How to Recover from Bad Marks

As school finishes for another term and trials are approaching, many of you are facing your most important exam to date. Your trials are probably worth around 30-40% meaning that there is some chance for redemption if you haven’t performed as well as you would’ve liked in a couple of your previous assessments.

Firstly, when you’re in such a situation the best thing to do is not panic and try to keep a clear head. Your life isn’t over and there’s more than enough time to recover your grade from bad to pretty good. You need to put the assessments so far into perspective. If you’ve read the article on ATAR calculators, you’ll know that your HSC has a number of added calculations and your internal marks are only worth 50% of your final mark. This means the effect of all the assessments you’ve done is essentially halved. Moreover, if you do want to worry about something, then your rank is far more important that your numerical mark as that’s what decides your internal HSC mark at the end of the day.

The next step is creating a plan on what you’re going to do next. What I suggest you do is calculate the marks required to reach your goal. To do that you’ll need to follow the steps below:

  1. Write down the marks you’ve received in your assessments so far and the weighting of each assessment next to it. Eg assignment 1, 30/45 25% weighting
  2. Now calculate the percentage you got and multiply it by the weighting of the assessment. Eg 30/45 = 66.66% and multiplied by 25 = 16.66. This means that you got 16.66 marks out of a possible 25. Do this for all your assessments.
  3. Now that you have your weighted marks for each assessment add them together. Eg (assessment 1 = 16.66/25 and assessment 2 = 20/25 so in total, 36.66/50. So now that leaves 50% of assessment remaining.
  4. Now work out your goal mark and subtract the number you got in the previous step from your goal. Eq: Goal = 80%, 80 -36.66 = 43.34. That means to get 80% it is needed to get 43.34 out of the remaining 50% of assessments. If the number you need to get exceeds the weighting of the assessments left then you may need to reconsider your goal mark.
  5. Now set this as a target and work towards achieving it. This will help boost your rank as well as your internal mark.

So now that you have a goal in mind, you may be unsure of where to improve or what you need to do to achieve that mark. Audit and self-evaluate your study techniques, exam preparation and exam technique. This will help you understand why you are not where you want to be and how you can achieve better marks in the next assessment. To address this issue, follow the steps below:

  1. Breakdown your study technique. What have you been doing so far in terms of revision and preparation in the lead up to an exam? What have you been doing when you don’t have an exam coming up? Have you just been doing the set homework, or have you been regularly revising and making a set of notes for you to use later on?
  2. Evaluate your exam technique. Do you set blocks of time during the exam for certain questions? Do you allocate time based on the number of marks per question? Do you know the content well enough to answer each question almost instantaneously?
  3. Audit your time management skills. This ties back into study technique. Are you using the most effective and efficient learning methods when studying? Are you procrastinating too much? What are some ways to combat procrastination?
  4. Write down all your thoughts on a piece of paper and review it once you’re done. After this start making changes to your study routine and learning procedures.
  5. Additionally, if you happen to be stuck with these questions consult your teacher on what they think you could do better. They probably know where you are at in terms of understanding content and they mark you tests so they can help you find out where you are going wrong and how to fix it.

Hopefully these practical exercises help you set a clear and distinct goal to work towards. Remember to contact us for a FREE consultation to learn how to work smart and not harder.


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