My 7 Secrets For Getting Straight A's in High School

My 7 Secrets For Getting Straight A’s in High School

When I started my 9th grade year, I honestly thought, “How hard could high school be? I mean..I didn’t study that much in middle school, but I still got straight A’s”

Does this sound familiar?

High school students see a drastic drop in their GPA when transitioning from 8th to 9th or 9th to 10th grade.

And to be REALLY honest, I also fell into that trap. In my 1st semester of 9th grade, I received 5 B’s and 1 A. And let me tell you…when I received my report card by mail, I was so upset and disappointed in myself. I knew that something major had to change in my life.

What did I start doing? I started watching Korean documentaries on “How To Study” — Each week, they’d share one student with a high GPA and each episode would consist of how they studied, what strategies they used, how they organized their time, how they managed stress, and much more. Compiling what worked for me, I started implementing them. Some worked. Some didn’t.

2nd Semester? I received straight A’s! (…oh, and I got a B in one class and that was PE…)

Since then, I aced my quizzes and exams… even in college and graduate school, I maintained this streak! Getting straight A’s requires a growth mindset as well as a proven system.

So what exactly is that proven system?  Allow me to explain with my 7 “secrets” below…

Secret #1: Follow the 2-day and 4-day rule

For quizzes, you must study 2 days prior the quiz date. Here’s an example:

For exams, you must study 4 days prior to the test date. Here’s an example:

Test plan

Secret #2: For English classes, reach out to your English teacher at least 2-3x before submitting an essay

The chunk of your English grade is going to be based on 2 assignments – In-class or take-home essays AND quizzes/chapter tests. Before submitting your essay, I want you to check-in with your teacher to assess a couple of points:

  • Is my thesis statement on the right track? If not, do you have any suggestions for me?
  • How many concrete examples should I provide for each paragraph?
  • Any general comments and feedback for further improvement?


Asking your teacher is the best way. Your tutor or your older sibling IS not your grader. Your teacher is. Keep that in mind!

Secret #3: Create a practice book for exams that require you to solve problems (Math, Chemistry, and Physics)

Don’t re-solve questions on a piece of paper. I want you to purchase a notebook and dedicate that notebook to practice problems ONLY.

I recommend this one:

secrets to getting straight a's

It’s great because you can carry this notebook with you even to school and asked your teachers any confusing/missed questions.

Secret #4: [Contd. From Secret #3] Solve each problem at least twice

Solving a math problem ONCE will not guarantee that you’ve mastered the concept. You should be solving EACH question (on your homework assignment or any worksheets your teacher provides with you) at least twice..if not more. You’re aiming for minimizing the risk and mistakes — nothing beats practice!

Secret #5: [Contd. From Secret #4] For missed questions (on your practice book), get them answered and clarified the next day

For any missed questions, don’t just say – “Oh, I’ll figure this out later…” or “This probably won’t be on the test”. This is a from of laziness. If you miss a question, ask your teacher THE VERY NEXT DAY.

Secret #6: Take a practice quiz/test the day before the exam

For my 1:1 College Consulting students, I always provide them with any quizzes and tests. Sometimes, homework questions are not enough and sometimes, teachers can surprise with you tricky and difficult questions! So you always want to prepare for the worst.

Also, taking the actual or similar test before the denoted test date will give you more practice and “unexpected situations”. It’s also a great time for you to identify what you do know and what you DON’T know 100%.

Secret #7: Control your thoughts

My students probably know this by now, but a huge factor in success is how well you’re able to control your thoughts because according to Brooke Castillo’s Coaching Model,

Circumstances → Thoughts → Feelings → Actions → Result


By Julie Kim Ed.M Harvard University