Are you struggling to get good grades in English class?

You're not the only one! English class can be challenging for many students.

An open poetry book laying on top of an open notebook and pen. Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

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

A baby heavily focused on reading.

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!

A woman banging her head on a whiteboard saying,

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.

Sticky notes, notebooks, and pens scattered all over a desk. Photo by Wulan Sari on Unsplash

Common essay organization systems include:

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?

An award winner saying

Here are some strategies for proofreading your work:

  • Read it aloud to see if it makes sense to you.

  • Put your work through writing review software like Microsoft Word or Grammarly.

  • Ask for a peer review from a classmate.

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.

A teacher holding an apple saying,

  • 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.

Take Action

A cat saying,

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:


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