Dear Nedlam,

I just got my report card back and I failed the first test of this quarter and I didn’t do too well last quarter, so I’m freaking out!!!! I need to get my grades up because I want to get into a really good college and I’m afraid they’ll see how bad I did and I just want to not mess up, and I don’t know what to do!

               -FREAKED OUT!!!!


Well, I can tell that you are pretty worried, but don’t worry, everyone has days, or tests like these. One piece of good news is that the quarter you messed up in was  first quarter, which is the perfect time to decide that you are determined to get your grades up since we still have three more quarters to do so. Just because you failed your first quarter does not mean that your world is over. Colleges don’t tend to look at individual quarters, they look more at the end of the year average and your G.P.A, so if you do well in the next three quarters, then it should be no problem. But how to do better  is an entirely different story. First things first, figure out where you went wrong. Not in what classes messed up on, but why you messed them up. Was it because you always turned homework in late? Or was it because you didn’t understand what was going on? Or maybe you pulled an all night movie marathon before the next test? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, and have come up with more reasons why things didn’t work out for you this quarter, then it’s time to come up with new strategies. If your issue last quarter was with procrastination, reward yourself for doing things right when you get home from school, or, if it’s because you find it harder to do your homework at home due to distractions, go to the library or a coffee shop instead. Another example is if you never study or study too much you should try to balance your time better by doing fun, creative studying strategies, and getting enough sleep. If your issue lies in not understanding the work then come after or before school and ask your teacher for help, or get help from a tutor. The goal here is just to figure out whatever works best for you and helps you improve more. Also, a big issue many students face when tasked with getting their work done is time management. I answered a separate question on time management in greater detail, but the gist of it is to simply figure out what you need to do, get an idea of how long it takes to do them, when you need to do them, and what you can add or take out of your schedule. Creating a simple schedule or even just using your agenda more will help you become a lot more organized and will make it easier for you to have time to get done what you need to, and remember what needs to be done. Another step you can take is to set a goal for your next grade, or how much you want to improve by so that way you have something to work toward. There are a lot of great resources out there that can help if you ever need to know more about improving your grades and your strategies to get them and one of the best is your school guidance counselors. If you ever need more help in that area, come to them and I’m sure they’ll be able to help you get back on track. Hope this helps! Good Luck!

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