Get a Teacher to Raise Your Grade

Do you need to earn a good grade to pass a class or keep all A's and B's? Nobody wants to be called a "grade grubber," but if you try some of these suggestions, you might just get your teacher to “adjust” your score. There’s a thin line between seeking advice or asking for clarifications, and being pushy and disrespectful towards your teachers. Remember you should be working together with your teachers to achieve a good grade, not in competition with them. By following some of these tips, being considerate and thinking ahead, you can give yourself the best possible chance of getting a teacher to raise your grade.


Preparing to Talk to Your Teacher

  1. Know what you want to ask. Before you approach your teacher, it’s good to have as clear an idea as possible about what you want to ask them and what you hope to achieve through the conversation. You might be surprised to find that your teacher is well-aware of the academic problems you are having, but it’s best to be prepared to explain yourself clearly.
    • It could help to write down some of your queries. Don’t go in and read a script, but this could be a useful way for you to visualise your concerns and put them down on paper.
  2. Be prepared to talk about the reasons behind your low grades. Before you approach your teacher spend some time just thinking about the context of your grades, have they dropped off dramatically? Are they in a steady decline? Or do you think they do not reflect the work you are putting in?
    • A teacher is highly likely to begin by asking you ‘what do you think is going wrong?’ You’re hoping to get to the bottom of that together, but have some answers prepared. If you’re stumped, be ready to admit that and ask for help: ‘I don’t know why my grades are so low, can you help me understand that, and improve them?’
  3. Don’t prepare by lining up accusations against your teacher. When you are thinking about what to say, be as positive and co-operative as possible. Don’t think of your teacher as the enemy blocking you off from good grades.
  4. Tell the teacher that you’d like to talk. If possible, be specific as to what you want to talk about, be it a grade, an assignment or more general concerns. Meet before or after school. Keep in mind that how the teacher's day went may make him/her more willing to give you a second chance. Every school is different, but one thing you can assume is that your teachers will be very busy and probably not a little stressed, so bear this in mind. Be accommodating and gracious.
    • If you want to talk about something very particular, let the teacher know in advance. This will give them a chance to prepare any materials they might want to bring along.
    • If you want to have a more general chat, say something open like ‘I was wondering if I could talk you after school’, or ‘I need some advice and was hoping I could chat to you about it’.

Talking to Your Teacher

  1. Now go and talk to your teacher about your concerns. Be kind, appreciative, and polite to the teacher; they will take you more seriously this way. Blaming the teacher won't work. (However, don’t be a suck-up -- even if your situation is dire. Suck-ups are both obvious and annoying.)
    • Your teacher will be impressed by you seeking out help and advice, but be sure to ask for guidance rather than demanding the answers outright.
    • Use conciliatory not accusatory language. ‘I want to understand why I’m not getting the grades I expected to achieve, I was wondering if you can talk to me about where I am going wrong’.
    • Don’t say ‘why do you keep failing me?’. Show you are taking responsibility by saying something like: ‘I am failing, and I want to improve with your help’.
  2. Ask for practical advice. Show your commitment by explaining that you have already thought about what you can do to improve, and ask for tips on implementing your ideas. By doing this, you are demonstrating that you are not afraid of hard work, and that you understand that the teacher has knowledge and skills that can be beneficial for you.
    • If you have worked out a timetable for studying, ask them to look over it.
    • They will have an idea of your strengths and weakness, so say ‘can you tell me which things I should focus on most of all?’
  3. Talk to them before you flunk. If you’re struggling in a class don’t wait until the exam comes round. It’s best to approach your teacher and ask to have a chat about your work long before the exams come around. If you can identify and address the problems you are having early you can avoid the bad grades in the first place.
    • You will also be seen as proactive, attentive and interested in your work.
  4. Put your school problems into context. If your teacher only sees you once a week, it can be hard for them to know too much about you outside of class, and whether there are any circumstances that are making it hard for you to keep up with your studies. Don’t be afraid to talk about this to a teacher. Don’t try to absolve all responsibility, but rather give the teacher a full picture so they can understand what’s going on.
    • Chances are they want to understand the reasons why things are going wrong so they can better help you put them right.[1]
    • If you are having problems at home, you might prefer to talk to the school counsellor (if you have one). But if you have a teacher you trust and have a good relationship with they could be best choice.[2]

