Earning valedictory or cum laude recognitions are not at all easy but not impossible too. I quite believe that higher IQ means something but intelligence is not enough to earn high marks, not alone A grades as STUDY HABITS play a major thing.
So, here are few but effective ways to earn an elusive A from any subject even if it means terrible teachers.
1. Read more. Don't just rely on your teachers' resources; reading a hefty of sources can make your teacher's subject way too easy and elementary.
2. Be prepared 1 - 2 steps ahead of your teachers' present lessons. Having a course topic outline will get you more ready.
3. Prepare for unannounced and announced exams a few days at least. To assess students' preparedness or to at least punish students, teachers do give unannounced exams just for the heck of it, thus, having read in advance can make you still earn good scores.
4. Be with friends who share similar motivations with you. Stay clear from friends who would rather invite you to a party or try vices; not only that they can influence you, they can also mock your ideals.
5. Know your priorities and remain focused. Knowing that you prioritize your grades more than anything else is enough to be personally motivated. However, the idea is to remain consistent and proactive with these priorities.
6. Take a break when needed. You still deserve safe and responsible fun since this will get you re-energized and reminded you that you are still alive and a social being and not just a walking bookworm.