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1122 Lady Street, Suite 300
Columbia SC 29201
Phone: 1.888.200.0562
Fax: 803.734.2279

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Everyone can use pointers when it comes to getting good grades. Here are some suggestions intended to help you study, manage your time, and do you best when taking tests.

Staying on Track:

South Carolina students must earn a total of 24 units of credit in state-approved courses to earn a high school diploma. To be considered by a four-year college or university, students must meet the Standard College Admission Requirements, which go above and beyond what is required for high school graduation. Listed below are the current, high school course requirements for graduation as well as admission to a four-year college or university.

Subject HS Graduation Requirements Standard College Admission Requirements
ENGLISH 4 Units 4 Units
MATH 4 Units 4 Units (to include algebra I, geometry, and algebra II)
SCIENCE 3 Units 3 Units (at least 2 units of lab sciences—must be in 2 fields selected from biology, chemistry, and physics)
FOREIGN LANGUAGE 1 Unit 2 Units (preferably 3 units—must be the same language)
SOCIAL STUDIES 1 Unit US history
½ Unit US government
½ Unit economics
1 Unit other Social Studies
3 Units (to include US history, American government, and economics)
FINE ARTS 1 Unit 1 Unit
ELECTIVES 7 Units 4 Units (must be chosen from 3 different areas)


If you’re in a college prep program, 1 unit of a foreign language is required. If you’re in a career and technology program, 1 unit of career and technology education is required.

You must demonstrate computer literacy before graduation, and you must pass the exit exam before graduation.

Study Tips:

The following are some tips to help you study better and more efficiently.

  • Establish a system for homework assignments and studying, and you'll see better results with less hassle.
  • Set a definite time for study. That means sticking to a routine and planning around the other things in your life like meals, chores, time with friends, and TV. Even when you don't have homework due, use the time for reading and reviewing.
  • Stake out a good place to study. A quiet place with good lighting and no television is your best bet. Try to keep materials you need close by (dictionaries, paper, pencils). If there is no such thing as a quiet place in your home, the local library may be a good choice.
  • Keep track of your assignments. Try using a loose-leaf notebook with sections for each class you take. When a teacher gives a homework assignment, write it down, along with any examples or special instructions.
  • Try to have books, magazines and newspapers available. You can check out books from the library that support your assignments. A newspaper or news magazine can keep you informed about current events.
  • Think about study partners. If you can stay on track, you and your partners can keep each other motivated and give each other help solving problems, too. One caution: don't let someone else do your work for you. Be sure when you get help that you understand how to complete the work by yourself.

Time Management Tips:

The following are some tips to help you manage your time more wisely.

  • No matter how much you have to do, there are still just 24 hours in a day. And, you've got to eat and sleep, not to mention hang out with your friends and family. So, until a magician somewhere pulls more hours out of his hat, you'll just have to juggle the time you have.
  • Develop a plan of action. List what has to be done and how long you'll need to complete each item on your list.
  • Budget your time. Block out the time you will need to get your work done. Daily and weekly grids are good ways to get a picture of your schedule. Follow this link to a weekly calendar template you can print and fill in with your activities. Allow time for all the things you need to take care of in your life. Build in some breaks for yourself when studying, and mix up activities so you won't be bored. Studying in six half-hour sessions is more effective than studying for three hours straight. Use spare time wisely. Time between classes, before meals, and when you're waiting in line can be used for review sessions. Carry notes or a book, or make flash cards you can review when you have some extra time.

Test-taking Tips:

The following are some tips to help you develop a good test-taking strategy.

  • Being a little nervous is normal. Being a lot nervous can undermine the hard work you've done preparing for the test. And, we assume you've done the hard work—studying—because that's test-taking tip number one.
  • Arrive early for tests, and come prepared with everything you’ll need: pencils, pens, a dictionary, a calculator, and a watch.
  • Breathe deeply and be confident. Remind yourself that you are well-prepared. Don't talk to other students before a test; nervousness can be contagious.
  • Be comfortable but alert. Choose a good spot for taking the test. Make sure you have enough room to work. Use good posture in your seat.
  • Preview the test if it isn't a timed test. Spend 10 percent of your time reading through the test, and mark key terms. As you read the questions, jot down ideas you can use later in your answers. • Answer the test questions in a strategic order. First answer the easy questions you know, then answer those with the highest point value. Save those that are most difficult, will take the most writing time, or those with the least point value for later.
  • When taking a multiple choice test, know when and how to guess. First, eliminate answers you know are wrong. Always guess when there is no penalty for guessing or when you can eliminate options. Since your first choice is usually correct, don't change your answer unless you are sure of the correction.
  • When taking essay tests, think before you write. Jot down key points, then number them in the order you want to discuss them. State the main point in the first sentence; give an overview in the first paragraph; then use the rest of the essay to develop your points, giving specific information, examples, or quotes.
  • Review your test before completing it. Save some time for review. If you finish early, don't turn in your test right away. Instead, go over your test for errors.
  • Analyze your test results. Each test can prepare you for the next one. Use past tests to review when studying for final exams.
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