Student Success Stories: Dealing With Bad Grades
How to Successfully Deal With an Initial Bad Grade
Real study strategies from real students -- tips for overcoming an initial bad grade in a class.
First test freshman year, my first test in micro-economics, I failed by a few points. Never had I received a failing grade before so I did not handle it well. I blamed the professor, I blamed my friends/roommate for distracting me, I blamed the creator of economics. Soon after though, I realized how unproductive this was, and how it didn't help anyone. I learned to seek help from professors and peers when I don't understand a topic, and I also realized how important good study habits are. I simply had no one to blame but myself and I tried to grow from this experience. Needless to say, I haven't failed a test since and I am also minoring in economics.
If I don't do as well as I had expected to on an assignment or test, then it motivates me to work even harder in the class. I'll study more and put more time and effort into my work for that class. I also think that speaking with the professor helps, because that way they see that you are making an effort. Don't wait until the day before the next test or project is due to speak to your professor, go talk to them early. You will look better in their eyes if they see that you aren't waiting until the last minute and you will benefit from getting whatever advice they may give you earlier.
It freaks me out a little bit, but I just realize that I have to study a different way. It usually doesn't matter too much to me because I know I'll pull off a good grade in the class and work my way back up because I always do.
It is a fact of life that we are all inevitably going to do worse on something than we thought at one point or another in our lives. How to deal with this is important, and knowing what to expect can help. In high school, a bad grade usually means you beg the teacher for extra credit, or give you the higher grade if you're on the borderline.
However, in college, professors rarely give out extra credit, and if they do, it usually isn't enough to really affect your grade. Knowing this, it doesn't make sense to complain to the teacher; instead, you first need to take responsibility for the disappointing grade. Placing blame on the professors is counter-productive because by doing so you fail to recognize how you could do better in the future. Instead, you should find ways you could improve your studying habits, look for clues within the test to see what kinds of things the professor is grading you on, ask for clarification, examine whether your participation in class adequately reflected the grade you got on your test (and whether more participation is required), etc. There are many ways to deal with a bad grade, the best, however, is to resolve yourself to put in more effort or study differently, and strive even harder the next time for the grade you feel you deserve.
Receiving a lower grade than expect was always a panic moment for me at first. With the first glance of the grade on the paper there is always a lot of anticipation. After seeing the grade, having a brief panic moment, I would then read the professor's comments if any, and go back over the paper and test to see what I had done wrong. Since these grades were few and far between for me I often found myself waiting after class for the professor, sending him or her an email, or scheduling an appointment to figure out what I had done wrong.
I'd be lying if I ever said it didn't hurt -- it's very discouraging when you get low grades. Fortunately for me, though, is that every bad grade I've gotten on a test or paper has usually been directly correlated to how much time/effort I spent preparing for the test. Whether it's not spending enough time studying or staying up too late the night before, or even not eating before the test, I try to take low grades as a reason to do better on the next assignment. It's hard to not feel pressure to perform well on the next test, but you have to go into every test with a clean slate and feel like you are doing your personal best -- and for me, whenever I feel like I did my personal best, I've usually been happy with my results. Always remember, as well, if you do badly on something and don't know why, it's a really good idea to talk to the professor about ways they suggest you should prepare for the next assignment. Especially with projects, doing the bulk of them ahead of time and continually checking in with your professor to make sure you're doing it right will increase your chances of having a good result.
Talking to the teacher about a low grade is overlooked a lot. I think that communicating with the teacher is very helpful because not only can they tell you where you went wrong but you are also letting the teacher know you care about the class and are working hard. Teachers don't forget things like that.
Well, if it is UN-expected, I would review the test and see where I went wrong, if I understand my mistakes I just have to swallow my pride, and take it. However, if I do not agree with something, perhaps and eraser mark on the scantron, or my professor marked off for something that wasn't clear, I would schedule a meeting with my professor, and talk to them about it. See where I went wrong, and how I can do better. If you show your professors you care about your grades, and want to do better and learn, I honestly believe they take that in to consideration when making the final grade. Establishing that rapport with your professor, is the difference of a C+ to a B-.
