March 4, 2019, by Shweta

Improving your grades one step at a time

With results day well and truly behind us, it comes without a surprise that some of you may not have achieved what they initially set out to; and this can really crush your spirit. As someone who consistently beat the school system to achieve high grades, having to re-sit an exam in my first year was a nightmare! Since then, I have focused on every aspect of my life to holistically improve my chances of graduating with a 2:1 or above and fortunately, I’m on track so far. Here are my tips to improving your grades because let’s be honest; one bad mark means nothing in the grand scheme of things and your only real competition if yourself.


  1. Set targets. Everyone works at different paces so I won’t stress too much on the timescale of these targets. What I would definitely suggest, however, is having targets and goals nonetheless. Try mapping out how to finish ‘x’ lectures over the week or even daily and put a physical version of your schedule up in your room. This will motivate you to complete whatever task you have set for yourself, especially knowing that if you slack on Day 3, you’ll have to work twice as hard on Day 4; this way you’re less likely to procrastinate. Not to mention, striking off the lectures you have completed is so
  2. Teach a friend (or yourself). I bet you have already heard the cliché about how teaching makes you a better learner. Let’s just say it’s a cliché for a reason. It works! Every time you finish revising a specific concept or lecture, explain it to a friend, parent or even yourself. If my friends aren’t available, I enjoy pretending like I’m teaching a class. It helps me truly understand the information and break it down in a way that’s easy to digest. Plus, the more you repeat it, the more likely it is that you won’t forget it.
  3. Be positive and don’t stress. I know this is much easier said than done but remember that stressing out is more likely to affect your performance negatively than drive revision. If you feel a bout of anxiety coming on, take a break. I personally recommend a quick walk around Lenton recreation ground or a quick 20 minute episode of your favorite show on Netflix. Use meal times to cook and sit down with your housemates and make sure to talk about something not related to your course. Clearing your head will open up space for the information you have to digest.
  4. Organize your study space. A cluttered desk is a cluttered mind. Keep things tidy and focus on the books and notes in front of you instead of the mold growing in that 5-day old cup of tea by your desk.


Like I said before, one bad exam does not reflect badly on you. There are so many reasons why you may have received an unexpectedly bad mark. Instead of moping about, use this as an opportunity to figure out what went wrong and, more importantly, as a bench-mark for future success.


Good luck and until next time,



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