How do I get good grades?

Kris Krizzle's picture
Rank: Chimp | 2

So I just finished my sophomore year at a target/semitarget. Not WHYPS, but we send quite a few kids into banking every year.

The thing is that all the kids we send have GPAs of 3.7+ while I'm at 3.0. I've talked to a few contacts in the industry that I met through upper year friends at my school. They're now analysts/associates/vp's at BB's and have told me if I get a 3.8+ in my first semester junior year they'd get me interviews despite my cgpa still being far below their cutoff.

Anyways how do you guys do it? All my friends come drinking almost every day and I don't know when the fuck they study but they get 3.4+ gpas. There just hasn't been motivation for me to study when there's no studying to do. So what has happened in the past is that I've fucked around all throughout the semester and then crammed hard the last few days before exams...worked in HS, doesn't work in college.

I'm working 80 hrs a week at a boutique and really enjoy the work and think I'm good at it, so I don't think it's my work ethic that's poor. My MD's say there's no way I shouldn't be able to land banking with what I've done for them over the summer.

I've known since freshman year if I want to make banking I better get top grades but I guess I'm just looking for some advice on how you guys kept grinding through the work when there was no pressure on a daily basis.

Comments (49)

Jul 21, 2011

A big part of it was knowing that you have to make sacrifices. I'm going to be interning at a boutique while taking a full schedule this upcoming semester, so I'm going to have zero time. You only have to do it for 2 more years man, just get your stuff together and work hard. I recommend forcing yourself to go to the library at least 2 hours a day every day (including saturday and sunday). Don't study in your room, its a bad environment for keeping grades up. Even if you have no homework or tests coming up, still force yourself to go to library. Once you build the habit, the rest falls naturally.

Jul 21, 2011

Yeah, there's never not anything to do. If you've done all your hw for next 3 nights, then start on the 4th nights homework. Always make time to review what you go over in class each day and make sure you understand your shit. You can never be too prepared.

I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

Jul 21, 2011

Go to class, write your notes by hand since it forces you to pay attention and removes the constant distractions the internet presents. Also get as much material from previous semesters as possible; old test, old homework, any old notes and use the shit out of them.

Jul 21, 2011

A good friend of mine had a 3.1 coming from a complete non target and got into GS asset management. Granted that's not investment banking, but it shows that its not much about the grades as it is about the network.

If you're really doing a great job at your boutique, your MD should have no problem calling up some of his buddies and going to bat for you.

And do some active networking on the side. Good luck

Jul 21, 2011

Tough to cram at a good school. You gotta go to class and take some good notes. The main thing is knowing how the class is graded. Usually a couple tests determine everything so see if you can find old tests, some professors even give them to you. That will give you a feel of what you need to know. If you think the class is just based on the book then study the book regularly and definitely read everything over about a week in advance.

I think going to class & taking notes, doing all your assignments, and studying about a week before should allow you to do pretty well given your reasonably intelligent. I had the same problem with cramming and just realized it was good enough to get B+'s, but you gotta work harder and prepare better to get A's at the top schools. Your desire to get into banking should be more than enough motivation.

Good luck man.

Jul 21, 2011

Take some xanax before each test and you should be good to go, if that doesn't work try ripping some bowls before class...

    • 1
Jul 21, 2011

I don't want to be arrogant, but Finance has been way easy since studying physics as my secondary field.

I always go to class and take notes, but I have to admit that our exams are fair.

Just find out in which field your ability really strong is.

I am strong at quantitativ things like theory of the force, stochastic models and so on.

I am a bit worse in corporate finance because this field is rather much reading than thinking.

Good luck.

Jul 21, 2011

Get an addy Rx...

In all seriousness, treat it like a 9-6 job. Wake up, look over notes, class, lunch, class, study, dinner and random stuff, repeat. You definitely need to put in overtime during mid-terms and finals, but just dont put things off. Read for class, take notes that are important but not overly detailed, and get 8 hrs of sleep. Simple but difficult with distractions.

Jul 21, 2011

If all else fails,

Seduce the teacher

"I respect your courage for coming this far alone! However, you are still going to die!"

Jul 21, 2011

Only if the teacher is hot...

Jul 21, 2011

How did you get into a good school if you don't know how to study????

Jul 21, 2011

Don't go to the library. youll run into too many people you know and who want to talk... thats assuming you arent a loner... but go to a public library. Honors lounge always works for me or if you dont have that find somewhere else that people dont go and wont bother you. Also take good notes so you can use those and the book to study. leave your computer home. Goodluck 3.8 shouldnt be too hard if you take it seriously and do some hard work/attend class regularly.

Jul 21, 2011

What is your major?

Engineering is notorious for curving to a 2.8 GPA at a lot of schools. Get it up to a 3.5 and you'll be fine.

Best Response
Jul 21, 2011

Ok every one listen the fuck up,

1. When you go to read/do problem sets -re.fucking.lax, there is no reason why doing homework has to do be a speed test. You will get more out of it if you do it slow and won't make bs calculator mistakes.