I have never received a bad grade since I started (1) study notes at the gym on a treadmill and (2) review notes starting a week before the test. I consistently have high grades... I find that lower(but still good grades) are related to time constraints from the class period.
I got a D on my first paper in college. It was in history and the professor believed in letting you rewrite everything because you can always improve. I took advantage of this opportunity after speaking with him about the assignment. Initially, I hadn't understood what he was looking for. When I resubmitted it, I got a B- and by the end of the semester I had made an A on one of my papers. Usually, I can tell what I'll receive on my assignments, because I know how much time and effort I put into them. The only time I've received an unexpected grade is when I haven't understood the assignment. From those experiences, I've learned to ask questions before I start so there aren't any surprises.
I usually get very upset and immediately wonder how I did so poorly. But, I figure out where I went wrong and how I can correct it for the next test or paper. I usually try to figure it out on my own and go to the teacher to make sure that I figured it out correctly or to help me if I am unable to figure it out on my own.
When receiving a bad grade, I just try to do better on the second exam and study harder. It's hard when you have your first test in a class and have no idea what to expect. The second one is usually easier since you know what to expect from your teachers.
I freaked out, but trust me it's just not worth it. I went through a few days of feeling sorry for myself and angry with myself for not studying enough, but it was all for nothing. I ended up getting an A in the class and realizing that my tantrum served no purpose. If you get a bad grade just figure out what you did wrong and find a way to change it before the next test or paper comes along. If your professor is approachable, and most of them are, ask them for advice they may have some insights for you.
I was absolutely terrified of math. In fact, the first time I took it, the professor gave a test on the first day. I was so freaked out, I never went back to the class and eventually dropped it. Only later did I learn that the professors does a pre-test on the first day to get a feel for everyone's skills level so he can tailor some of the early lessons. When I took it the second time, I was a little more confident because I knew more of what to expect -- plus I got to know the professor and he often gave me extra homework problems.
I usually look over the test or paper to see what I did that the teacher did not want. Basically, I do not stress out about grades that much because for me they are not worth getting really upset about. I do well because I know that I know the material. However, if I do get a bad grade, or one lower than I expected, I make sure that the next time a test is coming, I study even more so that I wont be surprised by the questions.
Certainly, I fought back as many points as I could, and then sought help from the professor so I could rebound with what assignments were left for the semester.
In psychology I got my first D on a test. It wasn't just a D it was a D -- and I didn't know what to do at first! I was so upset! It was my freshman year, but I thought about it afterwards and decided that Psychology just wasn't for me and I just wasn't good at it. As soon as I accepted that I wasn't going to be perfect in Psychology I just did my best and accepted the best grade I could get in the class, which was a C+. It was the only C I had ever gotten in my life so far, but I was proud of it because I worked so hard for it! I decided that I would be happy with my grades as long as I was working hard for them.
I was very upset at first but then I realized that I can't change the grade that I got but that I just have to study and prepare more for the next test. I also re-evaluate the way I studied for the first test to see if maybe I need to try studying a different way.
I first look to see where I went wrong; i.e., did I struggle on the multiple choice and do well on the essay? I then need to look at how I studied for the poorly answered part of the test and then make the necessary modifications to that study session (such as study more vocab, be able to apply the terms and ideas).
Every paper is a learning experience. The first paper or test of the semester is a way to figure out how the professor grades and what his or her tests are like. I will go to my professors and ask why they chose to give me a certain grade, but I never try to argue for extra points. Look toward doing your best on the next assignment and learning from your mistakes to increase your grade average. This will help you earn the respect of your professor because most teachers find it annoying when students try to fight for extra points. Unless something is really wrong with the grading of your assignment I recommend learning from your mistakes and working towards improvement for your next assignment. You should not be making the same mistakes on every paper, especially if your professor has corrected you on those mistakes on previous assignments.
If I received a low grade I probably knew it was coming because I didn't prepare properly or I didn't use the right study habit for that class. I usually try to go over what I did wrong and sometime discuss with the teacher what I can do differently on the next exam or what they suggest I do for studying for the next exam.
Return to more Student Success Stories.