Book Reviews

BkRev  #1784 The A Game: Nine Steps to Better Grades.(2011). Sufka, Kenneth J. Taylor, MS: Nautilus Publishing Company. ISBN: 978-1-936946-02-0, $12.95


Jamie Sheppard

Academic Advisor

University of North Carolina – Charlotte

Engineering Technology & Construction Management


Walking onto a college campus a sense of knowledge, a determination to succeed, and an idea of how to study ignites. Students try to study; in this endeavor some succeed while others fail. One difference between success and failure can be found in the depth of each student’s personal study. In The A Game: Nine Steps To Better Grades, Dr. Sufka writes a concise 9 step guide on how students can successfully achieve better grades, which includes the depth of efficient study.  He also addresses myth vs. fact bringing to light an “all- nighter” image depicted in media does not equate to a grade of A.

Sufka, a University of Mississippi Psychology faculty member, takes his educational knowledge and more importantly his firsthand experience of working with students and provides a referenced narrative with related examples and illustrations as to how to prepare for class, get the most out of a study session and also touches on a few test taking strategies. All of these methods are proven success by not only his student’s examples but also in connection with current research studies and teaching theories. Two stand-out points; Penny Example (p. 41-43).  Sufka, provides a picture of 15 pennies and has students identify what is real penny.  This highlights the point of, just how well do you know the material of what you are studying. The second standout:  Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning, Sufka explains this teaching theory.  If a student can understand this point, it helps to be on the side of the instructor’s level of thinking.  If every student would implement these nine suggestions, more students would be successful in achieving the grades and degrees they desire. This is where the book falls short, which Sufka recognizes, the student’s motivation to succeed determines the true success in a student’s game.

The A Game: Nine Steps To Better Grades, is not a must-have book.  However, recommended for an advising library for the following3 reasons: 1) to reference the penny diagram when working with students on how to truly study (p. 41-43).  2) The book provides a great starting reference list for future research on student success and learning 3) to use as a recommendation for new advisors who do not quite have the classroom experience like some advisors and faculty members do.

In Conclusion, The A Game is a quick read for both advisor and student. It is recommended as reference guide, but not to be held as bible.  The guide provides a few teaching gems, such as the penny example. The A Game also serves as a good reference for educators.  This book does lack the motivational, self-efficacy building for the over-all successful student. As a researcher in STEM this book misses some key points on studying for STEM directed courses. And also does not provide motivational or self-efficacy building skills.

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