Student Blog


4 min read

A new semester has just started, and I’m sure many of you are highly motivated to pull yourself together and finally get that merit scholarship this semester. So, while you are still energized after the long break, I’m going to share my 8 tips on how to get that juicy 4.0 GPA.

1. Choose your courses carefully

There are two ways you can interpret this phrase. You can A) Choose courses in which you are confident of success, or B) Choose courses you enjoy. My course selection is a combination of both these factors. I want to take courses I am interested in so that they keep my attention and motivation throughout the semester. At the same time, I want to take courses that are not too difficult so that I don’t stress myself out and still have time to relax after a long week. So, I suggest you read the syllabus carefully, ask your senpais and friends for reviews, and pick good courses which you can follow through.

I’m using Google Calendar to keep track of my timetable this quarter.

2. Know your grade evaluation

When you read a syllabus, make sure you pay attention to the method of grading section. Each professor has their own means of evaluation, and some may be more difficult than others. Most of the time, they will go through the entire syllabus during the first lecture, so use this time to clarify any confusions you have about the grading. Take good notes on this and track your grade throughout the semester to know how much you need to improve. Remember, your goal is to have the perfect GPA, so don’t settle!

Here’s an example of the Method of Grade Evaluation from my Advanced Japanese class.

3. Build a routine

You’ll be surprised how quickly your body can get into a routine, so train yourself for the new semester to wake up everyday before first period, to do your homework after dinner, and to go to bed early enough for a solid eight hours of sleep. I’m sure I don’t need to repeat how important sleep is anymore. If you don’t have a class first period, use the extra time to prepare for later or workout to start your day fresh. Keeping your body healthy will also keep your mind sharp so you can ace your classes and reach your 4.0 GPA.

You can use applications on your smartphone to keep track of your sleep time.

4. Good groupmates = Good semester

Having bad groupmates doesn’t just make your grades go down, it makes your mood go down too. Firstly, avoid being the bad groupmate yourself by responding to messages and meeting your deadlines on time. Furthermore, a group always needs a good facilitator. If no one volunteers, maybe it’s time you step up to the challenge and be the facilitator yourself. Whether or not you are the leader, make sure your group has detailed job divisions and individual deadlines leading up to the final submission date so that you can finish at least a day earlier than the actual deadline, just in case any problems occur.

Don’t forget that you can use this opportunity to make new friends too. Use the first few meetings to break the ice and become comfortable with each other. Talk with your groupmates about your strengths and weaknesses so that you get assigned the right tasks. If you actually look forward to your group meetings, you have succeeded!

5. Make study groups

Professors aren’t the only ones who can make groups. You can create your own study groups too. Find friends who share your goal and make a group chat where you can discuss the class content and prepare for quizzes together. In some classes, you can actually take quizzes together with your friends and discuss answers (but make sure to check with the professor beforehand, as some might consider that cheating). Not only will you have more motivation to study, but you will see a major improvement in your grade as well!

6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Maybe you have asked all of your friends in class but still haven’t gotten the answer you needed. Why not try asking the TAs or the professors themselves? They are there to help you, so don’t feel shy to raise your hand in class or contact them when you have questions or problems. Make sure you listen well during the first lecture for their contact information and reach out to them whenever you need. You can even befriend them through this experience and learn more than what you came for!

A page in my bullet journal with all of my class information last semester.

7. Extra credit is your best friend

If your professor offers extra work for extra credit, do it! Just do it! This is the best way to guarantee you get the highest GPA you can get. Most of the time, final exams decide your final grade for courses, but it is impossible to tell whether or not you will do well in your final exams, so it doesn’t hurt to be careful and earn some extra credit beforehand.

8. The importance of time management

I’m sure you have heard this many, many times, but make sure you manage your time properly! Do NOT leave everything until the last minute, especially near the end of the semester when there are so many things happening at once. Whether it is a bullet journal, a desk calendar, or an application on your smartphone, keep track of your deadlines and submit your assignments EARLY. You will be thankful when you finish all of your deadlines before the semester ends and you can start planning out what you want to do during the break.

Those are 8 tips I used to get a 4.0 GPA last semester. That being said, you don’t need to get a 4.0 GPA. There are many ways to gain knowledge and skills, such as doing internships or going on field trips. Nonetheless, you can use these tips to achieve the best GPA you can. If you think they are helpful, please share them with your friends and look forward to more FAFA articles, ね!

PHAM Van Khanh
PHAM Van Khanh
My favorite part of being a member of SPA is interacting with students and professors whom I normally wouldn't talk to and listening to their interesting life stories. If you have an interesting story at APU, you can always tell me.

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