This article was co-authored by Michelle Golden, PhD. Michelle Golden is an English teacher in Athens, Georgia. She received her MA in Language Arts Teacher Education in 2008 and received her PhD in English from Georgia State University in 2015.
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If you're nearing the end of the semester and your grade isn't where you'd like it to be, don't panic! You still have some time to improve your grade before the term ends. Focus your energy on getting the best possible grades on your final exams and projects, handing in all current and late assignments, and completing as much extra credit work as you can.
Method 1Method 1 of 3:Getting Good Grades at the End Download Article
- 1Look at your old work. If you have a final coming up or a paper that's due soon, it's a good idea to take a look back at the work you've already done for the class. This will help you identify your weaknesses, so you can work on improving them.
- If you look back at your old exams and you still don't understand why you got the questions wrong, be sure to consult your book or ask your teacher for a more detailed explanation.
- Consider asking your teacher what she thinks you should do to get a better grade on your next assignment. She may have more advice for you than what she wrote on your last paper.
- 2Improve your study habits before your final exam. If you really want a good grade on your final, you're going to have to commit yourself to studying. Be sure to set enough time to go over all of your material in detail, and don't procrastinate. It may feel difficult right now, but final exams are often worth 15-20% of your final class grade. Study hard now and the payoff will be well worth it.XResearch source
- Start studying well in advance so you don't have to cram and you have plenty of time to take breaks. You will be much less stressed and much better able to learn if you allow yourself to get up and stretch or take a walk every half hour or so.
- Make sure you know what kind of learner you are. Some people learn better from reading and writing (visual learners), while others learn better from listening and speaking (auditory learners). Also, some people benefit from studying with groups, while others do not. If you know which methods work best for you, you will be much more successful.
- Having a dedicated space for studying that is well-organized and free of distractions is very helpful. If you don't have anyplace to study at home, consider staying after school or going to your local library.
- If you have a study hall, use it for studying and completing homework assignments instead of socializing. This extra hour of work can make a big difference in your grades.XResearch source
- 3Understand the grading system. In order to have the best chance getting good grades, it is essential that you understand how you will be graded and how much each assignment is worth. If you have any questions about this, be sure to ask your teacher right away.XResearch source
- Whenever you are working on a project, be sure to understand the rubric that will be used to grade it. This should outline exactly what the teacher is looking for in your work what it will take to get an A. If your teacher didn't give you a rubric, ask for a detailed explanation of how the assignment will be graded.
- It's also important to know what else you can get points for. For example, some teachers offer points for participation, so you may be able to get some extra points simply by raising your hand more in class.
- 4Start working on big projects early. If you have a large project like a research paper to do, don't wait until the last minute to get started. This project will most likely have a huge impact on your final grade, so take your time and make sure you do your best work.
- If your teacher has not broken the project up into smaller steps, consider asking for advice on how to do so. This will help make it feel much more manageable and less overwhelming. For example, you can break the large task of writing a research paper into the smaller tasks of choosing a topic, finding supporting sources, creating an outline, writing a rough draft, and writing a final draft.
- Consider asking your teacher for help along the way. Even if you are not required to hand in a rough draft, ask your teacher to look it over and give you suggestions for how to improve your work.
- If you have trouble managing your time, give yourself due dates for each step. Plan on working on the project for 30-60 minutes each day, depending on how much you have to get done.
- 5Get help if you need it. It's important to get extra help as soon as you feel like you're starting to fall behind, rather than waiting until it's too late. Addressing the issue right away will help ensure that you will understand the material when it comes time to take a test.XResearch source
- If you have questions about anything that was discussed in class, be sure to ask your teacher right away. If you can't ask during class, try to stay after class, show up early, or visit your teacher during a free period.
- If you need more help than your teacher can offer you, get a tutor. Many schools offer free tutoring for their students, so be sure to find out what is available for you. If this is not available or if it doesn't work for you, you can also hire a private tutor to come to your home or visit a tutoring center.
