January 12, 2022 6:30 pm

Struggling to bring your grade up this semester? We’ve all been there! I finished my first year at UofT with a 2.8 CGPA, but picked up some tricks along the way that helped me graduate with honours! While there is no magical spell to make you an A+ student, if you make a habit of practicing these tips, you are sure to see an improvement in your grades:


Old Exam Repository – this repository is full of great information to help UofT students to prepare for your next exam. While the answers are not provided, reviewing past course exams will give you a good idea of what to expect on your upcoming exams. If you’re lucky, you might even find the exact exam from last year that you’re looking for!

In my experience, the structure of the new exams may vary from the past ones, but look for the patterns – professors usually pull the same content from their previous exams. Ryerson, OCADU and Toronto Film School students should check their course reserves for a similar page. UofT students can also refer to the Past Test Library. 

Use an audio transcriber Microsoft Word has a great feature that allows you to transcribe audio to text in two ways – by uploading the audio file, or by recording directly on Word. If you’re able to download or record your online lectures, this is a helpful tool to make lecture notes. There are also mobile applications available, such as Transcribe.


Office Hours – make use of them! If your lecturer or TA still offers office hours virtually, make a point of scheduling time with them in the early stages of preparing for a big essay or studying for an exam. This way, your lecturer can give you some guidance on what they expect or what they think of your thesis. Speaking with your lecturer after they’ve graded a paper or assignment is also helpful, as it gives you the chance to receive feedback on your work to improve for next time.This may seem like an unnecessary task, but if you’re serious about improving your GPA, don’t skip out on office hours! Showing your lecturers, professors, and TA’s that you’re making an effort to do better proves that you’re serious about your learning. Making connections and networking with your program department is an important part of your academic career that students should not overlook. If you end up doing poorly on an assignment or are in need of a deadline extension, having these connections make all of the difference.
Check out this article on Exploring the Importance of Networking for Students. 

Join a group chat – Joining a group chat with other students in your class is one of the easiest ways to keep up with courses. Group chats are a great medium for students to interact with one another, discuss course content, and share notes or tips. You’ll almost never forget about an upcoming deadline or test when you’re part of a WhatsApp or iMessage chat with your classmates as its usually the topic of conversation. If you find yourself struggling with the course content, chances are there are other classmates struggling, too. While professors can be super helpful, you’ll be surprised at what you and your classmates can learn from each other.

Prioritize your mental health – you can study for hours on end to prepare for an exam, but if you’re not in a good headspace, it can be hard to perform well. All you can do is your best work, but if you’re overextending yourself or ignoring your needs, it is no longer your best at that point. Despite these uncertain times, you would be amazed at how many people are still willing to help if you simply ask. And while you should always aim for a higher grade, understand that your grades are not a direct reflection of your intelligence or creativity. Click here to read about the different ways college and university students can prioritize their mental health.