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YOUNG PEOPLE ASK

What if I’m Failing at School?

“I see some of my classmates who just sit in class with no textbook and with headphones on, listening to music while the teacher is speaking. And these students wonder why they are failing! Then there are people like me who try their best, study like crazy, and still get a bad grade on a test. I honestly don’t know why that happens. It definitely doesn’t feel good to get a bad grade after I put in a week’s worth of late-night studying.”—Yolanda.

Can you identify with Yolanda’s feelings? Let’s face it, it can be demoralizing to get a bad grade—or a series of bad grades.

Some young people who are failing at school may give up trying to improve their grades. Others might even drop out of school altogether. While both of those approaches can be tempting, there is another way to handle the problem. Consider six steps you can take to get better grades.

 What you can do

  • Show up for class. This step may seem like a no-brainer, but if you skip too many classes, your grades will surely suffer.

    “In my school, the kids who really didn’t care about their grades were usually the ones who skipped school, which is self-destructive.”—Matthew.

    Bible principle: “Whatever a person is sowing, this he will also reap.”—Galatians 6:7.

  • Make the most of each class. Merely being present is a good start, but once you are there, do what you can to get the most out of class. Take good notes. Try to follow the logic of what your teacher is saying. If you are permitted to, ask questions during class.

    “I ask a lot of questions during class because I find that the teacher will explain the topic better if he or she knows that a student doesn’t understand it.”—Olivia.

    Bible principle: “Pay attention to how you listen.”—Luke 8:18.

  • Resist the urge to cheat. Cheating is dishonest. There are many ways to cheat in school. One is to copy other people’s work. This is not only dishonest but also counterproductive.

    “If you don’t understand something, do not copy answers from other students’ tests. By cheating, you really aren’t helping yourself. Instead of learning to solve problems on your own, you are teaching yourself to rely on others.”—Jonathan.

    Bible principle: “Do your own work well, and then you will have something to be proud of.”—Galatians 6:4, Contemporary English Version.

  • Make homework a priority. If possible, do your homework before other activities—especially recreation. * That way, once your homework is done, you’ll enjoy your leisure time even more!

    “I set homework as a priority, and this made a difference in my grades. When I got home, I often had the itch to take a nap or listen to music. But I tried to take care of my homework first and then relax.”—Calvin.

    Bible principle: “Make sure of the more important things.”—Philippians 1:10.

  • Ask for help. Don’t be ashamed to accept help from others. Approach your parents for advice. Ask your teacher for help to get better grades. In some cases, you may also be able to get help from a tutor.

    “Go to the teacher directly. Ask for help to understand the subject and to improve your grades. The teacher will likely be impressed by your determination to pass and will help you.”—David.

    Bible principle: “There is accomplishment through many advisers.”—Proverbs 15:22.

  • Take advantage of every opportunity available. In some countries, tests have bonus questions that can improve your grade. You may also be able to volunteer for extra-credit assignments. If you fail a test, you might be able to redo it if you ask for the opportunity.

    Improving your grades is like learning to play an instrument. It’s hard work, but the payoff is worth it

    “If I want to improve my grades in a subject, I must be the first to take action. I ask my teachers if there are any extra-credit assignments I can do or if I can redo any of my work for a better grade.”—Mackenzie.

    Bible principle: “There is benefit in every kind of hard work.”—Proverbs 14:23.

^ par. 18 For specific suggestions on improving your study skills, see the article “Young People Ask . . . How Can I Finish My Homework?