Grades

As you get older, your classes will get more challenging. This is a fact of life, but worrying about your grades can cause a lot of anxiety and stress. Everyone can think of more appealing things to do than studying (like hanging out with friends, playing sports and talking on the phone), but the challenge is to learn how to balance your social life with your academic life.

Some of the things that can lead to poor grades are:

Study habits

Good study habits require three things:

Discipline

In order to be successful academically you need to be disciplined about doing your schoolwork. This means:

  • Regular and consistent studying
  • Staying caught up with your schoolwork
  • Fitting studying into your schedule almost every day

Structure

Homework and study time need to be planned and become part of your regular activities. A good way to do this is to create a study schedule and stick to it.

  • Keep track of exactly how you spend your time for one week
  • Write down everything you do such as working, attending school, eating, doing homework etc.
  • Include things like time for relaxing and time for socializing

Once you have a good idea where your time is going it will be easier to schedule your study time. Remember to treat yourself to homework-free days!

Quiet surroundings

Quiet surroundings are important for effective studying. Find a space in your house where you won't be interrupted or distracted by the phone, television, internet, loud music or other people's conversations. Dedicate this quiet space as your study area. If you can't find a quiet space in your house try to drown out the noise with earplugs or by playing soft music (preferably with no words). You may also try studying at the library. Click for more study tips and test-taking strategies.

Procrastination

Procrastinating is when you avoid doing something which needs to be done such as studying for a test or writing an essay. You won't do your best work if you leave everything to the last minute. Some ways of avoiding procrastination include:

  • Setting goals
  • Prioritizing your activities
  • Managing your time
  • Studying in small blocks of time
  • Rewarding yourself for success
  • Removing distractions

Stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety can also lead to poor grades. If you are feeling stressed or anxious you may:

  • Feel irritable, worried or moody
  • Have difficulty concentrating
  • Be afraid of failure
  • Find yourself laughing or crying for no apparent reason
  • Have lost your appetite
  • Have sleep problems
  • Have butterflies in your stomach

Whatever your feelings, here are some ideas to help you cope with stress:

  • Take things one step at a time
  • Focus on things you can do
  • Try to relax, take deep breaths
  • Focus on the present — what needs to be done right now?
  • Take a break and come back to the task when you have cleared your thoughts

Remember, if you are feeling overwhelmed or need someone to talk to, Kids Help Phone is here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Last reviewed: September 2012 by the Kids Help Phone Counselling Team


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