The first round of tests in college can be a real shock. Students who are used to getting mostly A’s in classes are getting failing grades. There’s a tendency to panic and maybe even give up. One test grade doesn’t doom you if you develop the right strategy for overcoming the bad grade. Here’s how to do that.
- Determine the impact of the test on your final grade in the class. Let’s suppose that each grade in the class is worth 10% of your final grade. If you received a 55% on the first test, that means you have lost 4.5 points on the eventual final grade of 100 points. When you do this calculation, you’ll see that you can still get a good grade in the class.
- Look in the syllabus to see if there are bonus points in the class. Maybe you can use these to make up some of the points you lost.
- Look in the syllabus to see if there is a retake possibility for an exam or a substitution possibility. These are other options for overcoming a bad test grade.
- Compare your grade to the class average. If your grade was about the same as the class average, you may not be as bad off as you originally thought. Although the teacher says there’s no curve, generally there’s some accommodation made if the overall class average is bad.
The above suggestions focus on how to recover points you lost on the first test. But you’re obviously doing something wrong. The next set of suggestions will concern what you need to do to avoid another bad grade. None of the above suggestions work if you get another bad grade.
- Start studying earlier. You can’t do what you did in high school. Most college classes need about a week for test preparation. See the Topic: Studying for a Test
- Do a post test audit. You really need to know what you did wrong and how to change this. See the Topic: Doing a Post Test Audit.
- Learn more effectively in class. See the topics under the section heading of “Being an Efficient Learner.”
One bad test grade can be explained by the transition challenge to college, but a bad second test grade is generally the result of failing to accept what it takes to do well in class..