board and hear the instructor, then go for it. Otherwise, don’t worry about this.


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