You do not need to study all the time nor harder to get impressive grades but you surely need to study smarter to earn good grades. Read this: to study smarter is to study efficiently. Yeah, this is so true. I am not that intelligent nor a book worm but I managed to maintain above average grades during my high school and college days.
I just see to it that I am alert and awake during lectures and class discussion. I am not very active in class participation but I make sure that I listen attentively and can answer when asked. I also take notes but I prioritize listening over note taking and because of this, I used the mapping method of note taking. I also have this habit of borrowing the notes of my classmates quickly and have it photocopied if I focused so much on listening that I hardly able to write down notes.
Then, during group activities or group work, I usually work closely with the leader and I see to it that I am hands-on on every activity. I am doing it because I want to learn better and grasp the objective of the activity or experiment. I used this opportunity to maximize my learning while inside the classroom or laboratory. Some students hate working on a report or hypotheses but I like it because this is where I learn the essence of the subject.
I study alone during regular days then join a study group when the examination week is approaching. By doing this, our study group meeting became a review session that enables all of us to be prepared for the exams.
I always set aside a schedule to study daily even for just 1 to 2 hours with in between short breaks of about 5 minutes. After studying the current lesson, I spent few minutes to scan the past lessons. By doing all of these, I do not need to review very hard for upcoming tests or exams. I can watch movies, do my favorite things and enjoy both high school and college life but still get high grades.