EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


August 11, 2013

Kids can learn a thing or two by studying this book

"Make the Grade," by Lesley Schwartz Martin c.2013, Zest Books $14.99 / $18.99 Canada 143 pages

Your grades were an embarrassment last year. Sometime over this summer, though, you realized something that everybody had been saying for eons: You can do better. You have potential, so you’re going to study harder, work smarter, and get good grades.

Problem is, you don’t know where to start. How do the best students get the best marks? In “Make the Grade” by Lesley Schwartz Martin you’ll find out how, and how you can do it, too.

There are kids in your class who seem like a different species. They’re super-smart, get good grades, and they make it look easy. The thing to remember is that if you can learn to prioritize and follow through, you can get better grades, too. Bonus: The skills you learn will help you when you look for a job or go to college.

Your starting place is with goal-making. Figure out where you want to be in school by using SMART goals: be Specific, make it Measurable, make your goals Achievable, make them Relevant, and make them be Time-Based by setting a deadline.

Next, take a look at your current schedule. Write it all down, then take a hard look at it. When are you doing homework? Do you have enough time for sleep, hanging out with friends, watching TV, recharging? If not, then (this is gonna hurt!) what can you drop or put off – at least temporarily?

Next, get your parents on board. Tell them that you want to do whatever you can to get better grades and how you’ll do it. This will “reduce your parents’ anxiety and nip interrogations in the bud.” Then tell your teachers, too.

Even after all this, there might be problems, though…

What if you’re absolutely not interested in a certain subject? What if you positively cannot stand the teacher? What if you get lost in class or fall behind?

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