Without question, school is challenging.
Whether you’re in high school or college, studying and trying to get good grades can be taxing.
It’s even near impossible for some students.
However, you then ask yourself, “why are some of my classmates hitting incredible marks with ease?”
What’s their secret?
I don’t know about them, but here’s how I ace my exams: I set academic goals for myself.
Let me explain how it works.
What are academic goals?
Academic goals are educational objectives that you set for yourself to improve your grades and make progress.
The purpose of having academic goals is to make sure you finish school on time, have above average marks, and unlock your full potential!
Setting short and long-term academic goals will give you direction and help you grow intellectually.
Academic goal examples
I will teach you how to set academic goals later.
But first, here are some academic goals that will help you ace your exams!
1. Sticking to a sleeping schedule
As simple as that reads, a lot of high school and college students and even adults fail to stick to a sleeping schedule.
In one study, proper sleep (7-8 hours of quality rest) results in higher course grades and semester GPAs. (source)
The very reason why getting enough sleep is important is it allows you to stay focused and energized.
Moreover, sticking to a sleeping schedule helps you become more disciplined and less tempted to abandon your studies over mediocre things such as parties.
Having discipline when it comes to your sleep is crucial as it can make or break your preparation for incoming examinations.
Sticking to a sleeping schedule is a long-term academic goal that will help you throughout your life.
2. Studying at least 30 minutes every day
Studying your lessons 30 minutes every day can go a long way.
If you can push it to an hour, then that’s even better.
The focus here is to have discipline and to take away the pressure you get when the exams are near.
So instead of cramming everything two days before your finals, you’re way ahead and have more time to study the subjects that you find difficult.
Studying every day can be mundane, especially when you want to rest after school and spend time with friends.
A quick workaround is to study first thing in the morning.
If you have a proper sleeping schedule, you’re likely to wake up early. Study after breakfast, and you should have a head start.
3. Aim to perfect at least one quiz or test each week
One short-term academic goal that experts recommend is to strive for a perfect score on your daily or weekly test.
Doing so not only forces you to study harder but also opens up your mind that it is possible — that having good grades is a matter of dedication and preparation.
Every day, prepare yourself for a quiz and try to land a perfect.
So even if you fail to get a perfect score, it’s likely that you’ll end up having a high score.
Accumulatively, these marks will help you gain a high semestral grade.
4. Achieve a 4.0 GPA or higher
This goal is self-explanatory.
You want to have this goal as your long-term objective.
That way, you will try to excel in all aspects of your study. If you’re having a hard time materializing this goal, then you have to break it into steps.
Lists ways on how to get a 4.0 GPA and focus on them as short-term goals.
Why you should have academic goals
There are countless benefits to having academic goals.
A few are:
- Having a better direction in life
- Being more disciplined and organized
- Improved concentration
- Higher-quality education experience
- Measurable results
- Greater academic success
As seen above, academic goals aren’t just there to help you get better grades but make your educational journey smoother.
Academic goals help you attain key traits that will serve as tools to accomplish what you want to achieve in the long run.
Apart from that, goals are like milestones, allowing you to measure your progress to see which aspects you excel in and which ones deserve more attention.
How to set academic goals: the five golden rules
When setting academic goals for yourself, make sure you follow the five golden rules!
Golden rule 1: Make sure it’s achievable
First and foremost, your goal should be possible for you to attain.
When making academic goals, do not aim for the impossible as you’ll only put pressure on yourself instead of motivating yourself.
Of course, aim high, but don’t force yourself to get a perfect on every test.
Golden rule 2: Goals have to be specific
Studying is such a broad term.
What are you studying?
Be specific with what you’re trying to achieve.
Add the time, the subject, the purpose, the topic, the approach, and everything that makes your study effective.
Prepare it in a way that it becomes an actual objective that you must adhere to, e.g., studying 30 minutes in the morning — 15 minutes on topics you don’t fully understand and 15 minutes on subjects that you excel to stay ahead of the lessons.
Golden rule 3: Motivate yourself
Other than the goals themselves, also spend time on what you get out of them.
List the rewards you’ll reap if you get a 4.0 GPA or if you attend school seminars whenever available.
Every time you feel down, read your list and remind yourself that all your efforts are worth it.
Golden rule 4: Always have a deadline
As Robert Herjavec said, a goal without a deadline is just a dream.
Your academic goals should have a target date or a quota.
You can wish to have a perfect test score, but if you don’t set a deadline, that probably won’t happen.
Instead, try to achieve that perfect within the week, or else you’re only going to keep saying to yourself that you can do it on the next, and the next, and so on.
Golden rule 5: Reward yourself
Positive reinforcement works.
Whenever you hit a goal, give yourself a break — but don’t overdo it.
If you managed to study 30 days in a row, giving yourself a day off will become more fulfilling and will motivate you even further to continue hustling.
Scored an A+ on your essay? Give yourself a cookie!
How to follow through on academic goals
Making sure that you stick to your academic goals is easy if you made sure to set them up properly.
Other than that, keep reminding yourself of the end reward.
If you don’t think about the future your education will bring, you will feel like your efforts are futile.
Make sure that you keep reminding yourself of your aspirations.
Write them in your notebook and see to it that you start your day checking them out.
School may be challenging, but if you prepare yourself right by having academic goals, it’s going to be easy.
You need to have discipline, courage, dedication, and aspirations to make it work.
Think of academic goals as a hack to finish your studies with flying colors. The only thing you need to do now is to execute your plans, which we’re sure that you can do after reading this article.