How in the world do you get a perfect 4.0 GPA as an undergraduate student?
When I entered college, I had this same question. I thought there was no way I could get A’s in all of my classes. I was scared to get a low GPA that would not be good enough for speech pathology grad school.
But I am here today to report that holding 4.0 GPA streak is possible. It takes the right mindset and discipline, but you can do it. The best 4 strategies that have worked for me include: finding the right study techniques, balancing your time, getting yourself ultra focused (aka “adderall mode”), and lowering your test anxiety.
1) Find the Right Study Techniques
There have been a whole bunch of studies that address the best ways to learn. Of course, the method depends on the subject. However, I’ve found that the single most effective way to study is by testing yourself.
To do this efficiently, go through your notes and highlight what is important. Or, quickly write down the main ideas on a separate page (mind maps help). Then, block off the important information and see if you can fill in the blanks.
Flashcards are great ways to cue yourself, too. However, I highly recommend using Quizlet. The last thing you want to do is spend large amounts of time mindlessly taking notes. This is a key reason why students put hours into studying and still get “meh” grades.
If you are studying a subject that involves math, take the “gym approach.” Treat each type of problem like an exercise, and repeat it until you are comfortable with it in entirety. Do extra reps on your weak spots.
When you are drilling a subject, relate the information to your life or use mnemonics. These techniques are life-changing. All you have to do is connect the information to something that you can easily remember. For some examples, see the “think” section of this post.
2) Balance Your Time
Think about what is really important here. Grad schools are looking for students who have the skills to succeed. GPA is a way for them to measure knowledge, but there are many more factors to a career than the facts in a textbook.
Therefore, use your time efficiently. Study your a** off, but don’t spend every Friday night at the library. To do this, stay on top of your schedule. And when the work is done, let it be done.
One of my CSD professors once said that she has never seen a student who has put in the appropriate effort not make it into grad school. So do what you have to do, but don’t overthink it; your profs are most likely not out to get you.
3) Get Ultra Focused / Unleash Adderall Mode
What is “adderall mode,” you ask? Well, you know that feeling when you’re cramming for a test 2 minutes before it happens? That’s what I’m referring to.
When you are ultra focused like this, you can quickly get a lot of information into your head. You store the information well (in the moment), knowing that it is really important.
This technique is not great for information retention on its own. However, by pairing adderall mode with long-term studying, you can substantially increase your performance.
I’ve found that I do my best on exams by paying attention in class, reviewing/self-testing with the material 2-4 days before the exam, and then initiating adderall mode a few hours before the test.
4) Lower your Test Anxiety
Taking exams can be hella stressful. Especially when any exam could be the exam to mess up your 4.0 streak. Or take you down any tenth of a point for that matter.
I’m not going to lie to you and say that I don’t get a pit in my stomach before going into a heavily weighted exam. I care about how I do, and I care about what my professors think of me.
But I care more about my health and my happiness, because that’s what is going to get me to where I need to be. Please do the same for yourself.
Once you’ve studied a solid amount, there comes a time when you just have to think “OK f*** it, I did my part.” Approach those exams with the mindset of showing off what you can do. Excitement beats fear.
And know that by putting in the time now, you are increasing your knowledge and helping your future patients… regardless of the grade.