Method 2Method 2 of 3:Completing Your Assignments Download Article
- 1Spend some extra time on your homework. If you have been getting poor grades on homework assignments, it's time to up your game and put a little more effort into them. Even if each assignment is not worth that much, your cumulative grade for homework can be a big chunk of your final grade.XResearch source
- Be sure you understand what you are supposed to do before you leave class. If you have any questions about how to complete the homework assignment, ask your teacher for clarification.
- Always read the directions (or listen to them) and follow them precisely. Don't be lazy and write fewer words than were asked of you or neglect to show your work.
- 2Turn your work in on time. Always write down when each assignment is due and hand it in on time. There's nothing worse than getting points off for handing in an assignment late because you forgot that it was due!XResearch source
- If keeping track of your assignments in a planner or a digital calendar helps keep you organized, then be sure to record all of your homework assignments there.
- Try planning out a specific time to complete each assignment, and be sure to take other obligations into consideration. For example, if you know that you have a basketball game on Thursday and will only have one hour to work on homework, don't put off any assignments until Thursday that can be completed on Wednesday.
- 3Ask about making up missed assignments. If you missed any assignments because you were absent or because you simply didn't do them, ask your teacher if you can hand them in late. While you may only get partial credit for make-up work, it's definitely better than having a zero for that assignment.
- Ask about the possibility of making up in-class assignments that you missed as well as homework. Offer to come to the classroom during lunchtime or a free period to work on them.
- 4Ask to re-do old assignments. Try asking your teacher to revise an essay, re-take a test, or re-do a project that you got a bad grade on. You could suggest that the teacher could replace the grade or average the two grades together. Your teacher may be willing to let you do this if you seem committed to bringing your grade up.
- Try to focus on substantive assignments that have a bigger impact on your overall grade rather than smaller assignments such as homework that may not make as big of a difference.
- 5Prioritize. While you may want to do whatever you can to improve a specific grade, it's important to be smart about it. Do not bring up one grade at the expense of another, whether it's for the same class or another one.
- Focus the majority of your energy on the assignments that will earn you the most points. For example, if your final project is worth 50% of your grade and your homework assignments are worth 10%, spend more time studying for the final than working on your homework. This does not mean you should not do your other work, but simply that you should not spend as much time on it.XResearch source
- Never neglect a current assignment in favor of make-up work unless you are sure that you will earn more points for it.
- Don't neglect your other classes either. You shouldn't end up with a bad grade in one class because you were focusing all of your energy on trying to improve your grade in another. This will have a negative effect on your overall GPA.
Method 3Method 3 of 3:Doing Extra Credit Download Article
- 1Don't be afraid to ask. Just because your teacher has not announced extra credit opportunities, does not necessarily mean that there are none. If you feel you would benefit from extra credit, always ask your teacher what you can do to improve your grade.
- If something is going on in your life that has affected your grades, make sure your teacher knows about it. She may be more willing to work with you if you have a legitimate excuse for falling behind in the first place.XResearch source
- Be sure to communicate that you are genuinely willing to work to improve your grade. Teachers are not likely to change your grade unless you put in a lot of effort.
- Understand ahead of time how much of an effect extra credit can have on your grade. This will vary from class to class, so never expect that you can turn your C into an A by writing one additional essay just because that worked in another class.
- 2See it as a gift. Some teachers offer lots of extra credit opportunities, but some don't offer any at all, so don't expect it. If your teacher does give you the chance to complete extra credit assignments, be thankful for it.
- Do not complain about the amount of work that is required or the number of points you can earn for it. Your teacher didn't have to give you any extra credit opportunities at all.
- Do as much extra credit as you can, as long as it isn't interfering with your other assignments. You should always complete the required assignments for your class before you move on to extra credit.
- 3Commit yourself to it. If you've been given an extra credit assignment, it's up to you to make the most out of it. In order to show your teacher that you really care and get the best grade possible, you need to put your all into your work.
- As with all other assignments, make sure you understand the expectations. Don't be afraid to ask your teacher to explain the requirements if you don't understand them.
