Bring Your Grade Up when You Are Failing a Class

Are you failing a class and you don't know what to do? It happens to a lot of people, so don't be discouraged. Through working hard, studying, and concentrating on the materials, you can bring up a failing grade.


Doing More at School

  1. Get organized. You could be failing because you can't keep up with your assignments and are missing grades. This will bring your overall average down. When you have multiple classes, your notes and handouts can get kind of mixed up. This can lead to you to miss information, which can cause you to fail a class. Make a folder for the class you are failing. Keep the necessary notes and worksheets together in a color folder so you never lose papers. Put any papers from that class into the folder every day. This way, you won't miss anything and can keep up with the classwork.
    • If you are more organized, you will be more efficient when you study. Not having to flip through tons of papers scattered throughout your bags will help you streamline the process and have more time to study on the material that is giving you trouble.[1]
  2. Go to every class session. Missing class often is a major cause of failing grades. You get behind and cannot catch up. If you miss school or class often, you will not know what the teacher wants you to learn. You also won't understand their expectations for assignments and tests. This can cause a failing grade. Even missing one class can hurt you because you will miss a lot of necessary information for upcoming tests. This will not help you bring up your grade. [2]
    • If you have to miss class for an illness or school event, make sure you get notes from a fellow classmate. Try to find someone who takes really extensive notes so you will be sure to get any necessary information that you missed while you weren't there.[3]
  3. Pay attention in class. Getting distracted can cause you to fall behind in class and fail assignments. In order to pull your grade up, you have to pay attention in class. Just because you are in class doesn't mean you are mentally present in class. Make sure your mind is present in class. You need to be ready to learn and retain the information. This will help you do better on future assignments, which will bring up your grade.
    • Make sure you ask questions in class. Whenever your teacher is going over something that you don't quite understand, ask them, "Can you go over that again? I didn't understand it." If you don't, you might get behind and miss a lot of important information that is needed for the next test.
    • The more engaged you are during the class session, the more focused you will be on the material. This will help you be more prepared for the assignments and make better grades on them, which will help you get a higher grade.[4]
  4. Take extensive notes. You may be failing a class because you don't know the information needed to pass the assignments in the class. When your teacher talks about the material in class, write it down. Try to mark or indicate which concepts are discussed more than others because those are the ones you are likely to be tested on. If your teacher tells you that something is going to be on the test, mark that in your notes so you know to study that area extra hard.
    • Don't stress about the structure or handwriting of your notes. Just get all the information down so you can refer back to it later. As long as you can understand them when you study, you'll be fine.[2]
    • If you find your mind wanders when you write notes, try writing them in cool colors or changing colors every few sentences. This will keep your mind engaged on the material and also make your notes look more interesting when you review them later.
  5. Hand in any missing work. If you have any work that you forgot to hand in, submit it as soon as possible. Your teacher may accept any late papers, though you may not get full credit for whatever you handed in late.
    • Try to get a planner to write down when certain works are due. This may help prevent you from forgetting any work, which would bring down your grade.
  6. Take your learning further. One reason you have been failing may be because you only understand the content in certain situations. You need to be able to apply whatever you are learning to the larger picture. If you only understand the information in one way, you cannot translate it to other situations. This will cause you to miss questions on exams and do poorly on papers because you can't think critically about the information.[5]
  7. Talk to your teacher. You might be failing because you don't respond well to a certain teaching method. If you are having trouble with a teacher, let them know that you aren't responding to the way they are teaching something. They may be able to help you understand it in a different way. You should also talk to them if you just don't understand the material overall. Find out when they are available and ask for a meeting with them. Ask them questions such as, "I am having a hard time understanding the information in this class. Can you help me understand?" They are the authority on the subject and can help you with the material that is giving you a hard time.
    • They can also help you come up with ways to study for the next exam or ideas for your next paper. They also may be able to give you more notes or readings that will help you figure it out.[2]
    • Make sure you don't depend on your teacher to provide you with a step by step guide on what is on the exams. You need to show effort and understanding or you could fail other classes in the future.[5]
  8. Ask about extra credit. A good way to bring your grade up is to do extra credit assignments. This can give you more points on an assignment that you failed. It can also give you an extra grade that will help bring up your overall average. Ask them your teacher, "Is there any way to do an extra credit assignment? I have been working hard to bring my grade up and I would like a little help." If they see you are serious about bringing your grade up, they might be more inclined to give you an extra credit assignment to help bring up your failing grade.[2]
    • You can also ask if there is a way to redo an assignment, especially if you understand the concepts better now. You can ask your teacher, "I had a hard time on the last assignment we got back. I understand it much better now that I have gotten some help and studied more. Is there a way that I can redo it?"
  9. Get peer tutoring. Check to see if your school has a peer tutoring program. In these programs, students that are studying the same material are there to help you work through the assignments and learn the materials. The major benefit of this is that they are on the same level as you and are working on the same assignments. This will make it easier for them to help you with the questions you have.[2]
    • If you are intimidated by your teacher, you may be more comfortable asking for help from your peer. Try asking them, "Can you help me understand this material? I'm failing but trying to bring my grade up." You can also ask them any questions that you have about your upcoming assignments.
  10. Know the weight of assignments. Some teachers make a test worth more than homework. For instance, say you get a D on an algebra test and a D on an inequality worksheet. Some teachers will put in one D for the worksheet and two D's for the test. Some, on the other hand, will just give you one D on the worksheet and one D on the test.

