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Bad Grades in College: 10 Ways to Turn Them Around

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 5.37.55 PMBad grades in college can cause a lot more stress than bad ones in high school. There is more at stake on a number of levels, and the work you’ve done to this point seldom prepares you for the fallout.

If you feel like you’re falling behind, the first thing you should (not) do is panic. Everyone stumbles at some point in their educational journey, and if they don’t, then they’re probably not challenging themselves enough to be successful.

That said, you do have to take action if you feel things slipping. Here are some ways to do just that.

1. Isolate your distractions. 

Distractions are going to come at you fast and furiously, especially if you move away for college. It’s the first time in your life that you have full-blown adult authority over the decisions that you make. You will need to figure out who your friends are, how they help you, how they hurt, and how to prioritize time spent with them versus the time you should be spending with your studies.

2. Complete your homework, even if it’s wrong.

In high school, you may have been able to get away with missing your homework assignments, but in college, it is a different ballgame. Here’s the thing about homework: it doesn’t have to be right. Homework gives you the opportunity to work the kinks out of your understanding on a specific topic. The simple act of doing it, right or wrong, will give you extra practice and win approval from your professors. It will also highlight the areas where you need help. So don’t get caught up thinking you have to figure out all of the right answers while you’re doing it; instead put forth your best effort and try to complete each assignment, right or wrong.

3. Study those past tests.

One of the most valuable things that you can do to eliminate bad grades in college is to hold on to those old tests after you have received the graded versions back from your professors. By going over the answers, you can deepen your understanding on a topic and get a sense of what future tests will be like from a specific instructor. Let all chapter exams make up your end of the year (or semester) study guide, and you should be just fine.

4. Work with the best group, not your best friends.

We realize that your best friends might also be great influences on your studies, but the point here is to not choose study groups by whom you like. Rather, choose the people who are going to bring out the best in you.

5. Use your professor’s office hours.

Your professors set office hours so they can help you overcome the questions or problems you may be having. Don’t feel like you are imposing on them. They want you to seek out there help, and doing so can be the difference between a higher grade or a lower grade if you are on the border. More than that, however, the personalized instruction can’t help but make you a better student.

6. Learn that failure is an option.

One of the great setbacks that students in high school experience, is that teachers and administrators fear failing their pupils. Failure, when removed as a threat, becomes meaningless and saps motivation from the people, who should most fear it. When you get to college, those same rules no longer apply. A professor will not think twice about failing you if you are not putting in the right amount of effort. What’s more, life will fail you if you are not putting in the effort. College students need to learn that failure most definitely is an option. That way, they can do what they need to do before it comes to that.

7. Exercise.

Physical exercise is also important for avoiding bad grades in college, because it helps you stay alert and healthy. You are reaching a point in your life where metabolism will start to slow down. Since many college students are not as physically active as they were in high school, they can start to experience rapid weight gain and muscle loss. These negatives have ill effects on your mind. By setting aside three or four days a week of strenuous exercise time, you can keep both mind and body in shape so that you are best prepared to deal with the academic challenges ahead.

8. Moderation, moderation, moderation. 

It is extremely likely that you will take part in questionable activities as you get older and move further along in your collegiate journey. Whether that means alcohol consumption, overeating, or any number of perceived vices, you can avoid much of the repercussions by simply committing to moderation in all things.

9. Find your happy study place.

Where you choose to study absolutely matters when it comes to reaching full understanding of your academic challenges. While you may think that studying to loud music or a blaring television worked in high school, you have to keep in mind that college is about facing real challenges without the safety net. That means getting serious about your work and how you go about carrying it out. Choose somewhere secluded, quiet, and comfortable. If you do require audio stimuli, stick with music that does not have lyrics and has a smooth or mellow instrumental accompaniment. Jazz and classical are highly recommended for any activities that require brainpower.

10. Make time to live your life.

It may seem counterproductive if avoiding or correcting bad grades in college is your goal, but you do need to set aside time to live life and have fun. The experiences that you amass are just as important as the knowledge that you acquire. So make time for fun, but remember as we have said above, moderation, moderation, moderation!

In Summary

Conquering bad grades in college may take extra effort and energy on your part, but it can also be the ticket to the life you have dreamed of. What are some tips that you can share to help your fellow classmates who may be struggling with this very problem? Sound off in the comments section below.

[Image via Pretends]



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's work appears regularly here at 4tests.com and across the web for sites, such as The Inquisitr and Life'd. A former high school teacher, his passion for education has only intensified since leaving the classroom. At 4tests, he hopes to continue passing along words of encouragement and study tips to ensure you leave school ready to face an ever-changing world.

Website: http://aricmitchell.blogspot.com/

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