With the first day of school just around the corner, parents and students alike might appreciate advice for each class taken throughout the school year.

English - a writing project makes up 40 percent of each of the quarter grades. Students who earn less than a C on these essays more often than not fail this class. For that reason, take these assignments very seriously. Write three to four drafts, making major improvements as you progress. And never forget to upload this to turnitin.com. Failure to complete this seemingly insignificant step will result in your English grade dropping by a minimum of two letters.

Math - the amount of material covered in this class makes it impossible for teachers to grade homework for accuracy and not just completion. Therefore, students must take that job on themselves. When possible, check the odd answers in the back of the book as you finish each problem. If given a worksheet, pay attention when your teacher reads the answers. Then, refigure every problem you missed. Finally, spend extra time on the last couple of sections of the chapters as these are usually the most difficult and least practiced.

Spanish - the first two years of this class require nothing more than memorization. In other words, this course should not seem difficult provided you put forth a little effort. Instead of filling in your homework assignments with random words, read the directions, follow the example, and try to do well. While teachers only have time to grade homework for completion, they do grade tests for accuracy. And, those who do not use their workbooks to practice for tests will fail.

Science - requires a lot of math, especially those related to chemistry and physics. In fact, freshmen who did not take Algebra in eighth grade often fail chemistry and physics because they have yet to master things like scientific notation and converting measurements. Consequently, students should spend the majority of their effort working on math skills in this class. Then, to make sure they do not take this again in summer school, students should do their best to earn perfect scores on every one of their notebook checks.

Social studies - students should easily earn at least a B in this class. Paying attention and doing the majority of your homework makes it impossible to earn anything less. If a student fails a test in this subject, parents should ask to see the notes their child took over that week. Most likely, they won't have any, which is why they failed.

The electives - do not blow these classes off as rushing to complete a bunch of missing assignments at the end of the semester will cause a lot of undue stress. These classes have the ability to greatly help your GPA, but only if you do all of the work.

All classes - none of the tests can ever go home for review. Therefore, parents of students who have failed more than one test in the same class should make an appointment with the teacher to ask that they all go over the tests together.

Of course, as I have preached before, finding success in high school, college and later in life demands that one develop some organization and study skills. Therefore, this year I am sharing how to cultivate these skills in my new seminar, "What It Takes to Succeed at High School; Organization and Study Skills."

Shauna Cahill is a high school tutor, college planner and academic life coach living in Ahwatukee Foothills. Register for her July 31 seminar, "What It Takes to Succeed at High School" by contacting her at shauna@thesuccessfultutor.com or at (480) 794-0177. Mention this article for $5 off.


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