Talking grades with WLU profs


Do the readings and do them at the right time. This may seem like common sense, I know. But according to English professor Michele Kramer and professor emeritus of psychology Don Morgenson, it’s not just doing the readings that gets you that elusive A; when you do your readings will really make that difference in your marks this term.

“Do read your required material and, especially, try to have the material read, or most of it read, before the lecture on that material. This means that the lecture will have some kind of context in your mind and will allow you to selectively note-take and ask questions for clarification instead of racing to write down everything because you’re not sure what’s important in the lecture.”
– Michele Kramer, English


Be selective. Quality over quantity, when it comes to studying, can be the better choice according to David R. Johnson, an economics professor here at Laurier.

“Pay attention to the material the faculty member chooses to discuss and present as opposed to all possible material in the lectures and text. There is a good chance the material emphasized in the lecture will be what is tested since it is likely to be the material chosen as most important.” – David R. Johnson, economics


Attend class regularly. It’s another one that can be chalked up to common sense, yet most of us make the choice to regularly skip class. Staying on top of your readings is a good way to maintain a grasp on the material being discussed in class. However, not attending class leaves you with little inside knowledge on which material the professor thinks is truly important.

“Sounds simple, but much research suggests that students who do attend regularly do significantly better in courses.”
– Don Morgenson, psychology


Pick courses that appeal to your interests. If you hate the readings and have a hard time staying awake in lecture, chances are you won’t be receiving that A come the end of the semester. Even with the cut backs in class selection, Laurier offers a wide range of classes to help you get your degree. Try and focus on the topic of study, rather than when a class is or if your friends are taking it.


Get to know your professors. This does not mean go befriend them because they will then reward your friendship with a higher grade. Professors have their own friends. Get to know them for the sake of cultivating a more effective student/teacher relationship. Knowing your professor will make it easier for you to approach them with questions related to course material and assignments.

“Obviously anything that diminishes the distance that inevitably occurs between professors and students should be pursued. It is common knowledge that students should cultivate a couple of professors each year of school so that there will be a small pool of people who might write reference letters, etc. if needed. Anything that brings teachers and students closer should be encouraged.”
– Don Morgenson, psychology


Practice, practice, pracitice. Regardless of your program, practicing mathematical problems, improving your essay writing abilities, developing effective passage analysis skills, or honing those presentation skills of yours are all effective ways to improve your future grades.

“In a subject where there are problem sets and practice questions, actually take the significant amount of time that it takes to do the practice questions.”
–David R. Johnson, economics


Take advantage of the resources that are available to you on and off campus. Laurier offers a wide range of tools to help you get the grade. Last year the library’s hours were extended, 24-hour communal study areas are scattered throughout campus and the university offers services specifically designed to help you achieve the highest marks possible. The Writing Center and Accessible Learning offer useful, cost-free services as well and should be taken advantage of, especially since you technically paid for them along with your tuition this year.


Be good to you. This means eating regularly, eating well, sleeping enough and getting regular exercise. You can only do what your mind and body are capable of. Staying healthy is more important than ever with the risk of a swine flu epidemic so you can push through those brutal crunch periods.


Edit your work. Get in the habit of giving yourself time away from your assignments. Coming back to an essay or a report with fresh eyes will make it easier to spot simple errors that could easily cost you that A.

“No matter who reads your essay, exam question, etc., if it is sloppily written with spelling and grammar errors, it will not get an A no matter how much material is included.”
– Douglas J. McCready, economics


Be dedicated to getting an A. If you aren’t dedicated, if your motivation is fleeting and inconsistent, you will be less likely to make those final hurdles on your mission to be in the top of your class.

“Students who do this best are those who see university as a place for learning about others and about themselves.… ‘A’ assignments, especially if they are to be achieved consistently, require this dedication. There is no simple formula”
– Michel Desjardins, religion and culture