When you’re at school, each year brings with it bigger and bigger challenges. The academic work gets harder, and you get asked to make some pretty big decisions about your future too. As if being a teen wasn’t tough enough already.
We get it – whatever you want to do when you finish your exams, chances are there will be grade requirements to make it happen. Whether that’s a conditional university offer, getting a place at your chosen 6th form college or achieving the grades you need to start an apprenticeship. Worrying about your grades means you care, but you shouldn’t let anxiety get in the way of your studies. With a few tactics in place early on in the academic year, there’s nothing stopping you from achieving your goals (not even a pandemic). Here we’ve got 5 key ways to get your worry under control and your grades under your belt.
1. Find out what’s involved
Whatever grades you want to achieve by the end of the year, you should start by taking a look at the full curriculum for all your subjects and topics. These are available on the websites of all the exam boards. When you know what and how much you’ll need to learn, you should familiarise yourself with the assessment objectives for each grade boundary. You should also let your teachers know what grades you’re aiming for – this will mean they can help you keep on track and get to the standard you need to by exam time.
2. Plan out your academic year
Once you know what exactly you need to learn and by when, you should make a study plan for the whole academic year. You can list what modules you’ll be covering by when, and plan when to revisit topics so you don’t forget what you learnt first in the year. When you know what you want to achieve by the end of each term, you can then work backwards and make a plan for what to master by the end of each week (plus any extra reading). Again, make sure you ask your teacher which modules you’ll be covering in which terms, so your study plan can reflect your classroom learning.
For more tips on getting organised, check out our blog 3 ways to manage your time and sort your studies.
3. Get help whenever you need it
It can feel embarrassing sometimes to admit that you’re struggling with a particular topic, or subject, or everything. When you’re learning though, absolutely everyone gets stuck sometimes – and the clever thing is to ask for help. At school, your teachers are literally there to help you learn the curriculum, and you’re helping them by telling them when you need some more help.
Another great person to ask for academic help is a 1-1 tutor – with them you’ll have more time to keep going over difficult topics, and they can adapt their teaching to suit exactly how you learn.
4. Have a plan B in place
As well as keeping your eyes on the prize, it’s important to have a back-up plan if you do miss your ideal grades. You know the saying about putting all your eggs in one basket? Aside from being just sensible, having something to fall back on can actually make you less panicked about missing your target grades – and more able to focus on getting the work done.
5. Remember, grades aren’t the measure of you!
It might sound like the opposite advice to you’re looking for, but pinning absolutely all your hopes, dreams and self-worth on getting your target grades can actually make it harder to achieve them. Grades are one way to be successful, but they’re not everything. By keeping this sense of perspective as you go about your studies, you’re more likely to be kind to yourself and actually achieve your potential as a result.
If you’d like some 1-1 academic help from a tutor who’s been through the same challenges as you in the past few years, our tutors are here to help. They’ll help you work through any topics you struggle with, make a plan for you to work towards your target and build up your confidence. Check them out and find the right online tutor for you here.