How to Bounce Back from Bad Grades
Throughout your school career, you’ll have a lot of positive and negative experiences. However, almost nothing is worse than getting your first bad grade. We’ll let you define what “bad” means to you. For some it means an F; for others it could be a B+. However you define it, it can be difficult to get back on your academic feet and be ready to keep learning. To help with the process, we’ve got a straightforward step-by-step guide to help you survive those low grades that appear from time to time.
Step 1: Know What Bad Grades Mean (and What They Don’t)
A bad grade simply means that you didn’t perform according to the standards that your professor has set out. It might just mean that you didn’t properly follow instructions or that you didn’t understand a certain concept.
On the other hand, low grades are not indicators of who you are as a person, your worth, or your value to the world. Don’t let a bad grade make you feel that you’re a loser, or stupid, or a waste of space. You are none of those things. You just got a bad grade, that’s all.
Step 2: Figure Out What Went Wrong
Now you know that grades are not tied to your worth as a human being. Let’s get down to business to figure out what went wrong. You may need to go through your grades and see where you scored the lowest. Are you terrible at the daily quizzes? Did you struggle with a group project? How did the final exam go?
Once you’ve discovered what exactly brought down your grade, you can figure out where to go from there. For example, if you got your bad grade because you just didn’t put in the work, take accountability and make some changes. Make an effort to complete all assignments and read through your notes each day.
Step 3: Talk to Your Professor
Before you barge into your professor’s office demanding a higher grade, know the purpose of meeting with them. It isn’t just to raise your grade. It can be:
- To clarify their grading procedures
- To get specific feedback on your work
- To explain any extenuating circumstances
- To ask for a way to bring up your grade (bring your own suggestions as well).
If you go into the meeting expecting your grade to be higher when you leave, you’ll be disappointed. If they are willing to change your grade at all, they will most likely require some work from you. Be prepared to get back to work and continue learning and practicing the concepts taught in class. Even if you don’t get your grade changed, you’ll get some invaluable insight into how you can improve your grades in the future.
Step 4: Set Goals
If you weren’t happy with the grade you received, there’s no need for it to happen again. Once you’ve followed the above steps, you’re ready to get to work and figure out what to do so that the bad grades don’t happen again in the future.
If talking with your professor revealed that you didn’t understand a few key concepts, perhaps setting up a study group or a regular tutorial with a teaching assistant next semester will be helpful. If a group project brought you down, you might consider working on your own if possible, and if not, doing a bit of extra work to make sure your grade is where it needs to be. If your final exam brought you down, maybe you need to work on your study habits.
Getting a bad grade stinks, but it’s not the end of the world. Once you realize that bad grades don’t define you as a person and you get to work figuring out what went wrong, you’ll be able to easily correct your mistakes in the future. A single bad grade (or even a couple of them) will not ruin your college career, so get to work and make improvements.