Changing Your Habits at Home

  1. Make a plan. You may be failing due to poor time management. In order to change your grade, you need to introduce more effective time management skills into your life. If you want to bring up your grade, you need to work hard to get all your work done and still have time to study. To do this, lay out the assignments in all of your classes for the rest of the semester. Also lay out any other obligations, such as work, after school activities, or social engagements. Mark each event on the calendar starting with the most important. This should be the work for the class you are failing. Then fill in the rest. This way, you will know exactly what you need to do and how long you have to do it.[2]
    • If you have overlap, you may need to sacrifice some obligations. Being over-committed to projects can cause you to fail. You can't skip assignments in other classes, but if it is a school activity or social engagement, you may not be able to do it if you are serious about bringing up your grade.
    • If your work overlaps too much, try to rearrange your schedule with your boss. Explain what the problem is and see if anyone would be willing to switch shifts with you.[5]
  2. Do your homework. Since homework is often graded, you should be doing every bit of homework to ensure that grade is as high as possible. It is also one of the best ways to stay current with the material you are learning in class is to do your homework. Don't let it pile up. If you get backed up, you will miss needed information for tests and other assignments. The more backed up you are, the less new material you will understand. This could be the reason you failed assignments in the past. You also will learn the information as it comes and not have to worry as much about cramming to learn all the information for the test the night before.[2]
    • If you have questions as you do your homework, it helps to jot them down as they come. That way, you can ask your teacher as soon as you see them and figure out what you don't understand.
    • Try to start your homework soon after you get home from school. Homework is typically a large part of your grade, so you want to make sure you complete it. Plus, the earlier you do it, the more engaged and awake you will be. If you wait to right before you go to sleep to do it, you will likely be more distracted and tired, which will cause you to do sub par work and retain less information.
  3. Study hard. The only way to bring up a failing grade is to make better grades on the other assignments. This starts with studying at home. You can't learn the information if you don't study it, so try to commit time each night to studying. Turn off distractions such as phones, laptops, TVs, or music. The more focused you are, the more work you will get done and the more information you will retain.[2]
    • When you read for class, make notes about the readings as you do them. This way, you won't have to redo the readings later when it is time for the exam. This may take a little more time as you go, but you will be ready when exam time comes. This will help you make a better grade.[1]
    • About two weeks before a test, start to review your materials. Read and reread your notes. Make yourself flash cards of the material. If you find that you are having problem spots on certain topics, spend extra time on those sections.
  4. Start assignments right away. People sometimes fail because they get stuck on one assignment. Once they get stuck, they put off the work and don't revisit it until it is too late. Procrastination is not an option when you are trying to bring up your grades. When your teacher hands out an assignment, start on it right away. If you wait to the last minute, you are not going to be putting 100% into your work and you will not get a good grade. This will also help you if you get stuck on an assignment. Once you get stuck, you can ask for help from a librarian or teacher.[5]
    • If you have a paper, start your research right away. You will be able to find more in depth research. This will allow you to make much better arguments if you are ready with scholarship on your topic. Also focus on scholarly sources. The better information you have, the better your paper will be.[2]
    • If you have a project, start working on the components of it as soon as possible. The more hard work you put into an assignment, the better your grade will be.
  5. Create a study group. When a test is coming up, find some people from your class that you can study with. Each of you can help each other study and engage with the material better than you can on your own. Prepare material before you meet and then, when you come together, be prepared to quiz each other, go over problem areas, and review the material most likely to be on the test.[2]
    • Try to include someone who is passing the class you are failing. They are more likely to understand the information. They will also be able to answer questions you have.
    • You can make games out of the material you need to cover to make it fun and more engaging. Try using a board game and flashcards to mix up how you learn the materials.[6]
  6. Get enough rest. You may be failing your class because you are too sleepy and drowsy to pay attention in class. You may also do poorly on assignments because you are too tire to devote your full attention to them. Getting enough sleep is necessary for concentration and information retention. If you are sleepy throughout class, you are less likely to take notes or retain the information given in lectures. Try to get 7-8 hours a night so you will be rested for the next day.
    • This will also help you feel better once you get home the next day as well, which will help you keep up with studying and homework for the class.[3]


  • Take advantage of every opportunity to raise your grade; do any extra credit work, and answer bonus questions on quizzes, tests, and exams. Doing this extra work will help you bring up your grade, even if it's only by a few points.

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Sources and Citations

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