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😫😙😗 It’s always upsetting to receive a grade that’s lower than what you hoped for, but it’s important to not let it get you down. If you deal with a bad grade in the right way, you can learn from your mistakes to become a better student—and person.

Part 1
Part 1 of 3:
Coming to Terms with Your Bad Grade

  1. 1
    Don’t be too hard on yourself. Receiving a bad grade isn’t the end of the world. Don’t think one bad grade represents your overall worth as a student. The very fact that you are concerned shows that you are motivated and have high expectations for yourself.
    • Avoid punishing yourself for receiving a bad grade. Try to learn from your mistakes and strive to do better in the future.
    • Remember that a "C" is usually considered average, a "B" above average, and an "A" exemplary.[1] Putting it into perspective, maybe your grade isn’t as bad as you thought.
  2. 2
    Take some time to process your reaction. You may feel anxious, frustrated, or even confused. It’s okay to be upset. Let it out. Suppressing your emotions will only make you feel worse down the line.[2]
    • Venting to a friend, family member, or classmate can help you cope with the bad grade and move on.
  3. 3
    Put some distance between you and the grade for a while. Dwelling on it further while in a heightened emotional state will just make the problem seem worse than it is.[3] Try to do something that takes your mind off of it.
    • Exercising, talking with friends, listening to music, or doing fun things you enjoy are all healthy ways to relieve anxiety.[4]
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Part 2
Part 2 of 3:
Figuring out What Went Wrong

  1. 1
    Look for patterns of error. Finding a pattern in your mistakes is a good way to isolate and overcome your problem areas on your own.[5]
    • Was there a subject, like math or English, that you didn't do well on? If so, study more frequently in those areas.
    • Was there a group of related test questions you missed? If so, try to categorize them and figure out what subject you could study harder in.
    • Did you continually show up to class late? If so, try to be more punctual.
  2. 2
    Ask your teacher for detailed feedback. They know your strengths and weaknesses, so don't be afraid to ask for help.[6]
    • Instead of asking, "why did I get a bad grade," ask, "how can I restructure my answers in a way that would earn me a better grade?"[7]
  3. 3
    Seek advice from classmates. Ask others if they’re willing to share the grade they received. If they all received similar grades, maybe the problem is with the material and not you. If they did better than you, ask them what kind of strategies they think led to higher grades.
    • Sometimes teachers curve the grades in a class in which many students are struggling. If a lot of students did poorly, a low grade won’t be as detrimental as you thought, and you can rest easier knowing that.[8]
  4. 4
    Reflect on your study habits. Try to be fair and objective while you self-reflect. Take some time to think about how, and how much, you studied or prepared for the assignment. If you didn’t study or if you procrastinated, this could have contributed to the bad grade. Aim to improve your study habits in the future if this was the case.
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Part 3
Part 3 of 3:
Planning Effectively for the Future

  1. 1
    Commit to your goals for improvement. Once you've recognized areas where you need to improve, you can take the steps to do so. Make positive changes in your life where necessary:
    • Write out a study schedule and follow it routinely. Consider other activities and obligations you have and allow for plenty of time to complete each assignment. A regular schedule can significantly reduce anxiety and improve performance.[9] Just be sure to avoid procrastination.
    • Get more sleep. The amount of sleep you get heavily affects your mood and ability to absorb and retain information.[10]
    • Eliminate distractions. Prioritize the things that matter most.
  2. 2
    Seek extra credit opportunities to make up lost points. Oftentimes, teachers just want to see that you’re willing to put effort into your work. Ask if they’d be willing to let you improve your grade by completing extra assignments.[11] If you can’t change your grade, maybe you can supplement it.
    • It’s a good idea to calculate your grade and figure out what scores you’ll need on the remaining assignments and exams to achieve the final grade you desire in the course.
  3. 3
    Be mindful of helpful resources at your disposal. Tutoring centers, teacher office hours, and study groups all exist to help you succeed.[12] Consider restructuring your future study habits by incorporating some of these resources into your routine.
  4. 4
    Move on. While you may not be able to change the grade you’ve received, you can take the necessary steps to improve. Try to consider it a learning experience. Forgive yourself for your mistakes, and focus on working hard so you do better next time.[13] One bad grade isn’t going to determine your future, and it isn’t going to define your aptitude as a student either.
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Community Q&A
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  • Question
    I feel like every time I study, I get a worse grade. What should I do to improve?
    Alexander Peterman, MA
    Test Prep Tutor
    Alexander Peterman is a Private Tutor in Florida. He received his MA in Education from the University of Florida in 2017.
    Test Prep Tutor
    Expert Answer

    😫😙😗 Support wikiHow by unlocking this expert answer.

