Don’t Give Up! You Might Still be Able to Improve your Math Grade

May 13, 2018 | Naperville

Is your low math grade stressing you out? What do you do if you only have a month or so before the end of the year? If you are in a panic to raise your math grade, we have good news and bad news.

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first.

  • Raising an F to an A in the last month of a term is probably impossible.
  • You will have to give up some of your free time for studying and doing homework.
  • Parents and teachers may scold you for waiting so long to ask for help.

Now let’s look at the good news.

You can usually improve your grade even in the last third of a term. You may be able to raise an F to a C -, or a C + to an A -. How much you can improve your grade depends on what percentage of your grade is still not determined, how much various grades are worth, and how well you do for the rest of the term.

Example: Let’s look at “Michael’s” grades in Algebra 1 as an example. He has 1/3 of the trimester left. In his class, homework assignments are worth 20% of the grade, class participation is worth 10%, each of the three unit tests are 11% of the grade, and the final exam is worth 37%.

His current homework average is 70%. If he can raise his homework grades to 90% for the remaining weeks, his homework average goes up to almost 77%.

Michael currently has 60% for his participation grade. If he increases it to 80% for the rest of the remainder of the term, his entire participation grade goes up to almost 67%.

Michael took two unit tests so far. He got 65% on one and 55% on another, giving him an average test score of 60%. With one unit test and the final exam left, he has a tremendous opportunity to raise his grade. If he get an 80% on each of the two tests, he raises his test average from a 60% to 74%.

For the first 2/3s of the trimester, Michael was earning a 63%, which is on the border of a D- and F. After putting in some real effort, he raised his final grade to almost 75%, or a C. Now he doesn’t have to repeat Algebra!

To calculate your exact grade potential, use the calculator tool here http://www.benegg.net/grade_calculator.html

Now that you know you have the potential raise your math grade, you probably want to know how. Identify the problem so you can fix it.

Figure out why your math grade isn’t as high as it should be. Students get low grades when they don’t understand the material, lack study skills, don’t care about grades, or a combination of all three. Which issues are holding you back? Be honest with yourself.

If you work hard but keep getting wrong answers, you probably don’t understand the material.

You may have a learning gap from a previous math course, making it hard to do well on the current math course. You will keep struggling until you go back and learn the old material. Learning gaps happen for many reasons like illnesses and vacations.  Get a no-obligation assessment at Mathnasium to pinpoint learning gaps that could be affecting your current success.

If you don’t turn in homework or study for tests, you probably lack study skills.

Succeeding in school requires a lot of organization. You can learn organizational skills. Take this quiz to see what trouble spots you have with study skills. https://www.interactiontalks.com/teen-study-skills-checklist-for-high-school-students/  Use the links at the bottom of the quiz to get suggestions that will help you succeed.

If you didn’t care about your math grade, you had a problem with motivation.

Since you are reading this article, you must be motivated now. Students struggle with motivation for a variety of reasons. Remember that doing well in math now can build your confidence, make your next math class go better, and even help you earn more money later. It will be harder for you to succeed if your friends aren’t motivated to get good grades. If that’s an issue, try adding some more motivated friends to your social circle. The right environment makes all the difference. Students at Mathnasium support and applaud each other’s successes.

If you get frustrated in math and do homework or study only some of the time, you have a combination of problems.

Problems in math often create a downward spiral. Maybe you didn’t understand a math concept and then you got so behind and frustrated, you gave up trying. Maybe you never had great study skills, but it wasn’t a problem until you entered more difficult math. Now you feel yourself understanding less and less, and you don’t know how to catch up. Maybe you didn’t care about math grades until you realized that college is only a few years away. Unfortunately, years of not studying means that you missed important material.

You have the power to stop the downward spiral and reverse it. When you are motivated to learn the material, have the right tools, and work hard, you can do amazing things.

So, you know you can improve your math grade, you’ve identified why your math grade isn’t great, and you have some ideas about how to fix it. Now what?

Don’t try to do it all by yourself.

Admit to adults that you made some mistakes and have some challenges. Tell them that you are trying to improve now. No one is perfect and a little humility will go a long way toward persuading adults to help.

Get all the extra help you can. If your math teacher supports struggling students during study hall or after school, sign up for those extra learning opportunities. Ask your parents to enroll you in Mathnasium of Naperville to help you study for tests, get your homework done, and answer your questions in a non-threatening environment.

Feel good about the effort you are making to improve your skills. When school starts again in the fall, you will know what it takes to get a good grade. Remember for next time to ask for help as soon as you start falling behind, so you aren’t in a panic at the end of the term.

You may also want to read:

Seven Steps to Ace a Math Final

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