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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Chapel Hill chapter.

At some point, everyone in college is going to receive a grade that is, to put it lightly, subpar. When that happens, it’s important to understand that one bad exam grade isn’t a reflection on you personally, rather, it is a reflection on your efforts to successfully learn the material. Thankfully, it’s possible to learn from a bad grade and to overcome it!

1. Use Perspective

How much time did you actually put into studying for this particular exam or writing this paper? Did you study the material every day and complete the required practice problems? In college, students often put in enough effort to complete the assignment and then expect an A for their completion efforts. However, what separates high school from college is that grades are no longer based on effort, instead they are based on the quality of the final product. So, for example, even if you did complete all the required homework problems, that only means you completed the minimal amount of work required to succeed in the class, or a C, for average. This means, you’ll need to go beyond the required workload in order to obtain a B and excel in your work in order to get an A.

2. Be Realistic

Do you know what each exam counts for as a portion of your grade? How well do you really understand the material? For example, if each of your exams count for 20% of your grade and you score a 60 on your first exam, that leaves you with a 92 as the highest score you can achieve in that class, so it’s important to be as prepared as you can be for each exam. Don’t write the first exam off. In many courses it serves as the stepping stone to doing well in the class since material tends to build off of one another. To test whether or not you understand the material, try solving similar problems without referring to your textbook or notes. Use the internet to search for practice exams from similar classes.

3. Reach Out

Do you use your school’s learning center? How often do you attend office hours? If you’re struggling in a class, it’s essential that you get the help you need, and get it fast. It’s all too common for students to feel intimidated or even reluctant to go to a professor and admit that they don’t understand what is going on in class. More importantly, if you’re going to office hours use them wisely. Take your failed exam to your professor’s next office hours (or set up an appointment) and ask if they can go over it with you. That way, you’ll be able to recognize any easy points you missed and avoid making the same mistakes again. Most students are pleasantly surprised to find that their professors do care about them and want them to succeed in their class!

Follow these tips and hopefully next time you’ll pass all of your exams flying colors. Comment bellow if you have any other tips to share with your fellow collegiettes struggling through mid-term season, HCXO!