- If your teacher gives you the option to choose your extra credit assignment, make it something that you are passionate about. For example, if you have to write a research paper about a controversial issue of your choosing, pick a topic that you find interesting. You will have a much easier time completing the assignment (and you will probably do better work) if you enjoy learning about the topic.
- Always hand your extra credit in on time. Do not disappoint your teachers again by turning in your work late.
- QuestionWhat if I have a C and want to improve it to a B?Community AnswerYou only need a few A+ assignments to bring your overall grade up. Pay attention in class and study for tests.
- QuestionI have one week left in school and I just flunked a math test. I went from a 73 to a 63, what do I do?Community AnswerTalk to your teacher and try to explain (without making excuses) what went wrong, i.e. tell them you didn't understand the material, or you didn't take adequate time to prepare, etc. Be honest! Ask them if there's any way you can retake the test or do an extra credit assignment before the end of the term. If they say no, accept it, but it doesn't hurt to ask. Your teacher wants you to succeed.
- QuestionHow can I bring two bad grades from D and F to a B?Community AnswerTalk to your teacher and see if there are any assignments you might've missed that you could make up or if they offer any extra credit opportunities. Also, do the work you get from now on very well and study hard for tests.
- QuestionWhat if I turn it in, but still get a bad grade?Community AnswerYou can talk to your teacher for clarification, and ask to redo it one more time.
- QuestionHow can I make up ground at the end of the semester?Community AnswerJust study and put lots of thought to your assignments, because sometimes the teacher will see an improvement and sometimes that teacher might bump you up a mark just because of your improvement.
- QuestionWhat if my teacher doesn't like me?Community AnswerYou should try your hardest to let your teacher know that you're working hard and truly doing your best to bring your grade up. Even if they don't like you, they should still want to help you succeed and grow, but you might have to convince them that you're really trying.
- QuestionWhat if the teacher won't let me retake any tests?Community AnswerIf you can't retake tests, all you can do is work extra hard on all of the remaining assignments. You might also ask your teacher if there is anything else you can do to bring your grade up, like extra credit. Be humble, tell her you really regret not doing your best and you hope there's still a way to turn things around.
- QuestionWhat if I haven't been doing well for the first weeks of school? Can I still get an A+ by the end of the year?Community AnswerYou might still be able to get an A+ by the end of the year if you change your work ethic. If you're working and not getting good grades, I suggest creating a schedule, clearing your work space, starting projects early, asking for extra credit, etc. Make sure to sleep well so you can pay attention in class!
- QuestionHow many percentage points do I need to improve each week over the next four weeks to pass all my classes?Community AnswerIt depends on the amount of work that you receive and the grade percentage those assignments represent. Make sure to do all available extra credit. Also, consider making it clear to your teacher that you are doing your best to improve.
- QuestionWhat if I go to a charter school in Boston, and I have two F grades that can hold me back?Community AnswerYou can ask for extra credit, or if your teacher doesn't take extra credit, take more notes, which works best in Math and Science. When you have finals, you are more likley to be prepared for the tests to raise your grade.
- Extra credit is much less likely to be offered in college. If you are in college, it is probably in your best interest to focus on getting the best possible grade on your final exams and papers.
- Stay focused. If you're stressed out, try doing some meditation.
- Be respectful to your teacher and be grateful for any second chances.
- Make improving your grade a priority in your life.
- Try your best to be a good student. Some teachers are more willing to help students who are there almost everyday, not late, turn in their work on time, etc.
About This Article
If you’re near the end of your semester and need to bring up your grade, don’t panic. With a little extra work and attention, you can improve your study skills and nail your final assignments! Look back at your old work to see where you lost marks and where you can focus your efforts going forward. Don’t be afraid to ask your teacher for advice on how to improve. You can also ask them about extra credit opportunities to boost your grade. Before your final assignments or exams, try to streamline your study habits. Space your studying out over a few weeks to improve your efficiency and use different methods to help you remember information. For example, draw a poster or record yourself speaking. While studying for exams and assignments is important, try to spend a little extra time on your homework too, which will help you learn new things you need to know. For more tips from our Teaching co-author, including how to work out the percentage you need to pass from your final assignments, read on!