In a perfect world, you would get every question 100% correct on every test. You would be a straight-A student and have a 4.0 GPA. Alas, you made a couple of rash decisions, missed a few classes, skipped several revision sessions and got a C or a D. Before you decide that life is over for you, let’s fast-forward through the five stages of dealing with low grades and learn how you can use them to have better luck on the next exam.
The Five Stages Of Dealing With Bad Grades
Your first lousy grade might be somewhat of a shock to your system. You will cycle through the five emotional stages until finally, you will be able to function normally and go on with your life. Here is a short overview of the feelings that might come to you. They are perfectly healthy, so don’t be too alarmed with your mood swings.
At first, you can’t believe that you have made so many mistakes in a simple test. You are sure you have gotten at least three-quarters of the answers right. Therefore, you will get a good grade. There must be some mistake. There is no need to panic. You can get a nap and sort things later.
There is no way you have made so many mistakes as to get a C! The professor is totally out to get you. He didn’t tell you all the topics the test would cover. And it is not fair you have to pay the price of his or her mediocre teaching methods.
There must be a way to set things right. Maybe, you can do some extra work to improve the overall score. All courses have extra credit; you just need to convince your professor you deserve a second chance. You might have sent a dozen of emails to your TA and instructor to get the necessary information; you are so eager to get things done.
There is no way you will be able to graduate with your class. Your parents will cut you off, and you will never be able to find anything better than a minimum-wage job. Your life is over, and all you can do is cry in the shower and drink yourself stupid.
OK, this is just one bad grade. You can work a little harder next time to improve your GPA. Your family might be disappointed, but everyone has low grades from time to time. One S won’t ruin your record, and there is still enough time to construct a job-winning resume.
Five Ways To Use Your Bad Grades
Learn To Be Realistic
You can’t honestly expect to get As every time, even if you were a straight-A student in high school. In college, academic expectations are a lot higher, so to get excellent grades you need to work much harder. Besides, S is average, B is good, and A is excellent. So when you get a C, ask yourself if that had been your best work. And instead of feeling miserable about being average, devote this time to getting more studying and revision done. That way next time you can realistically expect a V or an A.
Think of getting a bad grade as one of the numerous life lessons you came to college to experience. Your adult life will be full of disappointments and troubles, and it’s time for you to learn to deal with them like a responsible adult, not a petulant child. Instead of blaming the professor for not providing enough material during the lectures or your friends for inviting you out when you should have been studying, ask yourself what YOU could have done wrong. Maybe, you were too busy to find the time and ask your professor for advice during the office hours, or perhaps, your revision strategies could be improved. When you learn to take responsibility for your bad grades, their numbers will drastically decline.
Ask For Help
Many students are too proud to admit they need extra help from their peers or professors. They are embarrassed to ask seemingly stupid questions, and they don’t want to look foolish. However, knowing when to reach out for help is another mark of an adult. Don’t be afraid of your instructors, they are human, and most of them want you to succeed. When you come to them asking for help, they will gladly assist or at least point you in the right direction. Besides, your questions might lead them to change their teaching methods to avoid similar problems among students in the future. So don’t think of consulting your instructor as a weakness, think of it as a way to show your interest in the studies and a way to help future classes get a better grip on the subject.
Sometimes the prospect of the bright future in a penthouse with a seven-figure yearly income is not enough to motivate students. Short-term pleasure usually trumps long-term benefits. For this reason, a bad grade can be a much-needed cold shower to set your priorities straight. Try placing the evidence of your poor results on a fridge door or a whiteboard, somewhere you will see the failing grade every day. Your 40% on a quiz will prevent you from going to a pub crawl next time you have to prepare for an exam. Let this small failure motivate you to become a better version of yourself.
Once you have received your exam results, it’s too late to beg the professor for another chance. Instead, remember this experience next time you feel like your grade is hanging in the balance. Approach your instructor about extra credit at the beginning of the semester to learn the policies and utilize this knowledge to sway the scales in your favor by the finals week. Plan your success strategy, and you won’t have to worry at the end of the semester. It might also be a good idea to review your previous study habits and replace them with better practices. After all, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the sign of insanity.
We hope these tips will help you get over the bad grades quickly and turn this unpleasant episode into a useful learning experience. And remember, that we are always here to lend a shoulder to cry on and a helping hand to boot.