Are you struggling to get good grades in English class?
You're not the only one! English class can be challenging for many students.
English courses are difficult because they ask you to use analytical, reflective, and communicative skills that are developed over time.
These 5 strategies can help you improve those skills and get the good grades you're looking for!
1. Read widely
English classes involve studying different writing types, from fiction novels, to news articles, to poetry.
Making a point to read in your free time will not only help you familiarize yourself with more writing styles, but it will also help you build your vocabulary.
Next time you read, try asking yourself these questions to deepen your understanding of the text:
What is this about?
Who is this target audience?
What tone is the author using?
Are there any words/phrases that I can add to my vocabulary?
2. Explore academic perspectives
Successful English essays include a strong argument — or, what you think the text is saying and why you think that message is important.
But sometimes, you just can't come up with a coherent perspective. We've all been there!
In that case, try reading up on the opinions of critics, researchers, and other readers. Study their arguments and evidence to see if it sparks your own thoughts.
Try these sources next time you're in an essay-writing rut:
Academic essays on JSTOR, Google Scholar, etc.
YouTube video essays like this video about Romeo and Juliet
Book reviews in newspapers/magazines
What sources should you avoid citing in English essays?
3. Structure essays systematically
There are many essay organization systems to help you write.
It's important to select and follow the most relevant essay type to guide your writing. This will ensure that you are answering the question properly and organizing your arguments well.
Common essay organization systems include:
Point-Evidence-Explanation (PEE): used in analytical writing, this structure asks you to make a claim, support it with quotes from the text, and explain why it is important.
Argument-Counterargument: used in persuasive writing, this structure asks you to use a counterargument to refute and strengthen your original argument.
Situation-Problem-Solution-Evaluation: used in scientific writing and research papers, this structure asks you to explore a solution to a systemic issue.
4. Proofread your work
Not only does your writing need a strong argument, but you also need to make sure that everyone understands it!
The easiest way to be a successful writer in English class and get good grades is to check your work for:
Argument coherency — Does what I'm saying make sense?
Grammatical accuracy — Does what I'm saying sound right?
Here are some strategies for proofreading your work:
5. Consider teacher feedback
Ultimately, the best source of advice to improve your grade will be your English teacher.
Communicating with your teacher will help you understand your strengths in the subject and possible improvements that you could make to do even better.
Read through their comments on recent work that you've submitted.
Check their feedback in report card grades.
Ask questions in class to better understand the content and expectations.
Schedule a meeting with them outside of class time.
Practice makes perfect. If you put in the time and effort, you'll be confident in your English skills in no time!
Try these strategies to get better grades in English class: