Even the brightest and sharpest of students can sometimes find themselves underperforming. Often, it’s due to the student getting stuck in a rut with their studies and progressand being unsure of what to do next in order to move forward. If you’re usually a straight-A student but have recently noticed a drop in your grades but aren’t sure what to do, the first step is to work out the possible reasons why you may be underperforming, and then work out how to tackle the problem. Here are some of the best things to do if you’ve noticed your grades declining and want to improve them.
#1. Adopt a Positive Mental Attitude:
First of all, the way that you approach your studies and improving your grades can make a huge difference to the result. Try not to be too disheartened by any grades that were lower than expected. It’s only human to react by being disappointed with yourself, but don’t let yourself feel defeated because of it. Instead, try and put a positive take on things and use your less-than-expected grades to work out what you could have done better, and turn the experience into a learning curve for yourself.
#2. Work Out When You’re Getting Behind:
Before you can put together a workable plan of action, you’ll need to work out which areas you are falling behind on so that you have a target in mind. It’s a good idea, at this point, to speak with a teacher or lecturer and go through your recent work so that they can help you with any areas that they think need to be worked on the most. If your work is graded with comments, now is a good time to thoroughly go through the feedback that you have received from assignments and exams, so that you have a clearer idea of what you are doing well and what needs further work.
Ask yourself some questions about your recent performance, too – have your grades been consistently lower than you would like them to be, or are there certain subjects that tend to suffer more than others? It can be a good idea to take a look here at all your grades from the past few months to see if you find any patterns. That will help you get a better idea of what to focus on first.
#3. Ask Questions in Class:
You may be listening and taking notes in lectures and seminars, but don’t be afraid to go one step further and be the student who puts their hand up to ask questions. If you’re not sure about something, don’t let it go and hope that you will figure it out later. Your professor will always be happy to explain something differently or go into further detail for any students who ask for extra clarification. In addition, asking questions in class can spark healthy discussions and debates amongst students, which can be great for getting different perspectives on a particular subject or topic.
#4. Get Organized:
Clutter of any kind can seriously get in the way of our ability to perform and operate efficiently. So whether you are feeling mentally or physically cluttered at the moment, taking some time to make some space and get organized can be immensely helpful.
Let’s start with physical clutter. If your desk is full of papers or you’re struggling to keep on top of things in your room, then taking some time to tidy up and clean can be a great start to getting back on top of your studies and academic performance. A neat, tidy, and clean environment has fewer distractions and enables you to think clearly, and if you’re currently trying to work among piles of books, papers, clothes and more, you’ll notice a massive difference straight away.
On the other hand, you can have a tidy environment but if you’re trying to do too much at once, this can lead to a lot of mental clutter. Go through your appointments and commitments and see if there is anything that you can leave out. For example, if you have a hobby that you do several times a week or a part-time job, it could be worth considering cutting down your shifts or spending less time on your hobby for now, to free up time to work on your academic priorities.
#5. Improve Your Note-Taking Skills:
Have you ever tried to read back through your notes in a lecture, only to find that you don’t understand them at all? Not taking good enough notes is a common reason for underperformance at school or college, so taking some time to boost your note taking skills will certainly pay off. If you can, take notes using a laptop instead of by hand, as hurriedly scrawled notes from a lecture can be difficult to make sense of when you try and read through them later. You may also want to consider recording your lecture – get permission from your professor first; most don’t mind, and many encourage it – as this gives you something that you can listen back to later rather than simply relying on rushed notes.
#6. Use Essay Writing Tools:
Whatever subject you are studying, chances are that essays and written assignments make up a large part of your grade. Insufficient essay writing skills can certainly bring your grades down, even if you have a solid understanding of the topic that you are writing about. The good news is that there are plenty of things that you can do to improve your essay writing technique, and many tools available to help you get better at it. For example, this essay checker tool will automatically help you find spelling and grammar mistakes and gives automated feedback as you write, to help you get a better result. You can also find several handy online tools to help you with essay referencing of books, journal articles, websites, and more – another area that can easily be improved to help you get better results on essay-based assignments.
#7. Know Your Learning Style:
The reason that you are falling behind with your studies and grades could well be that you are trying to learn using a style that just isn’t for you. People vary when it comes to how they learn best; for example, some students prefer to read information, others will retain it better by writing it down or typing it out, and others learn best when they hear it. Some people work better on their own, whilst others prefer to study with a friend or within a group who can motivate them and share ideas. It’s a good idea to consider your past work and look at when things have gone well. When you’ve obtained a high grade, did you do anything differently? Do you feel that you take information in better when it is given to you in a certain way, compared to others?
#8. Give Yourself Time:
Rushing to revise for an exam or get an essay written at the last minute can often be a recipe for disaster. The best way to make sure that you are giving yourself the best chance at getting great grades is to give yourself plenty of time to prepare and revise. In fact, you could even start working on assignments from the moment that they are assigned; this way, you can write as you learn and pick up more information from the relevant classes and lectures. If you have practice exams, treat them just as seriously as you would do if they were a real one. This will give you a better idea of how you can expect to perform in the real thing and make it easier for you to determine which areas need to be focussed on during revision sessions.
#9. Consider a Private Tutor:
Last but not least, if you are still struggling to improve your grades on your own, you may want to consider hiring a private tutor to offer additional support and guidance. The good news is that you don’t always need to hire a qualified teacher or professor; often, students can benefit from the help of older students who’ve completed more of the program, or you can often find online tutors who can help you via webchat and video chat, at a much cheaper price than hiring somebody to come and help you in person. Alternatively, many schools and colleges offer extra-curricular classes, study support groups, and even summer schools that you may wish to think about joining in with in order to get the additional support that you need without a hefty price tag. Don’t forget about the power of the internet, either – a study group on social media or a school forum can be a great place to ask for help, get advice, and share ideas. Noticing your grades drop can be stressful for any students, but there are many great strategies to help you get back to the top of your game. ne(d.reso