How to Improve Grades Near the End of the Semester

Three Parts:Meeting With Your ProfessorDeveloping Better Study HabitsPutting In the Work

Whether you've missed a lot of classes, neglected to turn in assignments, or bombed a lot of tests/quizzes, you may reach a point where you realize you need to turn your grade around. For many students, this tends to come near the end of the semester. While you may be stressing and fretting over your current grade, there's a good chance you may not have to settle for that grade. Talk to your professor and work hard for the remainder of the semester and your efforts might pay off.

Part 1
Meeting With Your Professor

  1. Image titled Improve Grades Near the End of the Semester Step 1
    Set up a meeting. If you're doing poorly in a class, the first thing you should do is reach out to your professor. Let her know that you're struggling and that you take her class seriously, and see if she's available to talk about your grade and possible studying strategies to turn it around.[1]
    • Remember that your professor may be going out of her way to meet with you outside of class. Be appreciative and show respect.
    • Meet when it's convenient for your professor. The only prior obligations that should be a factor in your schedule are work or attending other classes.
  2. Image titled Improve Grades Near the End of the Semester Step 2
    Be respectful and courteous. Whether your professor meets with you or not, you should show her a great deal of respect. Teachers do great work and it's often very difficult. Plus, if you badmouth your professor, she may decide not to help you after all.[2]
    • Never accuse your instructor of being "unfair" or of singling you out. Your professors want you to succeed, so don't start a fight.
    • Being rude or impolite with your professor will only upset her, and may make her less willing to help you turn your grade around.
  3. Image titled Improve Grades Near the End of the Semester Step 3
    Review your old tests/quizzes/assignments. When you meet with your professor, bring any old course materials with you. Your professor will be able to help you go over the tests, quizzes, and assignments you did poorly on and find ways to improve your grade going forward.[3]
    • Ask your professor what you could have done differently for short answers, essays, and papers. Multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank questions are clearly an issue of choosing the wrong answer, but you may be able to improve the way you answer written questions.
    • Find out what you would have to do differently with your paper for it to have been an A+ report.
  4. Image titled Improve Grades Near the End of the Semester Step 4
    Find out if you can make up assignments. This is one of those situations where it never hurts to ask. If your professor does allow you to make up assignments, get right on it and don't delay.[4]
    • Some professors may allow you to make up assignments that you missed. You probably won't be able to get full credit, but anything is better than a zero.
    • See if you can redo assignments you completed but got a poor score on. This is highly variable, and some professors won't even consider it, but it's worth asking about it.
    • If your professor is unwilling to replace the grade, then you might also ask about redoing an assignment and averaging the old grade with the new grade. For example, if you got a 60% on the first paper you turned in, and a 90% on the redo, then your new grade would be 75%.
    • If your professor completely refuses, redo the assignment anyways and when you hand it in, tell the professor, "I really wanted to do this right even if you don't want to change my grade." The professor may decide to change your grade as a result of this extra effort.
  5. Image titled Improve Grades Near the End of the Semester Step 5
    Ask about extra credit opportunities. Not every professor offers extra credit opportunities, but many do. It's certainly worth asking your professor about it. This is a chance for you to correct your previous errors, and it may be more easy to do if you've recently talked to your professor about what you can do differently in that class.[5]
    • Extra credit assignments can vary widely, from a simple written report to a full term paper.
    • Find out what your options are and make time to work on anything you're permitted to.
    • Be sure that you turn in any extra credit assignments on time. Find out from your professor what her deadline is on extra credit work.
  6. Image titled Improve Grades Near the End of the Semester Step 6
    Learn your current grade. If you ask your professor in advance, she may be able to check your grades for each assignment and give you an estimate of what your current grade in the course is. Some professors may not calculate grades in advance. If this is the case, you can use a simple grade calculator online, or calculate your grade on your own.[6]
    • Look at your course syllabus. It should show you a breakdown of what percent of your course grade each assignment and exam is worth.
    • You can calculate each assignment and add your scores together to get an idea of what your current course grade is.
    • You can also use the following formula: [percentage of final grade for assignments, converted to numerical value] x [your combined score on those assignments] + [percentage of final grade for exams] x [your combined score on those exams] / 1.
    • In the above formula, you would multiply your percentage for each category times your score (for example, if written assignments were worth 20% of your grade you would multiply 0.20 x whatever your combined grades in that category were). You would perform the same function for your test scores and any other graded categories, then divide that sum by one.

Part 2
Developing Better Study Habits

  1. Image titled Improve Grades Near the End of the Semester Step 7
    Develop strong, productive study habits. Studying hard and efficient is the only way to ensure a good grade. You may not ace a test, and that's okay; the important thing is that you try your hardest and do the necessary work.[7]
    • Figure out where you study most efficiently. Your room may be comfortable, but it's got a lot more distractions than the library or a quiet classroom on campus.
    • Take good notes in class, and rewrite them in your own words when you get back from class. Rewriting things in your own words helps you process the information and commit it to memory.[8]
    • Try using a mnemonic device. These memory tricks rely on rhyming, imagination, or acronyms (like ROYGBIV to remember the colors of the visible spectrum) to recall the subject matter.
  2. Image titled Improve Grades Near the End of the Semester Step 8
    Make time to study. One common reason many people neglect to study (or neglect to study enough) is time constraints. However, if you're in school, your classes should be your top priority.[9]
    • You should be spending 30 to 60 minutes per class studying each day. If you're really struggling with a class you may need to spend even more time studying.
    • Take study breaks to give your brain a rest and allow it to digest what you've learned. Aim for a 5 to 10 minute break after every hour of study.
    • Give yourself a small reward during your study breaks. Figure out a healthy and enjoyable reward you can give yourself, such as allowing yourself a dessert after dinner or downloading a new song from the internet.
    • Snack healthy while you study. Opt for fresh fruit and veggies for a tasty, nutritious snack.
  3. Image titled Improve Grades Near the End of the Semester Step 9
    Eliminate distractions. Being distracted while you work is a surefire way to do a bad job at studying, writing, or reading. If you really want to study efficiently, it's important that you reduce or eliminate all distractions and focus on the material at hand.[10]
    • If you have a hard time studying without checking your phone, turn it off while you study. You may even want to consider leaving it in your home or dorm room if you plan to study at the library.
    • Don't study with the TV or radio on. Focus on the task at hand and devote yourself entirely to studying.

