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Everyone wants to get a good grade, or do they? In our modern society, test taking equals academic and career success, with most college courses and degrees being based on ability to test correctly for your chosen subject. Those who succeed in school are not necessarily the most intelligent, but those who are best at taking tests. How can you be one of them, thus increasing your pay and career advancement opportunities?

1. Attend class. This simple principle is heavily emphasized by Dr. David Rule, President of Bellevue College in Washington State. Dr. Rule has a Ph.D. in educational psychology. When we skip class, we are skipping valuable information that is given by the teacher on how to take the tests necessary to successfully pass their class. Reading the textbook is no replacement for not knowing the test administrator (the teacher). Strategies for being a good student in class are sitting towards the front, going to their office hours, and taking detailed and organized notes. The notes help you understand the teacher’s particular style, which will affect the tests that they give in class. Never be late for lecture, because this causes you to miss valuable information.

2. Do your homework. Another tip from Dr. Rule. Educational Leadership reports that many students just do not or cannot do their homework. This is either because they choose not to, or they do not communicate with their teacher. Do not be one of them. Make time every class period to clearly understand your teacher’s expectations about homework so that you can meet it.

3. Ask questions. The final tip from Dr. Rule. Students often avoid voicing confusion to their teacher for fear of being seen as silly. The problem with that is everyone else in the class is just as confused as you, they are just not saying it. Ask questions. You may be surprised that your teacher does not know the answer either. If your teacher seems confused, get help from a librarian, or someone who is even more of a technical expert in the field you are studying. A good place to go is Wikipedia (most teachers do not like it, despite the fact Wikipedia’s accuracy equals the scholarly Encyclopedia Britannica), particularly in academic related subjects.

Track down to the sources for the Wikipedia article, use the sources to get the information you are puzzled about. Also try the excellent Khan Academy.