As a college or university student, there is so much fuss about having a high GPA. That’s because your GPA isn’t just a number. Your Grade Point Average (GPA) is the best metric for assessing your academic performance in school. It’s what determines how good or bad your grades are. It tells us if you are a stellar, average, or below-average student.
Getting good grades and a high GPA is hard work. Sometimes, you may be determined to perform in school, but no matter how hard you try to improve your grades, it doesn’t work. You’ve tried all you can, but you’re still getting low. You’re so confused, and it’s almost driving you nuts. What could be the problem?
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If you are in this dilemma, this article was written just for you. The key to unlocking good grades isn’t just hard work but smart work. You may be doing everything by the books, but you’re not doing it right. This article will uncover some factors that can affect your GPA and how to fix them.
If you want to improve your grades, keep reading.
10 Factors that Can Affect Your GPA
Now, let’s get down to business. We’ve curated a list of some factors that can affect your GPA. It’s not an exhaustive list, but it’s an excellent place to start. You can use it as a scorecard to evaluate yourself and retrace your steps.
The factors that can affect your GPA include;
1. Poor Time Management
The biggest mistake that can affect your GPA is poor time management. If you don’t manage your time properly as a student, it will affect your coordination, productivity, organization, and, ultimately, your grades.
Well, it’s good to have a social life, don’t be distracted by unnecessary extracurricular and frivolous activities on campus. You must attend every event, participate in every activity or join every group on campus.
Remember, you have only 24hrs in a day. If you try to do it all, you will have little or no time for your books. Prioritise only the important stuff, so you can have enough time to study. In fact, your academic work should be your top priority because that’s the main reason you are in school.
“I will do it later.” This is the favourite mantra of many students, yet they wonder what’s affecting their GPA.
It all boils down to poor time management. We always feel like we have enough time on our hands until we actually don’t. It feels like there’s no need to rush, so you defer important activities to a later time. Instead of doing that assignment now, you procrastinate because you have a few more days before submission. Instead of reading at the beginning of the semester, you procrastinate because the exam timetable hasn’t been fit yet.
Ironically, while you feel like you’re in charge, you lose track of time because it slips away so quickly. And so, you wake up to realise you missed the submission deadline and exams are just a week away. As the saying goes, procrastination is the thief of time. If you let it creep into your life, it will make you miss out on important dates and opportunities in school. It will make you lose credit points that can boost your GPA. Don’t wait till the deadline looms. Don’t wait to do it tomorrow when you can do it today. Read that book today. Do that assignment now. Submit that document now. Join that study group today.
3. Not Setting Clear Goals
“I will graduate with a First Class.”
“I will get a GPA of 5.0 this semester.”
“I will score 100% in that exam.”
We know you are determined to be the best, and of course, we encourage positive affirmations. However, these things are easier said than done. Many students before you made the same positive confessions which amounted to nothing. Why? That’s because they didn’t have clear goals to back it up.
You can’t attain success without setting clear goals. If your goals are not measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound, you are only setting yourself up for failure. This is what defines the “How” of your dreams and aspirations.
How do you intend to graduate with a First Class?
How will you get a 5.0 GPA this semester?
How will you score 100% in that exam?
Answering these questions will guide you in creating action points and strategies to achieve your academic goals. It will help you identify the things you need to prioritize and discard. It will open your eyes to loopholes in your plans and help you restrategize. Unless you are merely doing wishful thinking, set clear goals that will lead you from your current position to your dream destination.
4. Not Studying Regularly
This is another factor that can affect your GPA. What’s the point of setting goals if you want to do them? If you set study goals only to execute them before or during exams, then the aim is already defeated. Unless you are a magician, you can’t defer your studies to the exam period and expect to emerge top of your class.
The best strategy is to study consistently from day one. Once you’ve set study goals, start executing from your first day in school. Create a timetable and start reading from the beginning of the semester. Reading consistently improves your cognitive abilities and information retention. This way, you don’t have to pull an emergency all night studying and cramming your notes during exams. Stop waiting for the dying minute. Make hay now while the sun shines.
5. Ignoring Your Weak Points
Students often make the mistake of focusing only on their favourite courses or subjects. Our human instinct is to spend more time doing the things we love or enjoy. So, because you love numbers, you would rather spend more time-solving maths than reading English. Because you have a flair for languages, you would rather read French all day while your political studies suffer. This is one of the factors that affect your GPA.
