How to Handle Skipping a Grade

Three Methods:Making Sure You Are PreparedFitting In With Your PeersCoping with Increased Stress

Skipping a grade shows that you are intelligent, but it also poses new challenges and can cause a great deal of stress. You will have to adjust to tougher classes, make new friends, and deal with more pressure. You can make the adjustment easier if you are prepared, know how to fit in with your new classmates, and can handle the increased stress.

Method 1
Making Sure You Are Prepared

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    Consider your feelings about skipping a grade. If you are the student who will be skipping a grade, you need to carefully examine the advantages and disadvantages of moving up a grade since you will be the one most affected. If it’s not something that you are comfortable with or happy about, this will make the process more difficult.[1]
    • Try to think about how this decision might impact you in the future. For example, if you are interested in participating in sports, being younger than other students might make it harder to compete on the same level. If you skip a grade, will you be driving later than other students? How would that make you feel?
    • Don’t let others make the decision for you. Instead, take an active role in your education and share your concerns and feelings about skipping a grade with your parents or school officials.
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    Think about how you handle challenges. Skipping a grade can cause intellectual, emotional, and physical challenges that you will need to be able to deal with. If you are worried about receiving perfect grades and get frustrated quickly, skipping a grade might not be the best choice for you.[2]
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    Make sure your parents are supportive. To be successful in your new grade, you’ll need the support of your parents. They know you better than anyone else and want you to be ready to advance a grade. [3]
    • They can also help you think about some of the social and academic challenges that might occur when skipping a grade.
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    Ask for your teachers’ or guidance counselors’ advice. Your teachers and guidance counselors have a great deal of experience working with and evaluating students, and they can help you determine whether you are ready to skip a grade. Ask for their advice on how to handle the change.[4]
    • They will probably appreciate that you respect their opinion, and might offer valuable advice on how best to handle skipping a grade.
    • It’s also possible that your teachers or guidance counselors will know your new teacher, and they can introduce you or help you adjust to your new situation.
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    Be tested for skill gaps. Although some tests might indicate you are more than prepared to skip a grade, it’s a good idea to find out what you will be learning and work with your guidance counselors or a private tutor to make sure you are prepared to tackle the advanced classes. If there’s anything you need help with, ask your parents and school what you can do to catch up and be as ready as possible.[5]
    • For example, should you have a specific skill such as typing before skipping a grade? If so, arrange to take a typing class or work with a private tutor who can make sure you are prepared when you skip a grade.
    • This will help you feel more confident about skipping a grade and entering a class with students who are older.
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    Explore all your options. Learning about all the options available will help you make the best decision for your situation. Skipping a grade is not necessarily the only choice available to advanced students. Consider or ask about these potential options or programs:[6]
    • Is it possible for you to take some advanced classes with older students or receive individual tutoring while still remaining in your current grade?
    • Can you participate in a summer program or distance-learning program offered by a university in your area? Duke, Johns Hopkins, Carnegie Mellon, Northwestern, and other universities offer specific programs designed to help identify and support gifted students.
    • Would an independent study project or competition such as the science fair or math team help meet your intellectual needs without requiring you to skip a grade?
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    Request a trial period. Skipping a grade can be hard, and it isn’t for everyone. So that you can test out what it is like to skip a grade without feeling as much pressure, ask your school or guidance counselors to give you a trial period.[7]
    • Knowing that you can easily switch back might help you feel more comfortable in the beginning.
    • If you decide this isn’t working out the way you hoped or you are unhappy, don’t feel ashamed or that you have failed. Admitting that you might be out of your depth and overwhelmed demonstrates maturity.
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    Expect an adjustment period. Adjusting to skipping a grade won’t happen overnight, so don’t be hard on yourself and expect it to occur right away. Give yourself, your parents, and your new teachers and classmates time to adjust to the situation.[8]

