Best Practices for Getting the Best Grades in Online Courses

  • View the lesson multiple times until you feel like you could teach the information yourself. Don't race through the information too quickly.  Be thorough; not fast.  You are not a rider in this academic car; you are the driver.
  • Complete the note-taking guide for each lesson.  This resource is designed to prompt you to search for and understand important information that you need to master to be successful in the course.
  • Take thorough "thoughtful" notes each time using the note-taking system described in the next section. This is also the best preparation for both college and career; so you are practicing something you can use for a long time. Compass Learning is not a wimpy program.  It makes you use new information and think it through.  You will be asked to apply what you have learned – not just repeat information.
  • Don't take a test until you've reviewed the content in your notes. Remember, you are the driver in the academic car.  Parents have all the lessons, tests, and answers through the parent portal.  Parents should be prepared to support students to help them earn or improve their grades.  They can ask students to explain concepts, ask probing questions, and guide them to study areas more thoroughly.  Parents should not give your students the answers, but help them dig deeper.
  • Go through all the stages of critical thinking: Gather information, Organize information, Apply information, Analyze information, Synthesize, and Evaluate.  As a family, try to engage in discussions that touch on each of these areas.  Review the Critical Thinking Chart on the next page to help you. It will make for some lively dinner conversations and everyone will benefit!  Why do this step?  You need to think and process new information!
  • If you are having trouble with a concept, make an appointment with your advisor.
  • Your goal should be to do well the first time you take a test.  Use the Critical Thinking Skills form  to help you prepare for tests and to reduce your stress level when approaching a test for the first time.

Note Taking Guides Note-taking guides are shipped to you when your order is placed.  Note-taking guides are not shipped internationally, but are available for download in the Moodle Course associated with each Compass Learning course. Taking Notes Even if there is a note-taking guide, note-taking is essential to success in the online program.  Textbooks are not available; therefore in order to study for quizzes and tests, it is recommended that students take their own notes and keep a binder for each subject.  The Cornell note-taking method is recommended.  Students should prepare a binder for each subject and print copies of the Lecture Notes form.  Notes from each lecture/lesson should be stored in the subject binder.  


Click here for a blank Lecture Note Form. Below is a presentation on taking excellent notes: