Welcome to another episode of my Student Diaries!
My 1st Student Diaries was about my Experience and Tips with Clearing and I would definitely recommend checking it out as it was hard to write and I included a lot of important, personal advice that I learnt from the experience.
This next episode of the series is about handling a bad mark and hopefully I can make sure this applies to GCSE, A Level and University grades as although they may have different weightings in life, they are all stages where receiving a bad mark can often be sobering and hard to comprehend.
Everyone, at some point, gets a bad mark. It may be one that you don’t expect or it may be one that you totally knew was coming. There are points where things collide in life and you can’t give a piece of work your best efforts. So, my first piece of advice is to do with damage control before you actually submit a piece of work or take a test etc as this can provide you with a buffer or extra support that you may need and ensure you don’t get a mark that doesn’t represent the work you do.
In most places, there are ways of reducing the impact of this on your grades (such as mitigating circumstances, informing a teacher etc.) so always take advantage of these when necessary.
However, if you have already past this point and you have received a mark that was lower than expected, the following advice on this post is for you. I recently got my lowest mark I have ever received in Philosophy at university and I would be lying if I said it didn’t tear me apart. And it will. It will make you feel crap. You will probably cry, want some time alone and maybe some ice cream. But..
Limit your pity party.
The blunt hard truth of it all is that feeling sorry for yourself literally solves nothing. Although you definitely do need time to process and accept a bad mark, a week is just a no-go. Giving yourself a day or two max is almost always necessary to comprehend what happened. After that emotional outpouring that will likely happen, it’s time to be rational. If you got any feedback from the mark, read it over and over again to really take in what they believe didn’t work out for you. Basically…
Take action and make a plan
Clearly, something needed to improve. Often, a bad mark may be a complete anomaly but either way, the constructive criticism is important to take on board and focus on how you can improve. This advice is especially important if it isn’t the first bad mark you have received. Something is clearly happening that you need to work on and seeing your teachers, supervisors or lecturers to talk it through and make a plan of action to improve is vital.
Although, just making a plan won’t make a difference. You need to make sure you follow through with it. I think there are a few ways you can make sure you keep yourself on track to ensuring you get better marks in the future:
01 Get a study buddy! Revising with someone else is so motivating and it’s good to socialise too – remember to find a balance of work and fun that suits you.
02 See a teacher, supervisor or lecturer weekly or biweekly to keep them updated. Knowing you have to explain what you’re doing to improve is another motivator.
03 Book rooms in the library to go several times a week. Rather than just saying you’ll go when you feel like it, having a booking makes it seem more formal and I always feel like I’m then more likely to go.
04 See what extra work you can do. Extra essays, vocabulary tests, extra reading – it all helps
05 Get friends and family to read essays. Sometimes having an outsider’s perspective really helps
I hope that was useful for you guys! If you have any advice that you have heard or learnt about handling a bad mark, please feel free to leave it down below.