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  • Paul Oluwadare

Going into final year with 'bad' grades

Studying during the pandemic was hard. Many students- myself especially. Motivation is lost, as is the joy of studying your chosen degree. No matter what, there was a breaking point you could not push past, which inevitably results in poor grades. For a lot of people, the immediate response is work harder and improve, but there are some key points you need to understand before preparing for the final push for your degree.

If you are trying to organise yourself and prepare for the final year of university purely from a place of panic, it will not work, and you will be more stressed through the whole year. This is because the preparation or plans your putting together, are made with the intention of not failing, rather than getting the best grades possible.

A way to avoid this would be to look over any feedback on assessments, (good and bad) and find any consistent areas of weakness. Work on trying to improve these areas before the academic year begins. The decrease in stress will allow more time to improve gradually, and apply more of the feedback into side projects or day to day activity so they become a regular part of your work when the next year starts, and not a concern.

Take your time thinking about how and why you want to improve; so the plan that is created is best suited for you and not another high achiever with a social media presence. Taking inspiration from people that are doing better and trying to help is always a good start but copying exactly what worked from them is going have a negative effect on you as a person because the moment your grades or results do not improve the way the influencer said they would you will likely give up a lot faster.

Instead use the tips and tricks that will work best with your lifestyle. Doing this creates studying methods tailored for you that also are highly effective. This decreases the probability of giving up as your plan would allow you to take breaks and fit in other things you enjoy in healthy doses. Personally, I am going to do more reading and note taking ahead of time so my essays are more focused, and I can spend more time watching TV or socializing.

The pandemic was one of the biggest factors that affected many students as it spawned blended learning which influenced students’ grades, motivation, etc. Understanding the factors that are a large contribution to your learning and grades will help in understanding which factors need to be reduced or increased. So, you can be more focused, prepared, and calm when working. Factors such as the type of friends you spend lots of time with, how your work space is organised and what is on your mind.

Finally, and most important in my opinion, start early and seek help as soon as possible. Many students will be instantly overwhelmed due to the academic pressure that will come with the final year of university, especially when essays, coursework and dissertation deadlines are all around the same time. The best way to deal with this would be to start all work a couple of weeks before it is formally announced. Personally, I never feel like I have enough time when assessments are introduced which leads to me rushing and pulling all-nighters, which caused sub-par work and disappointing grades.

Starting any work weeks before it is announced allows you more time to create stronger, more nuanced points and time to spot any mistakes or key areas missing a lot sooner. Starting early allows for you to get help from tutors, lecturers, and other students about any part of your work that you are stuck on, especially if you have no idea where to start. Getting help allows you to see where you are going wrong, and address it quickly.

In conclusion, I am not guaranteeing top grades from these tips, as I am working on applying them for my course and my workflow. But, taking time to understand different changes that could improve your grade will make the year a little easier to manage.

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