Being first in your class is a goal that you can work toward, but you must set it for yourself from the first day of high school. Try these steps along your way to help you get that first rank in your class.

Participate in class. Don't just physically sit in the chair. Be a part of group discussions, volunteer for extra projects and teams. Take leadership roles whenever they're offered. If the class has a debating team, participate often and come prepared with notes and references for every debate.

Turn in your homework on time and according to the teacher's directions. Be neat about the presentation and don't take any shortcuts.

Read beyond assigned readings. Read books that can provide that extra information you need to pull ahead to first rank. If you're studying World War II, for instance, read biographies of the important players. Prepare an extra credit report based on what you learn.

Ask for help when you see you need it. Don't struggle until your grades begin to slip. Get tutoring if necessary. If you're proficient in a subject, tell your teacher you're available to tutor others. Show an interest in your classmates. Your teacher will notice.

Stay physically fit. Get plenty of exercise either through team or individual activities. Eat well, drink lots of water and get plenty of sleep. Spend time outdoors and away from your studies. But be disciplined. Schedule a study period for each day and stick to it.

Ask your teacher for extra credit assignments, particularly if you receive a disappointing grade in a subject. Don't merely accept the mark. Do everything you can to raise it.