2. Tests >, do not be the first to turn it in. Great you finished 45 minutes before every one else, chances are you filled in a wrong answer by accident or messed up on the math some were. You should not think of it as YES!!! 45 minutes of me not being in this class!! But, rather think of it as good I have 45 minutes to go through every problem and double check my work.

3. Stay and ask the professor at least one question during officer hours/after class, yes, even if you understand it. It will help you build a relationship with the professor and when your B/B+ or A/B are on the line him remembering your face can help you quite a bit.

4. Do hard problems. If the professor assigns homework and it is easy do the easy stuff, check it then go on to the stuff that makes your head explode and you to want to kill your self!

5. Buy a Ti-89 Titanium, you are able to download formulas on it via notefolio and notes. Lol, fuck memorizing random trig equations / anti derivative formulas!

6. Don't waste time. If you have a lab report to write up do it as soon as you get to dorm/home.

7. Again, Don't be a speed demon. This will come back to haunt you in high level classes if you just fly through shit. Upper level classes often require a high degree of patience and relaxation to do problems

8. Go to all TA sessions . Allot of us are friends with the professors and usually we are not allowed to disclose who comes to TA classes. The truth is the professors often ask us what does the class not understand and won't include that on tests etc, what does the class understand and will include it on tests. If I don't know what the fuck that class understands and no one shows up for TA sessions enjoy and extremely hard test bitches because you made my pay go down!
]
9. Don't be that loud mouth moron that is radical & argumentative. You know what I mean every class has that one asshole

10. Get the OH MY GOD ILL NEVER USE THIS SHIT WHY DO I HAVE TO TAKE THIS CLASS mentality out of your head

In concllusion, chill the fuck out, relax, and learn for the sake of learning & don't be a douche bag to professors.

    • 5
Jul 21, 2011

^ I always love it when this guy says a lot. A) because he's not trolling [rare] and B) he's fucking right. +1 dude

Jul 21, 2011

Although a lot of his advice is completely random, check out some of Cal Newport's books.

Jul 27, 2011
Ske7ch:

Although a lot of his advice is completely random, check out some of Cal Newport's books.

THIS. I have close to a 4.0 following his book's methods. He has amazing advice in his "Straight A" book. Highly recommended.

Jul 21, 2011

.

Jul 21, 2011

Adderall, Dexedrine, and/or Vyvanse.

Seriously.

Jul 21, 2011

blastoise - wish you had posted this when i was in college.

OP - your work ethic may improve after you get back to school; mine did after SA at a BB ... woke up earlier and just focused better.
and take blastoise's rec. it's great .. looking back my gpa's probably going to be ~.2-.3 higher if i didnt make the careless mistakes. and another .1-.2 higher if I didn't speed through shit and had to relearn everything before exams.
wouldn't that be nice.

OP & all -
careful with the Addy and other drugs. they are addictive a main side effect of getting off them is depression.
you don't want to ace your semester on Addy and become suicidal and negative when the internship rolls around.

Jul 21, 2011

I'm in a similar situation to the OP, is it still mathematically possible for someone like him/me to get a decent (3.5+) cumulative GPA in the next two years?

Jul 21, 2011
drstrangelove:

I'm in a similar situation to the OP, is it still mathematically possible for someone like him/me to get a decent (3.5+) cumulative GPA in the next two years?

And you wonder why you have a low gpa....
I'm assuming you know what your grades are, or at least have a better idea than we do. Do the math and find out?

Jul 21, 2011

I swear I have the aptitude of a cave man. I really just build relationships with professors and hope that they respect my grinding.

Mar 17, 2015
Barcadia:

I swear I have the aptitude of a cave man. I really just build relationships with professors and hope that they respect my grinding.

umm eww.

Jul 21, 2011

I as well had around a 3.0 in college. Given, I partied WAY too much but: Some lessons I've learned since..

1) Goto every class. This is the #1 problem I had. I felt if I skipped 2-3 classes a month I could still squeak by. Wrong. Going to class is the easiest way bounce your grade up +1 letter.

2) When you get assignments, immediately put it into a planner and write down how long it is going to take you +30minutes extra. After your last class, add up the work you have and dedicate that time THAT NIGHT to bang out the work. Don't put it off to the next day.

3) Ask questions, stay after class for an extra 10 minutes, email your professor. All the 3 above things will help tremendously with some professors. Just wait till the end of the semester when you have a B+ and he won't move it up because he hardly even knows you..

4) Separate your social & academic life. This is probably the hardest thing to do, because after all, college is the best years of your life. However- NEVER do work in a social setting (e.g. infront of your TV with friends, IN THE LIBRARY WITH FRIENDS). NEVER cram before planning to go out.. you will rush your work. Always leave 2-3 hrs between your work and going out to drink. Also, don't sleep in too much. Sleeping till 12 wastes half your day and you won't be able to dedicate that extra hour or two to studying.

Jul 21, 2011

Maybe your not prioritizing/isolating the key concepts effectively or you are just practising how to solve problems rather than actually understanding them. Even if your memorizing, are you using the right techniques and not just repetition?

Either way, your just doing it wrong and are not using your time effectively.

Cramming in the last week worked for me all through college. I also did a lot of the cramming with the TV on the in background since my attention span for bullshit school work/studying is fucking short.

