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Three Ways to Improve Grades

By Edited Oct 29, 2016 1 2

Do you get bad grades in school?

Looking to become a better student?

If you have recently received a poor performing report card or suspect that this last semester was not your best work this article presents three quick tips to getting back on track. 

1. Take Ownership

When most students receive a bad report card, often the first reaction is to blame outside forces.

Typically the teacher/professor is the first to be blamed, with the student stating that the teacher had a personal problem with them and is using their report card to take vengeance.

It is also common for students to blame themselves but not directly. "I wasn't feeling well that day", "I had too many exams that week", "I don't do well under pressure", and "I was working too many hours at my part time job". 

Regardless of the excuse, ownership needs to be taken in order to improve grades. Otherwise the same pattern will unfold, hoping that everyone else will change and nothing will be done differently. 

2. Change Habits

After the student has honestly determined what caused the bad grades, they need to determine if the root cause is more important to them than getting good grades.

I think this becomes difficult because it is hard to quantify what good grades actually mean. Consider the fact that students in the top 10% of their class find jobs out of University 30% faster than the students in the bottom majority of the class. This provides a clear motive for doing better in school and something tangible for the student to work towards. 


1. Is playing Call of Duty more important than getting a job out of university

2. Is watching this movie, or going out on a date going to make me happier than getting my ideal job for the rest of my life?

3. Am I just procrastinating? Do I really enjoy what I am doing right now, or do I just not want to do my schoolwork?

3. Don't be Afraid to do your Best

A lot of students also do not put their best work into school because they can get satisfactory marks without the additional effort.

Consider the student who spends 2 hours on a paper and gets 70% or 3 hours on the paper and gets 78%. Despite the law of diminishing returns, there is something that can be said about having pride in your work that creates a passion for learning and a sense of accomplishment regardless of the grade that was received. If the student is afraid of working hard and failing, it is better to work hard and fail than to quit and fail, because at least through hard work the student is learning and building character. 

In Summary

In order to improve grades at any level, the student must take ownership for the work that was done, they must change the way they treat school work, and they must do their best work in order to feel confident with their behaviours. 

As painful as studying may be, it is always less painful than the feeling of guilt after the test.

Becoming a Better Student Guide

Memory Power 101
Credit: http://www.amazon.ca/Memory-Power-101-Comprehensive-Businesspeople/dp/1616086122/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1325516255&sr=8-1


Jan 3, 2012 9:14pm
Exams are never easy and in many cases I believe nerves play a big part in failing. All the extra studying before the exam and then things we know well suddenly forgotten when the time comes. We all want to improve our grades but as long as we do our best at the time we cannot blame ourselves.
Jan 4, 2012 10:26am

Thanks for the note, you are very right what you are saying. I am in the process of writing a follow up post that documents my old "pre exam" ritual that some readers might find useful. It won't work for everyone but it helped me subdue those pre-exam jitters.

Thanks again
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