Dealing with Bad Grades

There are some things you can do to bounce back from poor grades.

Ashley Paskill

November 08, 2016

Dealing with Bad Grades

It happens to even the best students. You work insanely hard on an assignment and study for days on end for an exam. Then, the day comes when you receive the grade and you are shocked. It is not as high as you expected.

It’s a gut-wrenching feeling, especially when you worked hard and usually get higher grades. However, a not-so-good grade happens every once in a while.

It is okay to be upset for a moment, but there are things that can be done to bounce back from the grade.

Look over the exam or assignment or exam to see where you went wrong.
If it is the first assignment or exam, it can be difficult to know what the teacher is expecting, so the first assignment or exam is difficult. Take a look at comments to see how to improve next time. See if there was a pattern in incorrect answers to see what kind of questions the teacher is likely to ask so you know what material to focus on next time. You may have just had a bad day, and it is important to remember that one assignment or exam does not determine how good you are in the class or in you given major.

Come up with a strategy for how to improve next time.
Looking at where you went wrong allows you to see what the teacher expects from assignments and what material might be included on an exam. Knowing the type of questions the teacher puts on exams allows you to hone in on what the teacher thinks is important and not be distracted by material that is not as crucial to the assignment or exam. If you did not study at all or need to study more, you can adjust for that on the next exam. Seeing what mistakes were made on an assignment can give you valuable insight for how to avoid them in the future.

Talk to your professor.
If you look at your assignment or exam and still cannot figure out what you did wrong or are having trouble figuring out what the comments mean, talking to your professor will help you gain insight as to what he or she was looking for so you can fix it for next time. If you are truly struggling in the class, your professor can help you set up a plan for how to succeed for the rest of the semester. Attend your professor’s office hours or set up an appointment. Bring a list of questions and/or concerns so that you have a clear idea of what to talk about and to avoid awkward silence.

Visit your school’s tutoring center.
Many schools have free tutoring centers that offer help in a wide variety of topics. Some schools even have a tutor that focus specifically on preparing for exams, so if you understand the material but are having issues with how to approach the exam itself, they can help you with that. A lot of schools have a specific place for those who need help with writing and editing papers. Check to see what days and times the tutors in the subject you need help in are in the center. Be prepared with specific questions so you are not wasting time.

If you are failing the class and it is too late in the semester to bring your overall grade up to a passing grade, talk to an advisor about withdrawing from the class.
Different schools have different policies about when to withdraw. Also, various aspects of your status, such as financial aid or athletics, might be affected if you withdraw. If you missed the deadline, you will have to stick it out. Talk with your professor about how you can bring your grade up. Meeting with an advisor will give you the information you need to decide how to continue with the class and will give you the scenarios that can happen.

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