How To Deal With Bad Grades I Oxford Open Learning
Bad Grades

How To Deal With Bad Grades


Bad grades can be the bane of the hardworking pupil. Sometimes, they materialise as if from nowhere, despite you putting in all the hours to clinch yourself a result you can be proud of.

Pupils have had a rough time of it for a while now when it comes to grades, and if you’re among them, it’s important to know you’re not alone. Everyone has a few bumps in the road when it comes to their education, and the classmates of yours who look like they have everything figured out could simply be saving face these days. No one finds school a breeze, even if they claim otherwise.

So, how can you deal with a bad grade? Well, with the right perspective, it may be that you can turn things around sooner than you might think. Keep reading for tips that could help you!

Embrace Failure

Receiving a mark below your target can be an incredibly demoralising ordeal. Sometimes, the frustration can stem from the fact that the result can’t possibly make sense. You put the work in, so what happened?

Well, on rare occasions these matters can sometimes come down to bad luck, plain and simple. Perhaps problems in your personal life were a distracting presence when it came time to sit down and get to work? It could be that the material that was ‘unlikely to show up in the exam’ actually showed up, but you didn’t revise for it as much as other potential topics. Or it might just be that today wasn’t your day.

When it comes to bad grades, it’s important to embrace the disappointment at first and let all those negative feelings wash over you. Don’t suppress them. Perhaps you may have enough on your plate already, so a good cry or some time out could be a great thing to just help work through those feelings and expel that energy from your system. Disappointment means that you care, and that’s positive in itself, as it can also be the spark that lights the fuse of all your further motivation to succeed.

Remember, success doesn’t taste anywhere near as sweet without some failure sprinkled in somewhere. Sift through the debris of your emotions, then build yourself back up again.

Consult Your Teachers After Bad Grades

Your teachers aren’t just adults in suits who like to boss a bunch of kids around. They’re also incredibly useful guides in education and life in general. They’re your own Master Yoda, Gandalf, or Albus Dumbledore, depending on what fiction resonates most with you…

As they’re fountains of knowledge, it’s integral that you consult with your teacher as to what could have gone wrong. By now they likely know your strengths and weaknesses in your learning, or it might be that they have an insight on the trickery of the test you took. They should at least have some answers, and to turn things around here, it’s obviously answers that you need!

Ask them for a chat after class, school, or send them an email so that you can have a written record of all their advice that they share from their reply. Clue your parents in on matters too, if you think that might help, and they may be able to jog your memory during your resit revision sessions. In the end, it’s important to remember that you have a committed support network around you, and it would be a shame to waste it.

Look At Your Positive Feedback

Contrary to popular belief, one exam result, good or bad, is not representative of your entire academic education or sense of self-worth. You have sat many tests up to that one moment, and no doubt handed in things like great coursework or brilliant homework. They all matter, and they’re all achievements.

When you’ve experienced bad grades, refer to your previous successes. Positive teacher comments, awards you may have won, or even just work you’re personally proud of can all give you a bit of a morale boost. So what if things didn’t go right this time? Look back, and you should see a pattern of all your positive achievements that count for a lot more than a single bad grade.

Failure can make you feel worthless, and in those moments it’s important to get back in touch with the things that prove otherwise. Even if your bad grade is in Science and your strength is in sport, you’ll still have something you can hold onto and be proud of. That’s completely valid!

Attack The Resits

The most important learning opportunities come from life, and not necessarily the classroom alone. Something like failure can teach you that life is sometimes working against you, and it’s down to you to bend it to your will. Once you have that in mind, you might just feel emboldened to push on.

Dust yourself down and get back into the learning spirit as soon as you feel poised to do so. You can take any important exam as many times as you need to whether you’re sixteen or sixty, so even if you fail again, again, and again, sooner or later success will rear its head your way if you keep attacking the resits with everything you’ve got. You’re never down and out unless you choose to be, and you shouldn’t!

You get to decide what your future is, and success comes in many forms. Additionally, there’s always alternate paths you can take that will lead you to the same destination. You might have missed out on your university place this year, but who’s to say that you can’t take it up next year? Maybe a different university would have been a better fit for you all along?

The credits on your life don’t roll when you fail once, twice, or twenty times – in fact, failure is just the beginning of the long and wonderful journey that is life. Resit to your heart’s content, and eventually, you will be exactly where you want to be.

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I'm a freelance copywriter with an undergraduate degree in English Literature. I've written for many different outlets, including but not limited to marketing agencies, graduate recruitment websites, and online training companies. I've even interviewed a few famous actors for student and arts blogs too! Covering a wide span of material has been incredibly rewarding, as I get to turn my experiences in the arts, education and careers into helpful advice. I sincerely hope you'll find something to your liking here!