Think about it. Did you really learn that much in your classes? Especially, as a soph taking easy intro classes? Probably not, considering my entire college education fits neatly into a single binder,

Jul 22, 2011

My freshman GPA was a ~3.4 and sophomore year a 3.75 at Wharton. Part of the improvement was just getting used to college, but the biggest thing was doing PRACTICE TESTS. I don't go to every single class and I'm pretty bad about doing my readings diligently. I mean it's important to do your homework and practice problems, but I've found that exams are usually quite different and much harder.

If your professor posts old exams, go through them over and over again. If there's only one, do it multiple times until you can do it with complete confidence. Think about how the questions are asked and what potential questions might come up. Different things work for different people, but I don't do practice tests as if they were real tests. I take as much time as I need because for me, it's about learning the mechanics of the problems. If I'm struggling I don't hesitate to look at the answer key.

You don't have to be diligent with your readings, but do them at some point. Then read them all again a few days before the exam and take concise notes. They'll be fresh in your mind.

Also, there's always that one "tricky" problem that tests an obscure point that you ignore because it probably won't be on the test. Learn how to do that problem. Chances are that it, or something similar, will show up again and it'll make all the difference in beating the curve when everyone else also figured that it wouldn't be on the test.

edit: One last thing that really helps is making a cheat sheet. Make one even if you're not allowed to have one during the exam. I find that actually writing things out instead of typing them helps me remember them better. It also forces you to think about the material as you try to cut it down to the bare minimum.

Jul 22, 2011

Xerox is right. I go to maybe 6 hours of class a week, and I'm still at a 3.8 because I do all the practice tests, and you know that obscure slide that is in every teacher's slide show that nobody understands? Read up on that in your book, it'll be on your tests. I've been given grades way higher than I mathematically should have because the professor appreciates that I was the only one who understood that one part of the test.

Jul 22, 2011

Depending on the coursework, sometimes it's just a matter of sheer intelligence/talent, that you can't really learn. There are some courses where if you just put in the effort (i.e. accounting), you can get a 4.0. There are other courses where no matter how hard you try, you might never be able to break the 3.0 mark (i.e. creative writing).

Jul 22, 2011

Read the textbook. Twice. And do it until you can teach a monkey.

Jul 22, 2011

Having innate intelligence helps.

Jul 22, 2011

I think it all starts by picking the "right" classes, looking at past grade distributions if you have to.

If 5% of classes get As, you probably shouldn't count yourself among that 5%.

Jul 23, 2011

How I got a 3.9 without really trying -

1- course section
2- doing the reading
3- old tests
4- go to class
5- drinking 4 nights a week

hope that helps

Jul 23, 2011
deal_mkr:

1- course section

s

ratemyprofessor.com is a saviour

Jul 23, 2011

some good advice in this thread

Jul 25, 2011

You need to find what works for you. Some kids at top 20's can get 3.8+ while going to the bars 4 nights a week and hardly cracking a book until the night before the test. Others have to study 4-5 days ahead to prep for exams. Ultimately, it's about priorities. Keep trying new things until you find your groove. You might need to give up some fun / relaxation time, but it'll be worth it when you land that great job out of undergrad.

Jul 25, 2011

If you transfered to a state school you'd probably get a 3.8

Jul 25, 2011
Unionbusters without Borders:

If you transfered to a state school you'd probably get a 3.8

Truth. Professors' expectations from State school kids (obviously excluding the top state schools) are so much lower than at top universities.

    • 1
Jul 25, 2011
ENDentitlements:
Unionbusters without Borders:

If you transfered to a state school you'd probably get a 3.8

Truth. Professors' expectations from State school kids (obviously excluding the top state schools) are so much lower than at top universities.

Ehhhh, no.

Engineering at state school is harder than philosophy at an Ivy: many Ivies also have pass/fail and gentleman's C programs.....who do you think you're kidding, if not even yourself?

Why is it that no matter how many times this topic is covered on this site that some douche needs to reopen it?

Jul 25, 2011

^Please. The Ivys are notorious for grade inflation.

Jul 25, 2011

bookmarked for future reference

If your dreams don't scare you, then they are not big enough.

"There are two types of people in this world: People who say they pee in the shower, and dirty fucking liars."-Louis C.K.

Jul 25, 2011

Read the chapter of the covered material before going to that class. Class should be mostly about reinforcing what you learned from the book, and also to give you a chance to ask the professors to clarify topics you didn't understand. I had similar problems, and that worked great for me.

Jul 26, 2011

Tried this new thing last quarter where I would ONLY study for a test the morning before. Ended up with a 4.0

Jul 26, 2011

another tip -

participate in class /go to office hours a couple hours a semester. The risk of being "that guy"/douche is worth it. Will help you a ton on papers and prof will be willing to help you out gradewise if he/she thinks you are engaged in the course. obviously this wont help in some massive lecture that only has bubble sheet exams but an A in "class participation" can really help espc. if its like 20% of ur grade for the course.

Jul 26, 2011
Comment
Jul 26, 2011
Jul 27, 2011