Many students are familiar with the sinking feeling in their chest when that little notification pops up. The grades are in for their latest test. They did not do as well as they wanted, and their midpoint grade in the class is lower than it should be.
Faculty members in the Academic Resource Center (ARC) offered several tips to help students bring up their grades.
Academic coach Kevin Schmidt advises students to “do something differently.”
According to Schmidt, students who repeatedly use the same study methods to prepare themselves often find unsatisfactory results. If a student wants to change their grade in a class after midterm grades come in, they need to change their approach.
The first thing for students to do is ask questions and determine how they got to a certain point in a class. Phil Adams, another coach in the ARC, said the first question to ask is “Have you talked to your teacher?”
Secondly, ARC academic coach Amy Streeter advised students to ask themselves questions such as, “Are [you] having difficulty turning in assignments on time; Are [you] struggling understanding the lecture or textbook material; Are [you] doing poorly on quizzes and tests; If so, what are [you] doing to learn the material?”
Once a student determines how they got to a certain point in their class, it is time to change their habits. Students need a plan. “If you don’t have a plan, it’s not going to happen,” Adams said. In order to form that plan, Adams suggested students ask a series of questions. “What do you want? How are you going to get there? What obstacles will you face? And how will you overcome the obstacles?”
Schmidt advised students to switch up the physical locations where they study when deciding what they will change about their habits. “We often aren’t aware of how much our space impacts us,” he said.
After students decide where to study, they must answer the question of how they will study. Streeter and Adams both advise students to study materials for a class as if they were going to teach them to someone else.
“Incorporate as many learning styles as possible when you’re studying,” Schmidt said. If students are trying to bring up their grades, they should branch out and try new things. “If you are deliberate in incorporating … [visual, audio, and kinesthetic study methods] every time you’re studying, your retention, your understanding will go to new heights,” Schmidt said.
What many students think of as midterms are really just more tests, and they are over now. However, if students realize they need to bring up their grades, they need to act now by making a plan to change their habits and prepare for whatever comes next.
“Have you prepared for any week of school?” Schmidt asked. Many students do not even prepare for their weeks, but if they start using even simple practices such as checking Canvas, it equips them for bigger things, such as tests and projects.
The biggest step in preparation is starting now. “Tomorrow is the most unreachable goal,” Schmidt said