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"Why Smart Students Get Low Grades"
Prof. Joel Mangilit, www.webphil.com

Before we begin, I ask that you keep an open mind, and do not take my opinions personally. My goal is clear, to help students achieve their full potential.

You are smart, yet get low grades. To find out the cause, try to answer the following questions as honestly as possible:

  1. Do you know what you would like to do after graduating from college?
  2. Do you want to be the best in whatever you do?
  3. Are you motivated to study?
  4. Do you pay attention in class?
  5. Do you consider yourself lazy?

Are you done? OK, below are my personal analysis of the problems, and possible solutions:

  1. If you answered NO, one possible problem is that you lack a goal in life.  Without a goal, a student is just going through the motions of getting a college degree.
  2. If you answered NO, then you may be the non-competitive type. There is nothing wrong with this lifestyle. However, being non-competitive, you might not have the desire to get good grades.
  3. If you answered NO, what is the reason? Do you find the subject irrelevant and not useful in the real world? Do you find the professor boring? Granted these are reasons for lacking motivation. To overcome this, keep two things in mind. First, college subjects and grades are meant to instill the discipline of learning. Companies look at grades to identify individuals who have the capability to learn quickly. The issue of the subject being relevant is irrelevant. Companies want individuals than can think, formulate, analyze, learn, and adapt to fast changes in the world. And second, do not let a boring professor be the reason for underachieving. You are in control of your destiny and grades, and your desire to succeed in life should be more than enough motivation for you to study.
  4. If you answered NO, then the problem is this; you are physically present but mentally absent. Learning requires you to be mentally present. Do you "cram" for exams? Cramming may work for some, but at best, you only get short term learning. What use is getting a high grade in a test, only to forget everything you learned after one day? The best type of learning is one that is based on long term memory, achievable only by studying every day.
  5. If you answered YES, then there is a deeper problem. Why are you lazy? Is it because you lack a goal in life? No desire to succeed? No motivation? Possible causes maybe that a student is already financially secure in life, courtesy of rich parents. This is a big problem, and I have no opinions on how to address this issue.

See you in class!