How to Handle a Disappointing Grade

Now that we are officially a month into the semester, the first wave of exams has come and gone. Having more than one test in a week is tough, especially when it comes to managing your time.  Getting a low or failing grade on a test is not the end of your college career, but it should be used as motivation to do better the next time around. As a student one can blame a bad exam grade on the teacher, any distractions, that one class you missed, or just overall bad timing. Little things in life pop up and make us rethink our priorities, such as going out on Thursday night when you have a paper due the next day or deciding to hang out with friends instead of going to the library to study. These interruptions happen on a daily basis, so it is your job as a student to “plan your studying”.

In the scenario where you receive a lower grade than you had hoped for or expected, it can be very discouraging. Some tips for dealing with this disappointment are:

  • Not to linger on it or impact your other work
  • Go out and do something active
  • Make an appointment with your professor
  • Find a friend or a tutor to help you understand the material
  • Carefully review the exam to see what you can do differently next time 

Keep in mind that you are not the only student to struggle with courses or to perform poorly on an exam. Check out Student Success Strategies to see how other college students learned from receiving an unsatisfactory mark. Reading real experiences that other students have dealt with sometimes helps to make one feel better about their own situation.

From the prospective of a professor, there are actually ways that students can thrive off a bad grade and how it can help them the next time. U.S. News article “3 Tips to Overcome a Bad Grade in College” is a great resource to better understand how a professor would approach the situation. Accusing the instructor of intentionally giving you a bad grade is NEVER the right way to handle a situation; however, asking the instructor to further explain why you received such a grade is a more beneficial method. 

Don’t let one exam change your outlook on a specific class or college in general. We are at UNH to learn, grow, and to learn personal responsibility. Now is a great time to figure out when your next exam is and to come up with a strategy on how you want to study differently than before!