Student Life

C’s may get degrees but A’s and B’s succeed

Don't be a slacker, boost your grades by figuring out your learning style.

Feb 25, 2016

There’s a common saying across campuses that “C’s get degrees,” which basically means that you can skate by with a C average and you’ll likely still graduate. Unfortunately, some students figure this means they can slack off because their grades don’t matter. I hate to burst your bubble, but they kinda do.

Slacking in school impacts your future

For one thing, if you coast by on C’s but want to continue your education after you finish your undergrad you’ll probably struggle. See, when it comes to graduate school (if you want to get your Master’s degree), marks do count. It’s tough to get accepted into graduate programs with C’s across the board.

Depending on the post-secondary institution you attend you’ll also likely be flirting with the academic probation line, which is bad news. I’ve had friends on the academic probation list and nothing about the experience was positive, it added so much stress to their school year.

Not to mention that getting C’s really doesn’t feel too great. My first year of university my grades were stuck at the C level, and I had no idea how to change them. I found the transition into university pretty tough—the classes were nothing like the ones I had in high school.

I remember in the first class of my first semester the professor started lecturing, and we all just sat there like deer in headlights until she actually stopped and explained: “you all should be writing this down.” Suddenly everyone started frantically trying to capture every single word that came out of her mouth!

I wanted to improve my grades

In my second semester I decided I wanted to hop off the C train for good. I was frustrated with the fact that I couldn’t seem to improve my marks no matter what effort I put in, and I determined that I had a problem with my learning style.

My sister was diagnosed at a young age with a learning disability; from studying with her I always knew I was a different learner, too. My struggles aren’t as severe as hers, which means that I’m right on the cusp of receiving campus support. I’ve been given a few learning tools but it’s mostly been up to me to decipher how I learn best. My answer: cue cards!

How cue cards saved my GPA

The amount of cue cards I use in a year is astronomical—fortunately you can pick them up at the dollar store. Cue cards work for me because of the repetitive play on my memory. To remember something I need to repeat, repeat, repeat! I commonly make up songs or tie the information on the cards to something familiar. When I study I also tend to use odd hand gestures while I test myself with what’s on the cards. I tend to attract an audience when I study in public so I try to save practicing for times that I’m alone.

I’ve also found that by using cue cards I can actually retain information long past the test I’m studying for. I always thought I had one of the worst memories, but now I understand that I just have a tricky one! I have to work hard to get the information in, but once it’s there it sticks better than flies in honey!

Know your learning style

I’ve also learned that the time of day that I study affects my ability to retain information. My best hours for studying are between 5:00 - 11:00 in the morning. I’ve always been a morning person so the early hours actually make sense. When I attempt to study late at night I tend to fall asleep on my books.

By figuring out my learning style, I was able to improve my grades significantly.

A welcome consequence of seeing my marks transition from C’s to A’s was that my self-confidence greatly improved. I realized, perhaps for the first time, that I’m pretty smart!

This past year I earned my best marks to date. With a little hard work and determination, and a lot of cue cards, I’ve become a pretty successful student if I do say so myself. Now that I know my learning style I feel confident with where I’m at in my studies. I may have no idea what I’m going to do after my undergrad but I’m thankful that I’ll have the grades to keep many doors open when it’s time for me to choose my next step.


MacEwan University

I'm almost done my degree and still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up but that's okay!

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