10 Tips to Improve Grades No Matter the Reason You’re Struggling

Are you watching your child struggle in school? Are their grades not what you, or they, would like? For a parent, this is heartbreaking — for the student, it is frustrating.

Each parent wants their child to succeed in school and thrive academically. Children sometimes receive grades and report cards that do not reflect their true learning ability.

Despite their best efforts, even the brightest students sometimes struggle to achieve high grades. However, if you can identify the reasons for the struggle and make a plan going forward, you can improve your grades.

In this article, you will learn: 

  • How to better your grades
  • Tips to improve grades if comprehension is difficult; and
  • Much more
how to improve grades

How to Improve Your Grades 101: First, Identify Why Your Grades Are Struggling in the First Place

Even the brightest students can find themselves underperforming academically. In these situations, students are usually stuck in a rut and don’t know what to do to improve. 

If this applies to you, the first step is to identify why you are underperforming, then figure out how to correct it. 

Let’s look at a couple of different reasons you might be underperforming. 

Is It a Lack of Commitment or Engagement?

This is often why someone’s grades are not where they should be. It is because they’re not committed to doing the work and learning the material — and the student usually knows this. 

There are three types of engagement that can directly impact a student’s classroom performance: 

  1. Emotional engagement —  Has the student had a good or bad experience with their teacher, classroom, or school? Do they feel they belong? Do they feel their schoolwork is valuable?  
  2. Behavioral engagement — Is the student attentive in the classroom? Do they interact?  
  3. Cognitive engagement — Is the student intrinsically motivated? Do they take ownership of their schoolwork? 

Is It a True Lack of Comprehension of the Material?

Often, students believe they can read —  but although they know all the words, they don’t necessarily understand what they read.

If students don’t understand what they read, they will have difficulty succeeding in school.

Reading comprehension is necessary for all subjects, including science and math. If a student lacks good reading comprehension skills, it will show in their grades and test scores.

The following are signs that students might have poor reading comprehension skills:

  • Can’t answer questions about what they just read
  • Can’t follow the logical sequence of a story
  • After reading the story, are unable to narrate it
  • Have trouble making sense of what they’ve read by connecting individual sentences and paragraphs of text
  • Are unable to understand the meaning of individual words; or
  • Become bored with reading or give up quickly

5 Tips on How to Improve Grades If Your Issue Is a Lack of Commitment

When a student struggles to commit to school work, their work will be half-hearted.

In order to learn something new, it is important to be interested in it and committed to it — only then will grades improve. 

#1: Find Your Motivation

Underperforming students are sometimes lacking in motivation simply due to a lack of interest in learning.

Learning becomes less enjoyable when the pressure of exams and doing well at school takes over. It’s easy to get so focused on grades that you forget learning can be enjoyable — and when you’re enjoying yourself, you’re more likely to perform well.

Sometimes just wanting a better grade isn’t enough. 

Find some aspect of the subject that you connect with, or a bigger reason for exploring the material. Make a connection, and motivation will surely follow.

Putting the fun back into learning is what you need to do if studying has become a chore. 

#2: Pay Attention and Participate During Class

Good grades depend on staying engaged and paying attention in class. Here are a few tips to help you be more present during class: 

  • If you’re prone to daydreaming in class, try to focus on the present.
  • Instead of talking with friends or letting your thoughts wander, focus on what the teacher is saying.
  • Make sure you understand what is written on the board before copying it down, and make neat notes, so you can understand them when you come back to them. 

Also, don’t be afraid to speak up if you don’t understand. It is much easier to ask a teacher to clarify something than it is to trawl through books for hours — and they won’t think less of you for asking.

how to increase your grades

#3: Change Your Study and Organization Habits

Being organized is another way to improve your academic performance. Clutter of any kind inhibits us from operating efficiently. Ensure that your workspace is tidy and that all your notes and textbooks are organized, so you know where everything is. 

Additionally, consider your time management, as this will allow you to prioritize your time effectively, freeing up time for problem subjects. Make yourself a daily schedule that incorporates your school schedule, dividing your day into chunks of time and leaving plenty of study time.

Set aside extra time for subjects or topics that you find particularly challenging.   Perhaps the reason for your poor performance in these subjects is that you are not spending enough time on them.

Don’t forget to take into account the setting where you study. For example: 

  • Perhaps the couch isn’t the best place for your learning style 
  • Maybe you need (or don’t need) music playing in the background
  • Try making the switch from studying late at night to right after school (or vice versa) 

#4: Do Your Homework On Time (No More Procrastination)

One reason you are underperforming could be that you are spending too much time procrastinating or putting off work while distracted by other things, such as social media. 