Part 3
Putting In the Work

  1. Image titled Improve Grades Near the End of the Semester Step 10
    Attend every remaining class. If you have missed several classes, then make a point not to miss any more. Attending class is one of the best ways to assure a higher grade (or at least a fair grade). By attending class, you are essentially showing your professor that you take her class seriously and are committed to doing the work. Plus, you might otherwise miss more assignments and quizzes if you don't come to class every day on time.[11]
    • If you're doing poorly in a class, there's a chance you may have missed a lot of class meetings and/or assignments. However, it's never too late to turn it around.
    • The only valid excuse for missing a class is a medical emergency or family emergency. Any other obligations (like work or visiting friends) should come secondary to your class attendance.
    • Some professors deduct points for each class you miss. If you stop missing classes, at least your grade won't suffer any more from your absences.
    • Some professors may see that you're trying and give you a few extra points for your effort. There's no guarantee this will happen, but remember that there's no harm; the worst case scenario is that you attend all your classes and learn more information.
  2. Image titled Improve Grades Near the End of the Semester Step 11
    Find a tutor to help you through the last weeks of class. Tutors can help you with many aspects of studying. You can work on a paper together, go over assignments, or learn new and more effective study habits.[12] If you are struggling to improve your grades near the end of the semester, a tutor may be able to help you.
    • Remember that tutors aren't miracle workers. You'll still need to do the homework, complete your assigned readings, and show up to class and tutoring sessions on time.
    • A tutor can help you review notes from class, develop better study habits, and work on revising assignments before you turn them in.
    • Most schools have some type of tutoring center on campus. Check online or ask a campus administrative employee where the tutoring center is for your school.
  3. Image titled Improve Grades Near the End of the Semester Step 12
    Identify and correct problematic classroom behavior. If you're doing poorly in your coursework, it may have something to do with the way you behave in class. Take an honest look at your classroom habits and ask yourself if you're fully engaged in the lecture/discussion, or if you allow yourself to be distracted.[13] Even if there is only a week or two of class left, paying more attention in classes and being a more active member of your classes may help to raise your final grades.
    • If you find yourself talking to your classmates during class, using your cellphone at all, or using a laptop/tablet to check email/social media, message friends, or visit unrelated websites, you are not giving the class your full attention.
    • Reduce the opportunities that enable these behaviors. For example, in the case of misusing media, turn your cellphone and laptop/tablet off before class, or leave them at home if you cannot resist using them.
    • If you have a tendency to chat with other classmates during class, try sitting alone or in a part of the room where your friends don't usually sit. You might also try sitting in the front row so that you will be able to pay attention and remain fully engaged in the lecture.
    • Ask questions about any material you're confused by. If you're sitting near the front of the classroom your teacher will see you raise your hand and can answer your questions as they arise.
  4. Image titled Improve Grades Near the End of the Semester Step 13
    Complete your final assignments on time. Punctual completion of your assignments will help you perform better in school. Professors will see that you're taking the work seriously, and you just might earn a good grade for your efforts.[14] If you have handed in assignments late in the past, make sure that the rest of your assignments are on time.
    • Use a planner or calendar to keep track of what's due and when. You should also pencil in any upcoming test dates, and any relevant information on those tests.
    • Start your final papers and other assignments right away. Ideally, you should be able to finish up your assignments in advance so that you're not scrambling the night before the due date.
  5. Image titled Improve Grades Near the End of the Semester Step 14
    Work hard on the final project. If you're trying to ace a final project, you'll need to budget your time wisely. The easiest way to do this is by breaking your tasks into smaller, more manageable blocks.[15]
    • Start as early as possible. Do not wait until the last minute, or it's very unlikely that you will do well.
    • Calculate how much time you have to complete the assignment, then make a rough estimate of how many hours it will take.
    • Spread the work out accordingly.
    • For example, if you have five days to complete a project and you estimate that it will take 10 hours total, spread that time out into two-hour chunks across five days of work.
  6. Image titled Improve Grades Near the End of the Semester Step 15
    Ace the final exam.[16] If you're behind in the course, you'll need to recognize that you may not be able to cover everything from the entire semester. You can, however, study smart by focusing on the biggest, most important concepts during the last weeks of the semester.
    • Join a study group. Some professors will organize study groups as a big exam approaches, while others may leave it up to the students to organize their own study groups.
    • Continue to employ productive study habits, and keep studying until the morning of the exam. Be sure to get adequate sleep and nutrition, though, or you may burn yourself out.

Article Info

Categories: Improving And Maintaining Grades