How to Cope With Repeating a Grade

Three Parts:Dealing With the Social ImplicationsDoing Better in SchoolGetting Extra Help

If you've been told that you have to repeat a grade in school, you're probably not very happy about it. Whether you're being held back because you missed a lot of school, because you're struggling with the materials, or for any other reason, it's important to have a good attitude about it if you want to succeed. Get yourself back on the right track by committing yourself to doing your best this time around.

Part 1
Dealing With the Social Implications

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    Don't be too hard on yourself. You may be crushed when you hear that you have to repeat a grade, but it's not the end of the world! Try your best not to feel bad about yourself because of it. If you have a good attitude about it and use it as motivation to do better in school, being held back may actually do you a lot of good.
    • Being held back does not mean that you are stupid or a bad student. It simply means that you need some more time to reach the benchmarks of that specific grade.[1]
    • Remember that your parents and teachers decided to hold you back because they want what's best for you, not because they want to punish you.
    • If you become withdrawn in school because you feel bad about repeating a grade, you're likely to do worse.[2]This is why it's so important to stay positive and motivated.
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    Decide how you will tell people. Eventually you will have to tell your friends that you are being held back. Think about whether you want to tell them in person or by phone or social media. The right decision for you will depend on the relationship you have with your friends.[3]
    • Your classmates may pick on you for having to repeat a grade, but try not to let it bother you. Decide what you will say to negative people ahead of time so it will be easier to keep your composure. Think about saying something like, "I just need some extra time to work on math. It's really no big deal."
    • It may help to approach the subject casually. The less upset you are about it, the less likely people are to give you a hard time about it.
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    Keep in touch with old friends. Just because you're not in class with your old friends anymore does not mean you have to lose touch with them. Make an effort to spend time with close friends outside of school.[4]
    • If you believe your old friends caused you to be held back a grade, it's best to distance yourself from them and spend more time with friends who encourage you to do well in school.
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    Make new friends. Making friends with your new classmates is very important to your overall well-being. It might be tough at first to make new friends, but keep at it! You're more likely to be successful in school and enjoy being there.[5]
    • If you were held back because you were immature for your age, you might actually find that you have more in common with your new classmates.
    • Try joining sports or clubs to spend more time with your classmates outside of the classroom.

Part 2
Doing Better in School

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    Determine why you are repeating the grade. The first step to doing better the second time around is to understand the factors that caused you to be held back in the first place. If you simply did not understand the material, you may just need some more time. If, however, you skipped class, didn't pay attention, or didn't do any of your homework, you will need to make some changes in order to do well this time.
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    Get involved in your educational plan. Your parents and teachers may have an idea about what you need to succeed, but it's important for you to be involved in this conversation as well. Work with your parents and teachers to decide how you will prevent a repeat of the mistakes that caused you to be held back. Your input might encourage your school to make changes to your IEP that will really benefit you.[6]
    • If you feel you would benefit from some accommodations at school, like more time with tests or a little more personal attention, be sure to speak up.
    • Don't blame your teacher, but let your parents know if her teaching style didn't work for you. You shouldn't have to deal with the same approach a second time if you would benefit from something different.[7]
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    Apply Yourself. If you want to do well in school, you need to work hard at it! Be sure to listen to your teacher and understand what is expected of you.[8]
    • Always show up for class and pay attention.
    • Take notes in class.
    • Do your homework on time. It helps to have a designated space for homework and a regular routine for doing it.
    • Develop good study habits.
    • If you don't understand something you read, read it again.
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    Work on your behavior. If the reason you got held back has more to do with behavioral issues than it does with your academic abilities, it's important to work really hard on behaving better at school. Have a discussion with your parents and teachers about the problems you are having and the expectations they have of you.[9]
    • If you can't control your behavior on your own, let your parents and your teachers know how you are feeling. They may be able to offer additional support. You may also benefit from talking to your school counselor.

Part 3
Getting Extra Help

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    Don't wait to speak up. If you find yourself struggling in this grade again, be sure to get help before it's too late. The sooner you do something about it, the easier it will be for you to get caught up and improve your grade.[10]
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    Ask you teacher for help. If you don't understand something in class, the first thing you should do is talk to your teacher about it. If you can, ask questions during class so they will be answered right away.[11]
    • If you feel uncomfortable asking questions during class or if there isn't time to do so, talk to your teacher after class. Make sure she knows that you are trying hard to do your best but you do not understand the material.
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    Consider getting a tutor. If your teacher can't provide you with as much extra help as you need, you might really benefit from one-on-one tutoring. Many school offer tutoring programs after school, so be sure to talk to your teacher or counselor about what is available for you.[12]
    • If your school does not have a tutoring program, your teacher may suggest that you work with another student in the class.
    • Private tutoring is another option, although it can be expensive. Depending on your tutoring needs and your family's budget, you may be able to go to a tutoring center after school or you may be able to have a private tutor come to your house to help you with your work.


  • As unpleasant as being held back may seem, try to look at it as an opportunity to go back and fix the mistakes you have made in the past.
  • Keep in mind that each grade builds on the previous grade. If you haven't yet mastered the material in fourth grade, you won't be ready for fifth grade. Repeating a grade may prevent you from continuing to struggle with new material every year.
  • Forget about what other people might say or think.

Article Info

Categories: Improving And Maintaining Grades