How to Deal with a Failing Grade...

How to Deal with a Failing Grade (French version available)

by Meghan Brown
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

No one is perfect, especially when it comes to school; after all, we’re all still learning.  Part of the learning process means that you might not completely understand everything you’re taught the very first time.  Practice is necessary, which is why we do homework, group projects, in-class assignments, and tests.  These are all ways to learn, understand, and apply the things we’re taught.

Because these are part of the learning process, it means that sometimes, you might get a failing grade.

What a bad grade doesn’t mean is that you’re a bad student, can’t be taught, or shouldn’t be trying to learn a certain subject.

Getting a bad grade can be disappointing and discouraging, and you’re allowed to be upset.  However, it’s important to not let being upset make it harder for you to keep trying to learn and understand.

There are a few key things to keep in mind when you’re dealing with a bad grade.

Try and Keep Calm While Your Process the Grade

Being upset is okay, but try not to let these feelings overwhelm you or become a storm of anger and frustration.  Everyone gets a bad grade at some point in their education; it’s not the end of the world.  Take some time away from thinking about your grades to help yourself calm down.  You can spend time with friends and family, enjoy a hobby, do some physical activity, or simply focus on something that isn’t school.

Talking about the grade and your upset feelings can also help.  Find a friend, teacher, or family member you trust and share how you’re feeling.  Chances are good that they will be able to help you understand and deal with the situation.

Ask Your Teacher for Feedback

Your teacher’s job is to help you learn, and they don’t give out bad grades to be mean.  They are simply showing you what you still need to learn.  When you get a bad grade, talk to your teacher and ask them to show you where you made mistakes, and how to fix these mistakes.  Sometimes all you need is a bit of an explanation, or seeing a different way to work through a problem, in order to understand.

Your teacher will also be able to point you toward resources that will help you learn, such as study guides, online resources, and practice questions or practice tests.  They may also be able to offer a make-up assignment or test that you can complete in order to get a better grade.

Find New Study Strategies

Not every student is equally good at all subjects, but because of the way a classroom is structured, usually the teacher spends most of their time teaching everyone the same way.  Everyone learns slightly differently, and if you get a bad grade, it might simply be that you need to find a new way of studying the material that works better for you.

This could be as simple as spending more time studying and doing practice questions for subjects you have trouble with, asking your teacher to explain it a different way, or studying with a friend and helping each other learn the material.

Or, it could be as intensive as finding a tutor, or seeking out hands-on extra-curricular programs that can help you learn.  Your teachers, guidance counsellors, family members, and local libraries are all good resources to speak with when you are looking for new ways to study a subject.

The most important thing to remember is that sometimes a bad grade is just part of the learning process.  All it means is that you still have some learning to do.



Dolin, Ann. “How To Handle Bad Grades: A Practical Guide For Parents.” Educational Connections. https://ectutoring.com/bad-grades.

Ekkanath, Shivani. “6 Smart Tips for Dealing With a Bad Grade.” CollegeXpress. https://www.collegexpress.com/articles-and-advice/majors-and-academics/blog/6-tips-dealing-bad-grade/.

Pritchard, Ashley. “How to Deal With a Bad Grade.” WikiHow. https://www.wikihow.com/Deal-With-a-Bad-Grade.

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