Don't Settle for Lackluster Final Grades
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Don't Settle for Lackluster Final Grades

Students on the cusp of a letter grade increase need these three tips.

Don't Settle for Lackluster Final Grades

The fall term is winding down and your pre-semester aspirations for 4.0 GPA may have dwindled into 3.5 dreams. Those Red Bull fueled all-nighters may not have earned you the A you desperately needed on your midterm paper. You may have bombed the test you kinda- sorta, not really studied for (it was homecoming, no one blames you). Whatever the case may be- it is the eleventh hour and you would love if your 88.8% looked more like a 90%. For students on the cusp of a letter grade increase, these three tips are for you!

1. Know where you stand

In the most literal sense have a clear understanding of all assignments included in your current grade. Know what percent of your grade is contingent on tests, quizzes, and homework assignments. Having this tabulation down to a key will allow you to identify your strong areas, weak areas and most importantly where you need to scrape up those extra points. Focus on the categories most negatively impacting your grade and quickly figure out how to increase your performance (easier said than done, I know).

Stop neglecting the small assignments that merely amount to a small fraction of your grade. Refocusing your efforts on a category worth only 10% or 15% of your final grade may actually earn your desired percent increase. In becoming a mathematician of your current grade, you’ll gain insight in goal setting for future assignments. For example, knowing your desired final grade requires a 91% on the final exam will allow you to fixate your attention to studying the concepts you scored less favorably on during previous test. On the other hand, if your desired final grade requires a 102% on the final, its time to explore other possible areas to aim to increase your performance.

2. Articulate your goals

Knowing where you stand is imperative, especially when discussing your performance with your professors. For example, "I have demonstrated mastery in X concept based on my test average of X, but I seem to be lacking in the quiz category. In the future, what would you recommend?" This statement leaves the floor open for discussion and reminds the professor that you are far more interested in concept mastery than grade leniency (hopefully that is your personal truth, if not it is no one's business).

Subtle follow up by articulating your desired grade. If you have a decent relationship with your professor ask questions like, "What can we do to finish this semester strong?" "What do we need to do to reach this goal?" The use of we makes your individual desperation a unified cause, making your professor more inclined to get involved.

3. Thank you notes

During a semester in which the majority of my grades were just shy of my expectations, I provided each of my professors with thank you notes. This small gesture (along with a semester of hard work) helped me achieve my highest collegiate GPA to date.

You will definitely be a modern day teacher’s pet for this, but there is nothing more powerful than providing your professor with a pleasant afterthought as they submit your final grade. This trick works best if you have had some level of interaction with the professor in question. Kindly thank your professor for an enlightening semester and wish them well for the holidays. The rest is magic.

College is formulaic. Meet hard work with proper communication and you will easily get those last minute points. Good luck!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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