We all have rough semesters.  Maybe you tried your best and you still did not get the grades you were hoping to receive.  Or maybe a life event occurred that made your grades suffer.   Do not fret — let’s give you some tips of how you can increase your GPA in your second semester.  Let’s get started!

To Increase Your GPA, You First Have to Have the Right Mindset

Have you ever heard the saying (usually in sports) that success is 90% mental, 10% physical?  Well, the same applies to school.  No matter how last semester went, start thinking about success and do not get down on yourself about what happened last semester.  This is a brand new semester, and YOU can increase your GPA.  Also, I can assure you that just because a person has the highest grades does not mean that they will get any job they want.

We often compare ourselves to others, especially in law school.  However, do not think about how others did and worry about yourself.  You will hear people say that they study for hours and hours in the library; however, I (and many attorneys will tell you) that it is not how much you study, but how you study (and how you use your time studying).

With the right mindset, effort, and determination, you can increase your GPA this semester.

Increasing Your GPA Starts At Day One of the Second Semester

Now that a new semester has begun, get out a clean sheet of paper and start focusing in class.  If the semester already started for you, no worries!  It’s not too late to change your ways.  Instead of being distracted by your computer, try writing down important key phrases stated by the professor.  Often times, if a professor says something twice or three times, what was said was important — write it down!

You may argue that you can type faster than you can write, but science has shown that writing (and picking out what’s important) will help you remember the information.  Don’t believe me?  If you want to learn more about how writing down what you read or hear helps you to retain the information, check out this article!  I find it helpful to write down information in class and then going back after class and type out what I wrote down; this way, I have the information saved on my computer and by this time, I have already reviewed the important information twice!

KEY TIPS to Increase Your GPA

So now that you are in the right mindset to increase your GPA and ready to conquer a new semester, below are a few tips to help you reach your goal:

#1  Review Your Exams

In order to increase your GPA, you need to know what you could have done better on on your last semester exams.  Most professors I know welcome students to review their exams.  When you go to review your exam, don’t just see what you got wrong, but pick your professor’s brain and ask what you could have done better, or ask a general question such as, “what do you look for when you grade exams?”  Often times, professors look for key words:  that probably means POINTS!

#2  Practice, Practice, Practice

In law school there is so much to know; this makes it feel like there is little time to actually practice and apply your knowledge.  However, one of the best ways, and what I know most successful students do is take multiple practice exams.  You can ask your professor if they will share past exams, or you can sign up for a service such as Barbri that will give you practice questions to test your knowledge.

Using practice questions does two main things:  1) it shows you what you know and do not know and 2) it simulates a test environment so that when test day comes, you will feel more comfortable.

Instead of taking time just to reread through your outline or review notes over and over again, try some practice questions!

#3  Ask a Mentor/Accountability Partner for Help

We all need an accountability partner.  For first-year students, some schools have mentor programs.  Ask your student affairs office if they have such a program.  Additionally, seek out a mentor from a club, such as an upper-classman that is on the law review or journal.  Many times, upper-class students are eager to help 1Ls and 2Ls succeed.  If you cannot find a mentor or you just want to speed up the process of getting a mentor or accountability partner, feel free to sign up for our One-On-One Law School Tutoring which can serve as a mentorship/accountability program.

Good luck in your second semester!