Dear American Girl,

Lately, I've been getting bad grades on tests and assignments for school. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I'm jealous of my friends who seem to always get A's. What can I do to bring up my grades?
-School blues

Here's your advice:

Talk to your teacher and ask him or her what you should do to improve your grades. Your teacher might also be willing to give you extra help or set you up with a tutor.
-An American Girl fan, age 11, North Carolina

Ask your friends if you can study with them. If they get A's, chances are they would make great study buddies!
-Lexie, age 12, Minnesota

Make sure that you are devoting enough of your schedule to school. Is a sport taking up a lot of your time? Have you signed up for too many after-school activities? If so, talk to your parents about dropping something so that you can work on your grades.
-Sophie, age 11, Colorado

When it's time to hit the books, go somewhere quiet, put away your cell phone, and don't be tempted to switch on the TV. These distractions might cause you to make more mistakes on your assignments.
-Shelby, age 9, Indiana

Perhaps something is bothering you and is affecting your grades. On a blank piece of paper, write down all of the things that are bugging you. If you think any of those problems are big enough to bring down your grades, talk to a parent, teacher, or counselor.
-Hannah, age 10, Minnesota

When you find out about an upcoming test, start studying that day. Focus on the material that you're unsure about more than the information you already know. Each night, study little by little until you feel more confident.
-An American Girl fan, age 12, New York

Maybe you should try studying in a different way. Create your own quizzes, make flash cards, highlight important things in the material, or even sing facts out loud!
-Emma, age 11, Massachusetts

During class, check in with yourself and think, Do I really understand this? If you're unsure about something during the lesson, be sure to raise your hand or talk to your teacher after class.
-An American Girl fan, age 13, Illinois

You might need to work on your organization skills. Write down your assignments in a planner. Create a daily studying schedule for yourself. When you've finished your homework, put it in a folder so that you won't lose it. And make sure that when you turn in your homework, your work is neat.
-Lydia, age 12, Ohio

When you complete an assignment or test, double-check your work. Ask yourself, Is this the best I can do? and Do my answers make sense? I ask myself these questions, and I've improved my grades.
-Phoebe, age 10, Virginia

Your low grades could be the result of not getting enough sleep. How are you supposed to do your best if you always feel tired? Try to go to bed a little earlier each night, and see if extra sleep makes a difference in your grades.
-Marissa, age 13, Illinois

Try to be as stress-free as possible. Feeling angry or frustrated could bring down your grades even more. Take short breaks from your homework to do things that make you feel happy and calm, such as a quick bike ride or a chat with a friend.
-Alicia, age 11, California

In class, take notes on things you're having trouble understanding. When you get home, review your notes to figure things out and make sure that you get the info. If you're still struggling with it, talk to your teacher.
-An American Girl fan, age 12, Washington

The next time you sit down to do your homework, start with your toughest subject first. That way, your mind will be fresher and more able to tackle the hard stuff.
-Nyomi, age 10, California

I know how it feels to be frustrated with school. I'm not doing so well in math right now, so one thing I'm doing is working on each problem slowly. Make sure that you're not rushing through your tests or schoolwork.
-Kara, age 13, Louisiana

This might not seem as if it really would help, but eating breakfast before school is important. A good breakfast can give your brain extra power and better concentration abilities.
-Melina, age 10, Ohio

If you don't understand something, don't hesitate to ask your teacher for help. Asking a question doesn't make you less smart. And remember, just because your friends get A's doesn't mean you have to, too—try your best!
-Corinne, age 12, Massachusetts

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