Procrastination is a common response to a large workload — when you don’t know where to begin, the temptation is simply not to begin.

However, not beginning your work only delays the inevitable. It also makes your task worse by eating into your time when you could be doing something productive.

#5: Enlist the Help of a Tutor

Chances are, if you’re reading this article, you are having difficulties academically.

Perhaps you are having trouble reading. Or, you may not be a solid test-taker and need extra help before taking a big standardized test like the SAT.

No matter what your situation is, tutoring can help. 

Tutors offer one-on-one tutoring and small-group support to students, and can help you: 

  • Improve grades
  • Increase motivation
  • Learn effective study habits
  • Boost confidence; and
  • Improve organizational skills

A number of studies have concluded that tutoring is highly effective at helping students learn.

Effective tutors engage in the “whole child” approach to education, ensuring all students are:

  • Healthy
  • Safe
  • Engaged
  • Supported; and
  • Challenged

Your next question may be: If tutoring seems like an appropriate option for you, how do you choose the right tutor?

Emergent Education can help. We are proven and experienced and do all the heavy lifting, matching you with the most suitable tutor.

5 Tips on How to Improve Grades If Your Issue Is a Lack of Comprehension

#1: Try a New Learning Strategy

Another reason you might not be performing well in school is that you haven’t found the right learning strategies for you. Each person has a different way of studying that works best for them.

Mix up the way you …

  • See
  • Hear; and
  • Process

… what you are learning. For example, if you have been working independently, you may find working with a friend or two more motivating.

Here are a few tips for trying different learning strategies: 

  • When you’re tackling something new, try reading the chapter to yourself first before reading it out loud
  • Create flashcards; or 
  • Write a summary of the text

By making a few changes, your brain can process the information in a variety of different ways, and you may be able to retain it more easily.

ways to improve grades in high school

#2: Take Breaks While You Study

It’s important to give your brain time to process what you’re learning.

When you’re studying, it can sometimes feel like all that information is blurring together. It may feel like you should push through instead of taking a break, but your brain needs a bit of time to process what you’ve learned. 

Move around at least once an hour. Try setting a timer for 50 minutes. When it rings, take a 10-minute break.

#3: Talk to Your Teacher

As you develop a plan of action for improving your grades, it’s a good idea to talk to your teachers.

Teachers understand that every student learns differently, and can help you identify where your learning gap lies.

#4: Start or Join a Study Group

Everyone learns differently. Maybe your peers understand the subject and can find a way to help you understand too. You might find it helpful to form or join a study group.

In a study group, you can discuss your notes together. When you ask people to share what they think is important, it gives an idea of what everyone thinks is important — if you all wrote the same thing, it’s probably important. 

On the other hand, someone might have noticed a detail that you overlooked, which can make your study notes even more valuable. 

Tips for study groups include:

  • Come up with ways to remember key concepts, definitions, and other information that could appear on your tests.
  • Test each other’s memory by asking questions.
  • Choosing friends who have the same goals as you is crucial. A study group only works if you review the course material.

#5: Enlist the Help of a Tutor

To be successful in school, you must be able to read the subject matter and:

  • Make connections
  • Visualize; and
  • Infer

These skills can be challenging if you have been diagnosed with comprehension deficits

Tutors with experience in comprehension difficulties will offer lessons using research-proven methods that are personally tailored to the student’s individual needs. 

An experienced tutor will also: 

  • Monitor students’ progress
  • Offer continual feedback
  • Provide encouragement throughout the lesson
  • Give more instruction regarding a topic or subject
  • Find new ways of presenting the material; and
  • Teach new learning strategies

With tutoring, your grades and confidence will improve.

At Emergent Education, we create an individualized learning plan for each student based on their specific reading needs. Our experienced tutors will adjust the pace with each lesson, ensuring you are challenged but never frustrated.  

Remember, Only Caring About Your Grade May Not Be Enough

A lack of motivation can be a significant factor in academic performance. When you lack motivation, your performance will suffer.

However, even though a student may care deeply about their grades and be upset about poor academic success, caring can only get them so far. 

Tutoring can help you learn the correct skills needed in order to succeed. 

Let Emergent Education Help You Determine How to Increase Your Grades With Methods Specific to Your Learning Needs

Taking the frustration out of education can be achieved with Emergent Education.

Emergent Education offers …

  • Individualized
  • Face-to-face
  • Small group; and
  • Online sessions

… and we have services for every grade and subject.  Our team of student tutors and professional educators can help you develop skills and confidence that go far beyond the academic classroom. 

Because our tutors have a wide range of educational skills and experiences, we can match you with the tutor who will best suit your needs.

Call Emergent Education to schedule your first tutoring session — for FREE!

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