Everyone has different strengths and limitations when it comes to their natural academic capabilities. One thing that every person can develop, however, is a strong work ethic. While no one but you can determine what your best effort is, self-discipline and high standards can help you improve the quality of your school work. Rather than measuring your achievement against others, you can compare your performance against your own progressive goals.

Step 1

Make your weekly schedule every Sunday afternoon or evening in your day planner or calendar. Schedule ample time for studying every evening (or whichever time of day is best for you). Writing this study time into your week helps you see it as a commitment and a set period of time rather than something that can be skipped or shortened. Allow yourself enough time to reasonably finish your work each day.

Step 2

Write out your course goals for the semester on the first page of each of your course notebooks. For example, if your goal for your English class is to improve your grammar and writing clarity, make a note of this on the first page of that class notebook. Look at this goal each time you sit down to work on an assignment to remind yourself and encourage yourself to reach it.

Step 3

Find classmates with whom you can study. Schedule meeting times with these classmates to go over course material or prepare for tests. Collaborating can help motivate you to do well, and can also increase your knowledge base. Choose classmates who are hardworking and set good examples so that you can be as productive as possible.

Step 4

Proofread and revise all of your work. Hand in assignments only when you have checked over them already yourself. Disciplining yourself to edit and proof your writing and homework helps you put your best foot forward and never settle for "good enough." Ask a friend or classmate to help you proofread any major written assignments or projects, as it is easy to miss certain types of errors when you read your own work.

Step 5

Ask your teacher questions and be a proactive learner. When you are unsure about a point or assignment, raise your hand or ask your teacher to clarify the matter after class. Write down all your assignments at the end of the class period while you are still in the classroom so that you have the opportunity to ask questions about them if necessary.