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Improving Bad Grades

Change Your Habits and Improve Your Grades

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Middle school girl looking at classwork
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Are you feeling down about your grades? It is easy to get the blues when you receive low scores on a big test or a homework assignment, but you can't let poor perforance get you down. There is always time to make things better.

And there are always reasons to improve. If you fail a few tests, you can turn your semester around. If you fail a whole grade, you can do better next time. Just don't get down on yourself!

Steps to Take If It Isn't Over Yet

If you've received a few low grades on assignments throughout the year and you're facing a big final, then you still have time to bring up your final grade. Don't accept failure!

Sometimes, a good grade on the final project or exam can increase your final grade dramatically. Especially if the teacher knows you're really trying.

 

  1. Gather all your work assignments to determine exactly how and why you earned the low grades. Identify your weak points. Did your grades suffer because of careless grammar or poor writing habits? If so, be more mindful of grammar and structure during the final.

     

  2. Visit the teacher and ask her to go over your assignments with you. Ask her what you could have done differently.

     

  3. Ask what can you do for extra credit. By trying to take charge of your destiny, you are showing responsibility. Teachers will appreciate this.

     

  4. Ask for advice from the teacher. Teachers can direct you to resources that are topic-specific.

     

  5. Put all your energy into the final test or project. Find a tutor to help you. Ask the teacher to explain the format of the test. Will it be an essay exam or a multiple choice test? Target your study accordingly.

     

  6. Join a study group. Discuss the final exam with other students. They may have notes that you missed or they may have better insight into the teacher's preferences when it comes to test questions and answers.

     

  7. Improve memory skills. There are many techniques to improve your memory. Find one that is best for you and the material you're studying.

     

  8. Get serious. Don't be late to class. Get some sleep. Turn off the TV.

     

Talk to your Parents

If you know a bad grade is imminent, then it might be wise to talk to your parents first. Let them know that you are trying to make a change and improve your performance.

Get them involved. You may want to discuss creating a homework contract with your parents. The contract should address time commitments, homework help, supplies, and other issues that affect grades.

 

Looking Toward the Future

If you have just received your end-of-year grades and you're looking forward to improving your performance next year, there are plenty of things you can do.

 

  1. Get organized. Keep a journal of assignments to identify strengths and weaknesses. Organize your supplies and establish a good study space.

     

  2. Try to use color-coded supplies to stay organized.

     

  3. Identify your personal learning style. This is critical to improving your study habits. Don't waste valuable study time using ineffective study methods.

     

  4. Talk to your counselor about your schedule or your diploma program. You may be enrolled in a program that isn't right for you. Are you taking courses that are too difficult because your diploma program requires it?

     

  5. Review your schedule. Cut out extracurricular activities that don't help you reach your true goals. If you're involved with that team or club just for fun—then you may need to make some tough decisions.

     

  6. Improve your writing skills. Students sometimes complain because they are penalized for poor writing in courses other than English. Teachers don't have much patience for this complaint! Good writing skills are critical for every class.

     

  7. Join a study group.

     

    Keep a Realistic Perspective

    1. If you are stressing out about a possible B grade, you should know that perfect grades aren't everything, and expecting them isn't very realistic, either. While it is true that some colleges place a lot of value in grades, it is also true that they are interested in recruiting humans, not machines.

      If you are hoping to get into a specific, highly competitive college and you are worried about getting a B, then you are smart enough to make yourself stand out in another way. For instance, you could use your creativity to craft an essay that stands out.

       

    2. Give yourself credit if you're doing your best. If you have tried everything, but you just can't become the perfect student you want to be, perhaps you should give yourself a break. Identify your own strong points and make the best of them.

       

    3. Don't give yourself a bad reputation. If you aren't happy with a grade or a report card, you can discuss this with a teacher. However, if you make a habit out of visiting your teacher to complain, then you may be making a pest of yourself.
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