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How do I get better grades?

  1. Jun 8, 2014 #1
    Hi I am currently in my 2nd Term of Physics in grade 11. I have been getting A's for maths and physics throughout grade 9-10, and then I hit a D+ for physics in grade 11! Wow. I have a physics exam next week, how do you suggest I prepare? I really need an A to drag my mark up a lot!!!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 8, 2014 #2


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    Gold Member

    That's strange. If you have a good interest in physics and maths,then that should not happen. Did you get involved in something distracting this year?
  4. Jun 8, 2014 #3

    Simon Bridge

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    You need to identify where you have been going wrong - what has been getting in the way?

    Review your past homework and look for similar problems.

    Also - get a tutor.
  5. Jun 8, 2014 #4


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    This sounds like a good question for your teacher.

    One thing to consider is that perhaps up until now you haven't really needed to apply yourself. Because you always did well, perhaps due to raw intelligence, you had no need to improve your study habits. But now you do.
  6. Jun 9, 2014 #5


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    Be prepared for any question you could get. Know how to solve them, practice writing them out. Then you'll be ready.
  7. Jul 28, 2015 #6


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    Staff: Mentor

    Revise your notes and work through some of the exercises you skipped first time through. Check your answers, and where wrong find where you made the mistake before moving on. You can't build on a shaky foundation over another 18 months of any course.

    Good luck with your studies!
  8. Jul 28, 2015 #7
    I am not in high school anymore, but I just started my undergrad and had a similar situation where I got a C on an exam last semester and a C on an exam this semester, even though I understood the subject matter and could tutor other students in it.

    What I did to remedy the problem:
    - went over the mistakes on my own and then discussed any ambiguities in the grading with the professor. In both cases, I was able to negotiate my grade up by five points via this, which moved my two exams into the B range.
    - asked the professor for specific advice on doing well in the future. The interesting thing was that they gave me different advice.

    The first prof, in mechanics, told me to ask the instructor questions about any parts of the exam where you feel like you're making an assumption that isn't stated in the problem. This helped me tremendously later in mechanics, because I stopped overcomplicating exam problems. I ended up getting an A on the final and in the class.

    The second prof, in E&M, said that I was concentrating on challenging problems when preparing for an exam, which showed that I could understand E&M conceptually, but also meant that I wasn't spending enough time cracking the really easy questions. So I'm going to switch my study strategy to solving more 1-point and fewer challenge problems.

    Your teacher may be writing his or her exam in a way that you're not used to studying for. I would ask him for a good approach to preparing.
  9. Jul 28, 2015 #8
    I'm going to disagree. Interest in something doesn't make you good at it.

    If I were you, I'd rework the questions from the exam that you messed up on. Figure out where your issues are.
  10. Jul 28, 2015 #9
    maybe this teacher is making you think a bit more? Maybe in your past classes you got by by plugging and chugging?

    It can also be the professor. Some professors are just harder graders, harder problems, harder class than others. At my college there is one professor who is a notorious hard ass. Many people get C's, few get B's and hardly anyone gets an A. Well, nobody signs up for this professor classes, not because he cannot teach, rather, it is because his classes tend to be really difficult. A c in his class is an A in another class.

    Maybe you are not meeting the high level of expectations the professor has set forth to the students? An A is meaningless.
  11. Oct 27, 2015 #10
    Hi! I found out one more thing that could potentially be helpful to you or anyone else feeling perplexed by their performance on exams.

    Based on my chart and chronic disability status, my doctor gave me a referral to take exams at the disability center on our campus, which gives me some accommodations in terms of time and distraction. While my knowledge of the material hasn't changed, I now do significantly better on exams because of this accommodation. And I'm not stressed or tortured by tests the way I used to be. So, this is something to consider if you have a chronic condition that may bother you when you're taking an exam.
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