    Hi there. This may be because the material is getting more difficult, and you may not be studying correctly -- at least not for you. Try speaking with your teacher and reviewing your study habits to see how you can change your approach.
  • Question
    How do I make sure my teacher knows that I am better than this one bad grade?
    Community Answer
    Tell and show them. Ask about make-ups or extra credit and study harder for the next exam. Look at where you went wrong to get your bad grade and ask him/her for help in that area. You'll prove that you are better by putting in the hard work.
  • Question
    Does getting a bad grade twice mean you are a bad student?
    Top Answerer
    Not at all! Everyone gets bad grades; even that 'smart' kid in class gets a bad grade.
  • Question
    I feel like I've just been doing badly in school lately. Am I becoming dumber or something?
    Community Answer
    No, you're not becoming dumber. You may have been slacking off in your studies or losing focus, or perhaps you're pushing yourself too hard and are stressed and overtired. Evaluate what's going on with you and make the necessary changes.
  • Question
    I always panic during a quiz because I don't know how to do a question what are some ways to fix that?
    Community Answer
    Do your best and take your time. Also, skip over the question that is hard and answer the other questions. Then come back to the hard question(s). Don't panic, it's a waste of energy and reveals that you're overly focused on the future rather than being in the present and respecting yourself.
  • Question
    I got a bad grade, it'll come in Friday. Should I tell them now or on Friday when I get it?
    Community Answer
    The sooner the better. You get it out of the way and you can get on with studying harder to improve next time. Leaving it will just make you feel more and more anxious and can cause your parents to wonder why you didn't tell them any earlier.
  • Question
    How can you deal with parents when they find out about your bad grade?
    Community Answer
    Try to keep them calm and don't confront them until you can tell that they feel like talking about the situation calmly. As you tell them, do not get mouthy -- be humble and penitent.
  • Question
    How do I feel better when I get a bad grade?
    Top Answerer
    First, remember that you are worth more than just one grade. There are many great things about you that have nothing to do with your grades, and just getting one bad grade doesn't mean you're doomed to fail. Then, try making a list of how you can try to avoid getting bad grades in the future, like studying hard, reviewing material before tests, and checking in with your teachers regularly to track your progress.
  • Question
    Why do I do so well in math class but then perform badly on tests?
    Community Answer
    Are you doing the full working out in class or just copying down the teacher's working out or relying on friends? Do you study enough? Don't leave test preparation until the night before an exam or quiz. It's best to start studying for these things at least a week in advance, and for finals, a month in advance.
  • Question
    I got a bad grade on a test. I am in an advanced class, but I do not want my teacher to think that I should not be in that class. What should I do?
    Community Answer
    Most likely one bad grade is not going to cause your teacher to rethink your placement in that class. Everyone gets bad grades sometimes. You might consider just having a quick chat with your teacher before or after class about this. Say something like, "I know I got a bad grade on this week's test, but that grade didn't accurately reflect my abilities. I'll be working harder in the future, so it shouldn't happen again."
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      About This Article

      Co-authored by:
      Academic & School Counselor
      This article was co-authored by Ashley Pritchard, MA. Ashley Pritchard is an Academic and School Counselor at Delaware Valley Regional High School in Frenchtown, New Jersey. Ashley has over 3 years of high school, college, and career counseling experience. She has an MA in School Counseling with a specialization in Mental Health from Caldwell University and is certified as an Independent Education Consultant through the University of California, Irvine. This article has been viewed 796,604 times.
      80 votes - 76%
      Co-authors: 139
      Updated: February 15, 2022
      Views: 796,604
      Article SummaryX

      The best way to handle a bad grade is to look for a pattern behind your mistakes, like a certain subject you did poorly on or a style of question you struggled to answer correctly. Ask your teacher for more detailed feedback and ask your classmates for studying strategies that you might be able to try. Write out goals for improvement so you have them in mind, and avoid procrastination and distractions while you study. For more advice, including how to cope with a bad grade, read on!

      Did this summary help you?
      Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 796,604 times.

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