Writing long research papers, reading books you don't like and taking countless vocabulary quizzes can be a challenge if English is not among your favorite subjects. If you're struggling, don't give up; there are plenty of ways to improve your studies, earn that passing grade or better yet--end the school year as a star student.
Talk to your instructor about your desire to improve. Be open and honest and tell him that you are committed to getting better grades in his class. Once he is aware of your intentions, he is likely to take an interest in helping you succeed--rather than seeing you as just as another student "trying to get by."
Pay attention in class and ask questions. If you don't understand a particular lesson, or even a new vocabulary word, don't be afraid or embarrassed to speak up. Chances are, you're not the only student who is confused.
Participate in group discussions. Sitting back and allowing others to do all the talking may cause you to lose focus and daydream. It could also signal the teacher that you are not willing to follow through with your commitment. Falling behind will not help to improve your grades.
Find a tutor. Ask your English teacher to recommend a student tutor, or find a tutoring service within your school or community center. Another option is to enlist one of your English-savvy friends to work with you after school. Prepare to spend as many sessions a week as necessary with your tutor. Don't forget to thank your friend when your grades start to improve.
Proofread your work. Re-read each essay, short answer and research paper you write in order to avoid handing in work with grammar and spelling errors that a little extra time might have avoided. Do not rely solely on your word processor's spelling and grammar check; it is not designed catch usage errors. To be on the safe side, have a friend or parent proofread your work as well.
Prioritize your life. Where does getting better grades in English fit in? If improving your grade means going on fewer outings after school or spending less time chatting on the phone each night, so be it. Think about what you're willing to sacrifice. The more time you spend catching up on your studies, the more likely your grades are to improve.
Invest in CliffsNotes or other study guides if needed. Some literature guides are even available online at no cost. Remember that using these reference books is not considered cheating, as long as you read the original text. Even the most brilliant of scholars sometimes need help understanding Shakespeare or Homer.
Aim for 8 1/2 to 9 hours of sleep each night. A 2006 study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that more than one-quarter of all high school students fall asleep in class--which can only have a negative impact on grades. Proper sleeping habits may also help reduce your stress levels and even improve your brain's overall function. If that's not a reason to hit the hay, what is?
- Be patient. Don't expect to go from a D student to an A student overnight. Studying every day for 20 minutes, rather than once a week for two hours, will allow your brain to comprehend concepts easier and retain more information.
- Never cheat to get better grades. If you get caught, you could face possible suspension or expulsion.
Katarina Fitzpatrick has written professionally since 2006. Her work has been published on EOnline.com, TriMedMedia.com, LIVESTRONG and for the newspapers, the "Hanover Mariner" and the "Norwell Mariner" in Boston and the "Jamestown Press" in Jamestown, R.I. She is a 2006 graduate of Emerson College, where she earned her undergraduate degree in print and multimedia journalism.