Learning Skills Services, Student Development Centre

Disappointing Grade?

It's not unusual for students to have an academic setback. How it affects your future plans largely depends on how you respond. A low grade or failed course is often a clear indicator that something has to change if your performance is to improve. The good news is that you can start to make changes today. Don't be too discouraged; learn from the experience and be determined to do what it takes to improve your grades. Consider the following suggestions:

Work to improve your test performance

Let's face it, sometimes we don't do as well on a test or exam as we had hoped we would. Typical reactions to a not-so-great mark can include feeling sad or upset, worried or anxious, and even angry or fed up. These feelings are important because they tell us we are uncomfortable, and they can motivate us to work at strengthening our academic performance. The most strategic (and, ultimately, the most successful) students are not the students who never perform poorly on an exam. Instead, strategic and successful students are those who take action by looking for ways to improve their future test performance, especially when they have not done as well as they would have liked. Click here for some suggestions to help you strengthen your test performance.

Meet with one of Western's Learning Skills Counsellors

A Learning Skills Counsellor can help you determine what went wrong and what changes you can make to become a more successful student. There are two main ways to speak with a counsellor:

Other things that you can do to get back on track are attend some learning skills presentations, use the self-help books in our Resource Library, email questions to learning@uwo.ca, or seek out learning skills advice online.

Act Sooner rather than later

The term goes by very quickly. If you have an academic setback, don't wait to seek help. Speak with a Learning Skills Counsellor, meet with your professor or T.A., and, if you're in residence, speak with your Academic and Leadership Programmer.

Extenuating circumstances? If something out of the ordinary interfered with your academic performance, speak with an academic counsellor in your faculty as soon as possible. *Whenever possible, contact an academic counsellor before you write a test or exam if you're sick or experiencing significant personal problems.

Assess your skills

Looking for ideas of what changes you can make to improve your academic performance? Complete the Academic Success Checklist. For a more detailed assessment of your learning skills, send an e-mail to learning@uwo.ca for information on The Learning and Study Strategies Inventory.