Coping With Bad Grades

Not doing as well as you expected on your exams can be really tough, especially if you need higher grades to get into a particular college, graduate school or career. You might be feeling a variety of feelings of disappointment, and confusion. Even though your grades might not be what you were hoping for it doesn’t mean that you failed. Here are some suggestions that can help you manage the situation:

Talking to another person can be a great way of expressing your feelings and exploring other options. A teacher or professor in particular might be able to help you brainstorm ideas to boost your grades, like extra credit or tutoring.

Manage Expectations. It can be helpful to re-think your own expectations to help you decide if they’re realistic and achievable. For more information, check out the Managing expectations fact sheet.

Be flexible. Usually, there are a number of ways to achieve a goal that can have many positive outcomes. Talking to peers might be a great way to reach your goals.

Take time for yourself. This may help you get your mind off of the stress and to regroup.

Exercise, eating well, and getting enough sleep
help you feel better physically and emotionally.

Write down your feelings in a journal. This can be a great way to help you understand a situation and your expectations for the outcomes.

Try not to use alcohol or other drugs. When waking up after a long night of drinking it will only bring you down. Caffeine and energy drinks are only a temporary fix and will only make you feel worse when not drinking them.

Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at, a website that helps teens get through tough times. 


Monica Stretten is Chickahominy from California. She is a Native American Studies Major/Pre-Med at Dartmouth...

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