As annoying as it sounds, you must spend more time reading those courses you’re struggling with. In fact, you should spend less time on the easy ones and pay more attention to the difficult ones. That’s how it works. If it means allocating extra study time, getting external help, or paying for private tutorials, by all means, do it.
We know it’s tempting to linger on the easy subjects. However, if you don’t redirect your focus to your weak points, you will continue to perform poorly in that subject. Remember, you need to get good grades in easy and hard courses to boost your GPA. You can’t have one without the other.
6. Poor Study Techniques and Learning Methods
You may read consistently, but you’re using the wrong study techniques. All your study efforts can only be effective if you employ strategies that complement your personality and learning style. These are the little things that can affect your GPA.
If you are an auditory person, you will struggle to read long lecture notes and big textbooks. Similarly, if you are a reader, you will only assimilate and retain information better when you read texts. The same goes for visual and kinesthetic learners.
If you are not a night person, you will struggle to read for long hours at night. It all depends on what works for you. Some people study better when soft music is playing in the background, while others can’t. Some people only need to read once to retain the information, while others need repeated exposure to a piece of information before it sinks into their heads.
We are different individuals with varying skills, strengths, and weaknesses. Once you figure out the techniques that appeal to you, it simplifies your study.
7. Not Participating in Group Study
No man is an island. Some things are better done as a group than in solidarity, including your studies. Remember, we agreed to try different learning techniques that could work for you. While your personal study is good, we recommend participating in group studies. There’s a lot you could gain from group discussion.
First, it helps you create a better rapport with your coursemates and assess your understanding of the courses. By listening to others and comparing your interpretation of the topic with theirs, you gain a better understanding of the subject. As the saying goes, your way of seeing the world is not the only way.
Group discussions also give you the opportunity to sample opinions, exchange ideas, and share different perspectives. Some people retain information better when they teach, while others assimilate better when they listen to others. If you fall under any of these categories, participating in a group study will be good for you. It could affect your GPA positively.
8. Not Taking Extra Tutorials
Do you remember what we said about getting external help?
This is one way you can get external help to improve your GPA. If you need help understanding what is taught in class, then you must take extra tutorials. Some of these tutorials are hosted by brilliant/senior students and lecturer assistants.
The aim is to provide a better learning experience outside the regular lectures. Such classes are more practical and simplified. The best part is that you can ask your questions without fear of being picked on by the lecturer.
If you don’t like general tutorials, you can get a private tutor, especially for challenging subjects.
9. Missing Classes
We must emphasize the importance of attending classes. Many students believe that reading is all they need to excel in school. So, they hardly attend lectures or participate in other classroom activities. This is one of the factors that can affect your GPA.
Attending classes gives you a chance to learn directly from the lecturer and get insights on the topic from their perspective. Some lecturers share salient points you will never find in the textbook or lecture notes. You also get to ask questions and gain a better understanding of the topic.
Remember, your lecturer ultimately determines the nature of the examination and the criteria for passing. It’s no secret that many lecturers share such information during classes. If you are not in class, you may miss that vital information.
In some schools, your attendance to class makes up your credit points which can increase your GPA. You also get to participate in continuous assessment activities like classwork, presentations, and quizzes, which can improve your GPA.
10. Poor Mental Health
Yes o! Are you surprised? Your mental well-being plays a vital role in your academic performance. If you are not in the right frame of mind, it will affect your coordination and concentration in school. Remember, you need a good energy boost to keep up with schoolwork. So, don’t allow any form of negative energy around you. Get rid of toxic entanglements, friendships, and relationships that can distract you from your goal.
Don’t forget to always get a good night’s rest. Yes, getting adequate sleep every day is vital for your mental and physical well-being. We know you have a goal and target, but it’s okay to take a break when you’re tired. Sometimes, mental fatigue can hamper your cognitive abilities.
You see! Even the little things can affect your GPA as a student. That is why you must leave no stone unturned in your pursuit of academic excellence. As you work on improving your grades, don’t forget to calculate your GPA and track your progress with our Effiko GPA Calculator. It is fast, accurate, easy to navigate, and stores your records for future reference. In fact, it is the best companion you need on this journey to success. Click here to download it now!
If you need more tips on improving your academic performance, you can read this article or schedule a call with our careers advisors for further guidance. Are there other mistakes you think students should avoid? Please share with us in the comments.