If you are like many students, you never had to really work in high school. When you got to college you knew it would be different. You studied more for your first round of tests than you ever studied in high school. But the results were disappointing. You began to panic.
Often students who panic will do the wrong thing. Some of the responses to panic include:
- Focusing almost totally on the class where you got the bad grade. As a result, grades in other classes start to suffer and the panic deepens.
- Dropping the class where you got the bad grade. There is always a chance for recovery. If you approach the recovery in the right way, you can bring up your grades.
- Getting in a funk. You start doubting yourself. This leads to missing classes, not doing your work, and the first thing you know, you are hopelessly behind in every class.
There are some proven strategies for dealing with panic situations.
- Put the bad grade in perspective. Let’s suppose that you had a 45/100 points on your first math test. Suppose the math class has 4 tests worth 100 points and a final worth 200 points. Also suppose the math class counts homework as 10% of your final grade. If you get the full credit for the homework, you can still get a B in the math course by averaging a 75% on the remaining tests.
- Talk with your teacher about what you can do to improve your grades. Your teacher might be able to show you what to focus on for the next test.
- Do your own analysis of what went wrong. See the topic Learning From Your Mistakes to see how you can do an analysis of what went wrong.
- See your academic advisor or a mentor to see what he/she recommends. Often you can bring your grades up by just doing some simple things to build discipline.
- If your test anxiety is really bad and no other strategy seems to help, you can sometimes get prescribed anxiety medication. This will help, but should only be taken as a last resort.
It’s easy to say” “Don’t Panic”, but when you are experiencing your first bad grades ever, it’s hard not to panic. Even panicking is a better response than denying that there is a problem..