How to Get Good Grades: 5 Free Ways Every International Student Should Try


How to get good grades?” is a question every student asks, especially those abroad.


The most common myth about student life is that you have to choose just two: good grades, a great social life, and a sound night’s sleep. It takes time management skills, but having it all is not impossible.


As an international student navigating the academic landscape in a new country, excelling in your studies is a significant priority. While the pursuit of good grades can be challenging, there are several accessible and cost-free strategies that can greatly enhance your academic performance. Here are five effective approaches tailored for international students seeking to excel in their studies without added financial burden.


Regardless of whether you’re only abroad for a semester or years, getting good grades should be your priority. Studies have found that getting good grades in high school paves the way to getting bigger salaries in the future.


According to the data, top performers in A Levels – those achieving four As — can earn up to 40,300 pounds (US$48,832.92 at the time of writing) five years after graduation.


Students who pass only one or two A Levels earn 23,200 pounds (US$28,112.25) post-graduation. We get it. Studying abroad in a new country is exciting, with many new things to explore and friends to meet.


Not to be a party pooper, but you probably also forked out a lot of money to study in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, instead of just locally. Even if you didn’t fund your program and are on a scholarship or other forms of financial aid, good grades are often a key condition for you to keep receiving your stipend. 


We believe in you — and have tried-and-tested tips to offer below.


How to get good grades: Five effective ways


  1. Having a strong grasp of the grading system


The first thing to be aware of when learning how to get good grades is understanding your host country’s grading systems. For example, the US and UK grading systems differ greatly in how grades look on paper.


While both countries measure grades with percentages, the US has a Grade Point Average (GPA) applied across all degrees. The UK, however, has a degree classification or the standard “distinction/fail” system that distinguishes the highest average percentage grade. 


Understanding the grading system can help you set better expectations for your grades. Sometimes, what may seem like a failing grade is an A — and what may seem like a good grade isn’t very good at all.


Mastering time management is pivotal for academic success. Start by creating a comprehensive schedule that accommodates your classes, study time, and personal activities. Tools such as digital calendars or apps can help you stay organized and manage your time efficiently. Prioritize tasks, allocate specific time slots for study sessions, and ensure you adhere to your schedule diligently.


  1. Prepare and do the reading

When you’re in university, always read and prepare before class. 

You might be wondering where you will find the time to juggle assignments, classes, social life, and weekly readings.


Sometimes, the readings can feel overwhelming, making it easy to fall behind. But you’ll be surprised how much more fruitful your takeaways in class will be.

If you skip them, you’ll only end up with more unnecessary work and stress during assignments or exam season.


If you haven’t already, here’s your reminder to set aside time each week to do your readings so that you stay up to date with everything! Remember, a little investment goes a long way.


Most universities offer an array of resources that students can access for free. These resources include libraries, academic support centers, writing labs, tutoring services, and study groups. Take advantage of these facilities to enhance your understanding of coursework, seek assistance with assignments, and engage with peers to foster collaborative learning.


  1. Find what works for you 

As obvious as it may seem, one of the most important ways of learning to get good grades is to find what works for you. There isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” solution to effectively learning, as everyone absorbs information differently.


Some are most productive in the wee hours of the morning, while others work best late at night while everyone is fast asleep. Some require complete silence, while others need music to help them focus. All that’s left for you to do is experiment and find what works best for you.


Developing a rapport with your professors can be immensely beneficial. Attend office hours, participate in class discussions, and ask for clarification on topics you find challenging. Professors often appreciate students who show a keen interest in their subjects and are usually willing to provide guidance and support.


  1. Ask questions

Asking questions in class is the fastest way to widen your thought processes and challenge your arguments, especially when surrounded by people of different cultures.


If you're an introvert, it may be intimidating to participate in class, but that shouldn’t stop you from reaching out to your lecturers after class or even dropping them an email.


Experiment with various study techniques to determine what works best for you. Techniques like active recall, spaced repetition, and summarizing content in your own words can significantly enhance your understanding and retention of material. Additionally, forming or joining study groups can offer diverse perspectives and aid in reinforcing concepts.


  1. Have fun! 

The most overlooked and underestimated bit: have fun! While grades are a priority, so is your mental and physical health. Take some time on the weekends or after classes to meet up with friends or hike. The goal is to relax and take your mind off stress.


When you take some time out, you’ll often be able to see the topic you’re studying from a fresh perspective, and you’ll come back to it fully energized.


Maintaining a balance between academic responsibilities and personal well-being is crucial. Ensure you get sufficient rest, eat healthily, exercise, and allocate time for activities that help alleviate stress. A healthy mind and body contribute significantly to academic performance.



Studying abroad as an international student is an exciting and enriching experience, but it also comes with the responsibility of maintaining good grades. This blog has provided valuable tips for international students to excel academically while enjoying their time abroad. Understanding the host country's grading system, staying on top of readings, finding a study rhythm that works for you, asking questions, and remembering to have fun are all essential elements of a successful academic journey. By following these tips, international students can achieve both good grades and a rewarding study abroad experience.


Achieving good grades as an international student doesn’t always require substantial financial investment. By implementing these cost-free strategies, you can significantly improve your academic performance. Remember, consistent dedication, effective time management, leveraging available resources, fostering relationships with educators, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are key components to academic success.

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