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How to get good grades

You have a much better chance of getting good grades in your assignments and tests if you follow the UDS method:

Understand what you have to do
When the teacher writes the homework on the board, copy it carefully into your planner. The teacher will normally say something to explain further what to do. In this case, you should write notes in English or, better still, in your own language to make it clear to yourself what is needed.
Make sure you know the due date!

If you don't understand the homework fully after the teacher has explained it, here is what you can do:

* Your ESL teacher will always be ready to help if s/he can, but very often it will not be clear, just from the words you have written in your planner, what you have to do.

Remember: Your teachers have a duty to make sure you understand exactly what they want, and you have a right to ask if you do not.


Do what you have to do
This is clear. If your teacher wants 3 pages of double-spaced computer writing at 12pt Times New Roman, then this is what you must do.

If your teacher wants you to give a 5-10 minute presentation about the causes of an environmental problem, then you cannot expect a good grade for a 3 minute presentation mainly about the effects of an environmental problem.

Remember: Do exactly what your teacher wants - and do it on time!


Show that you have done what you had to do
Your teachers are busy people! Make it easy for them to see that you have done what they asked for. Here are some suggestions to use where appropriate:

* Many writing tasks need short answers, a single paragraph or even a single sentence. For such tasks you can show that you have done what the teacher wants if you repeat key words from the question in (the first sentence of) your answer. [More on this]

Remember: Not only are teachers busy, but they are also people! They will have a positive feeling about you if they think you have taken a little care to present your work neatly, and in a way that makes it easy for them to see that you have done what they asked you to do.

See an example of how to improve an exam answer by using the UDS method.


For FIS students: There is a Japanese and a Korean version of this advice. Please ask your ESL teacher if you wish to have it.


Frankfurt International School: Art and artists. (Click to see at full size.)