Method 2
Fitting In With Your Peers

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    Know that you don’t need to have all the answers. Before skipping a grade, you might have felt like the work in your classes was too easy and you knew every answer. Now, you're probably in more advanced classes, and you should not expect to find everything as simple as you did previously.[9][10]
    • Don’t be uncomfortable with the fact that you don’t know it all. Part of the reason you skipped a grade was to be intellectually challenged, and if you already knew everything the classes would be pretty boring.
    • There’s also no shame in being wrong if you struggle with an assignment or answer a question incorrectly. Instead of feeling bad about being wrong or doing poorly on a test, try to understand how you can improve.
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    Don’t claim that you are smarter than other people. Although the fact that you are skipping a grade definitely indicates you are smart, it does not necessarily mean you are smarter than the students in your new class. This sort of behavior won’t earn you any friends.[11]
    • Someone who is smart does not have to tell people how gifted they are. Instead of bragging about your abilities, let your work and efforts speak for themselves.
    • Think about how you would feel if someone told you that they were smarter or intellectually superior.
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    Demonstrate maturity. Acting emotionally immature or juvenile will not help you fit in better with the students around you, and could make it difficult to adjust to your new situation. Treat others with respect so that they will also treat you with respect.[12]
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    Stay in touch with your former classmates. Although you might be skipping a grade, it’s important to maintain connections with your old friends. It might take some time to make friends in your new grade level, and having a support network of friends will make things easier.
    • If you no longer see your friends during school, set up after-school or weekend activities.
    • Your old classmates will probably be excited to have a friend in a higher grade level.
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    Ask for help if you need it. While you might not have needed to ask teachers, guidance counselors, classmates, or your parents for help before you skipped a grade, asking for help when you need it will help you stay on track.[13]
    • It might be hard to admit that you need help, but it’s better than feeling stressed out, behind, or like you don’t understand something.
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    Find fun things to do outside of school. Participating in activities outside of school will help you feel more comfortable and self confident. You’ll also meet and connect with people who share similar interests.[14]
    • If you took dance classes or music lessons before skipping a grade and enjoy these activities, keep participating in them even when you switch classes. If you find that you don’t have time for these activities anymore, talk with your parents about how you might be able to adjust your schedule or find new things to do.
    • If you are worried about being bullied because of your size when you switch a grade, consider taking a self-defense class or participating in a gym class or sports activity. You’ll feel more confident and powerful.

Method 3
Coping with Increased Stress

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    Take breaks from your stressful schoolwork. If you feel overwhelmed by the schoolwork in your new grade, it can help to take frequent breaks. You’ll find yourself less stressed out and better able to focus when you return.[15]
    • Research shows that your brain keeps working on problems even when you take breaks, which should make the work easier when you come back to it.
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    Deal with the stressful situation. The best way to cope with a stressful situation is to identify the source of your stress and take steps to deal with it.[16]
    • This might involve completing a project that you’ve avoided, talking with your parents about your workload, asking a teacher for help, or meeting with a guidance counselor about a problem with another student in your class.
    • If you’re not sure how to deal with a stressful situation, ask a friend or family member to listen and offer advice.
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    Change your outlook. You might not be able to eliminate every source of stress, but you can change the way you react to or think about stress.[17]
    • While an assignment or test might seem very important, keep in mind that it is only one small part of your school career and not a reflection on you as a person.
    • Try to identify something positive about the stressful experience. For example, learning about something new can be scary, but also interesting.
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    Have a good sense of humor. Maintaining a good sense of humor in the face of stressful situations that might occur while skipping a grade will help you feel more in control and less stressed.[18]
    • For example, it can feel really stressful to get an answer wrong in class. Being willing to laugh at your own mistake will help you feel better and make it easier to meet new friends. People like someone who is willing to laugh at themselves.
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    Get organized. Skipping a grade might make you feel like you are under a lot of pressure, but time-management and organization skills will help you feel more in control. They will also save you a lot of time and energy.[19]
    • Consider purchasing a planner or calendar so you can keep track of due dates and make study plans.
    • Keep a to-do list of daily homework assignments.
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    Find something fun to do. The schoolwork related to skipping a grade can be stressful, but participating in fun activities will give you something to look forward to and keep you going.[20]
    • Try planning an activity with the friends you had before you skipped a grade.
    • Join a club, sports team, or after-school activity so you can meet new people while you have fun.
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    Be healthy. Physical activity, eating right, and getting enough sleep will help you deal with the stress of skipping a grade.[21]
    • Research shows that a healthy lifestyle reduces stress and improves your mood.
    • You might feel like you need to stay up all night to complete your schoolwork, but this will make it harder to finish the next day’s work and deal with the stresses of skipping a grade. If you're having trouble keeping up in class, talk with your parents and teachers.
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    Be patient. Things might be stressful right now, but they will get better. You will adapt to the workload, meet new friends, and get used to your new schedule.
    • If it has been awhile, and things don’t seem to be improving, talk with your parents or teacher about your situation.


  • Expect an adjustment period when skipping a grade. Your presence in a new class is a change for you, your teacher, and your classmates.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask your parents, teachers, friends, or classmates for help.
  • Avoid bragging about skipping a grade or how smart you are. Your classmates might react poorly to your comments.
  • Know that skipping a grade in adolescence years may be stressful, so think about it thoroughly before making your decision.

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Categories: Improving And Maintaining Grades