Talking to your Teacher about a Bad Exam Result

  1. Approach your teacher before you get the grade. If you thought everything was going okay, but then had a really hard time in the exam, don't wait until progress reports or midterm grades are handed out. Waiting until after your grade comes out shows a lack of initiative; if you know you’ve done poorly -- especially if there’s a good reason for it -- you should bring it up right away. Not only that, but term grades often can’t be changed once they’re entered into the system. (This also goes for assignments from the semester/quarter before.)
    • If you are in this situation, try improving your grade for the upcoming marking period. Ask for extra-credit work so that you can shift your point average.
  2. Understand the grading system. If you want to talk your teacher and potentially challenge a grade you have received you need to understand the system they are using, how this influences grades and the limitations it imposes.[3] Do they use a grading curve? Was it an especially high-performing class? Knowing these things can help you understand the process behind the grading of your papers.
  3. Think about what kind of exam it was. Your ability to question your grade is a lot more straightforward if the test was one which had objectively correct or incorrect answers. An essay question where answers are open to at least a degree of interpretation can be much more complicated and harder to dispute. In these cases you have to remember that the person marking is not a computer and subjectivity plays a part in their responses[4].
    • In the case of an essay question, you can ask your teacher to go through your answer with you. Reading your essay together will give you the opportunity to understand in more detail how it was graded.[5]
  4. Identify the reasons that you may deserve a better grade. Whether it’s because you are making a good effort in class or you had a stumble along the road, you need a good reason in order for this to work. Don’t try to blag it on the spot. Whatever you might think, your teacher isn’t that dumb. If you are experiencing personal problems that have contributed to your grade, don’t be afraid to talk to your teacher about it.
  5. Make your case. Calmly and professionally say what you believe is wrong with your grade. Present other tests and assignments that demonstrate what you’re capable of, and suggest the solution you think is reasonable. Be convincing and confident, but don’t assume to know more or better than your teacher.
    • Find good assignments to use as examples or backup. If you can demonstrate that your low score was a fluke and shouldn’t drag down your entire grade, you stand a much better chance of getting it changed.
    • If the problem was that you had an unreliable teammate in a group project, don’t blame it all on him/her or you’ll seem like a bad team player. Instead, say that if you’d given him/her extra help, you wouldn't have done as well on your half of the project, and that it’s not fair to get a bad grade because of somebody else’s work.

Finding Solutions and Exploring Extra Credit

  1. Think of a solution that seems reasonable. This will depend on what your situation is. For example, if you did poorly on a single assignment, ask to redo it for partial credit. However, if you have a C- in the class and want to have it raised to an A- just by redoing a few assignments, your teacher will most likely say no; instead, offer to do a lot of extra credit to prove how motivated you are. It might not shoot your grade up to an A, but it’ll certainly help.
  2. Maintain your high level. Instead of just doing your homework, highlight important parts and write neatly, and especially make sure that everything is legible and it doesn't look like it got mangled with by a prizefighter. This may add a few extra points, since many teachers count neatness as part of your homework grade. If you are turning in a report, it may be helpful to purchase a report cover to further demonstrate your care for your final product.
    • Consider trying to mark someone’s work whose handwriting is all but impossible to read, think how much extra time this must take.
  3. Be proactive and look for extra credit. Sometimes opportunities for extra credit will not be so obvious, so it’s important to be on the lookout and to be visibly keen. Teachers will be impressed by someone going the extra mile. Not only will you score extra credit marks, but you can make a lasting good impression on your teacher.
  4. Keep your expectations reasonable. If any of these things seem unlikely to work on your teacher, don't try them. It will be a disaster. Follow steps you’re comfortable with and change/skip those you aren’t. You know your teacher best, and, believe it or not, they know you too.
    • Although extra credit can be extremely helpful, it’s not meant to make up for your faults. Extra credit is designed to help bring students who have been trying in the past to further bring their grades up. It’s unlikely that a teacher will assign enough extra credit to change an F to an A.

Following it up and Keeping it Going

  1. Put everything into practice. If you can put everything you and your teacher discussed into practice in the long-term it’s likely your grades will improve, stay good and get even better. While you’re at it, stay on your best behavior for a while: participate in discussions, don’t interrupt anyone, and don’t chitchat with your friends. Teachers will be much more sympathetic to a hard working student who is struggling to achieve good grades than one who gets by doing as little as possible.
  2. Take it outside. Keep up the good work and be organised and enthusiastic about learning outside of the classroom. If you are able to evidence outside learning in a classroom, and demonstrate enthusiasm and interest in a subject it will set you apart from your classmates. By doing more reading around topics you will find that you have more to contribute in class and that will make a very positive impression on your teacher.[6]
  3. Plan your time and organise yourself. Bad grades can often be a result of rushed work, hasty last-minute cramming, or poorly thought out projects. In order to make it possible to improve your grades, a good step is to make sure you avoid these frantic moments as much as possible. Organise your time and plan your work schedule in advance. This way, if you are struggling with a topic you will have more opportunity to work on it and seek some advice before you are tested.
    • It’s a great feeling for a teacher to see a student improve. Your teacher will be delighted to see your grades go up when you put into practice the things you talked about together.


  • Projects are often worth a huge number of points and bridge the gap between a B- and an A+. Doing extra well on your next project may bring you up to where you need to be.
  • If you are afraid of talking to your teacher, ask a friend to come with you.
  • Sometimes you may have to accept your A- instead of an A+. Did you try your best, but still got a B-? Your best is what matters, not the final outcome.
  • Ask what you are missing and what you flunked and ask to make test corrections.
  • Make sure they are in a good mood and have time to talk to you. Some of them get mad just by you coming to them when they are busy. When you do get to talk, speak in a clear strong voice and sound happy.
  • If you are getting low grades, don't give up. Talk to the teacher to give you extra lessons if the class explanation isn't enough and always practice your lessons alone or with your teacher.


  • If you are waiting until the last minute to raise your grade, it might not work, but you can always ask your teacher if she could give you an extra credit assignment.
  • If your grade is already good (i.e. an A instead of an A+), a teacher may be reluctant to raise it.
  • Be careful about blaming a teammate for a bad grade on a group project; if (s)he finds out, it could make new problems for you.
  • Don't pester your teacher so much that (s)he gets angry. If it doesn't work on him/her, you'll just have to deal with your grade and go with the flow.
  • Think about whether or not you actually need your grade raised. Do you work really hard? Did you cheat or phone it in? Reflect a bit before diving in.

Things You'll Need

  • Other assignments that support your case
  • Parent (optional)

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Sources and Citations