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924homespunweb.jpgRISMEDIA, Sept. 24, 2007-What has the most impact on the rest of a teen’s life? The answer may seem obvious-tough decisions about school and education. Decisions they make now will not only affect their teen years, but the rest of their life. “Facing another school year can be a very stressful experience for both teens and their parents, causing worry and anxiety. But teens, with parents’ encouragement, can do some very basic things to get good grades, succeed in school and secure a successful future,” said Sean Covey, author of his new book, “The 6 Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make.”

Covey also believes that all students can get good grades if they want to, even if they have never done well before or if they struggle with learning. In his new book, he shares the following 7 secrets that teens can start their first day at school, to greatly improve their grades.

1. Believe you can-Don’t ever start thinking you’re “incapable of getting good grades.” Everyone is capable, even those who have so-called learning disabilities, have done poorly in the past or may have no family support. It all starts with the belief that you can do it.

2. Show up-So many kids skip class and wonder why they get bad grades. If you show up to class, good things happen. You’ll be there for that surprise quiz, that extra-credit assignment, and when the teacher suggests how to prepare for the upcoming test.

3. Do extra credit-Extra credit assignments are usually pretty easy, can get you extra points and help you prepare for tests. Many students don’t take advantage of extra credit. When you find yourself only able to get Bs or Cs no matter how hard you study, extra credit could be all you need to get the A.

4. Get on your teachers’ good side-Say, “Hello,” to your teachers and be friendly. Show them respect. Don’t get paranoid by thinking your teachers are out to get you. Ninety-nine percent of the time, they’re not. If you didn’t get your assignment done on time, don’t be afraid to ask if you can hand it in late. Sometimes the answer is, “Yes.”

5. Be strong in the red zone-In football, the red zone is the final 20 yards on the football field before reaching the goal line. If you don’t perform well in the red zone, you get no points. In school, the red zone is the crunch time at the end of the semester, when your final grades are riding on that last big test or project. Often, the only difference between teens who get good grades and those who don’t is their level of strength in the red zone.

6. Gather your resources-Get others involved in helping you get good grades- teachers, friends, cousins, grandparents, parents, counselors, mentors, etc. Find someone who believes in and cares about you and ask him or her for help in school. Most schools have excellent counselors who would love to help; many have awesome mentoring programs.

7. Develop smart study habits-You have school, friends, work, extracurricular activities, and other stuff to juggle. So, smart study habits like these are a must:

– Feed your head-Remember, your brain is connected to your body. To work well, it needs food. So, if you’re about to jump into your studies and you’re starving, grab a bite to eat.

– Right place-Find a good place that is quiet, and where you can spread out all your stuff, like a library or little-used room. Stay away from places where you have the habit of goofing off.

– Right time-Set aside time every day when you’ll do your homework. Try to avoid interruptions.

– Now and later-Organize what you have to do. First, focus on the “now”-finish what is due tomorrow. Second, focus on the “later” by chipping away at the big projects, papers, and upcoming tests.

– Scan, read, drill-Let’s say you have one hour to study for an upcoming history test on chapter 9. Instead of just reading your textbook and class notes for one hour, try this method instead:

Scan-(10 minutes) Scan chapter 9 and write down or make mental notes of the main headings, key points, key people, key words, key dates, review questions and so on.
Read-(30 minutes) Read chapter 9 and any notes you have taken in class on chapter 9.
Drill- (20 minutes) Drill yourself with a test. Answer chapter questions or make up and answer questions from your notes, vocabulary words, or possible questions from your teacher.

“Of course, there’s so much more to school than getting good grades. In fact, you can get good grades and not learn a thing. But, getting good grades is a sign that you have paid the price. So, don’t ever give up. You can do it, if you think you can,” said Covey.

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