Bouncing Back from a Bad Midterm Grade

It’s midterm season! Are you already calculating what your final grade will be?

Being a college student is challenging. Being a college student during a pandemic is a straight up HOT MESS. Are you here to read about that awful midterm grade you got and how to come back from it? Read on.

So you see your midterm grade is not where you want it to be…. and by “not where you want it to be”, I mean this midterm grade negatively impacted your overall grade in the class. How do you move forward from this?


  1. CHECK THE CLASS SYLLABUS. Is there anything in the syllabus about midterm retakes or re-grading? The syllabus is like your contract, or rules and policies, with the professor. It should cover expectations of the classroom, rules and policies around late work and absences, etc. If there’s mention of a midterm retake or regrade, do it! It’s your second chance! If not, go to Step 2.
  2. TALK TO YOUR PROFESSOR. Schedule a time to meet with your professor to talk about how this impacts your final grade and if there’s a way to bring your grade up before the term ends.
  3. TALK TO YOUR ACADEMIC ADVISER. If you’re unable to talk to your professor (but I would do this even if you did talk to your professor) schedule a time to talk to your academic adviser to discuss all options and resources moving forward (i.e. “if I’m able to raise my grade” vs “if I end up failing this class”). I personally find it helpful to know all future outcomes and variables and how it impacts you, your education plan, and your funding source (if not paying out of pocket for classes).


Getting a bad midterm grade can feel like a giant hit to the gut. It makes you feel awful, especially if you studied forever to do well. Recently, a lot of students mentioned motivation vs discipline. Discipline works for some, like my partner, and motivation works for others, like myself. I personally cannot discipline myself into doing work if I’m not motivated also. If you’re like me and you can’t discipline yourself into working harder to overcome your bad midterm grade, read on.

  • PUT IT IN PERSPECTIVE: You’re halfway done with the class! Are you really going to stop now? You’ve made it this far, why not keep going?
  • FIND SUPPORT: Schedule time with friends and/or classmates to virtually study together. Twitch app users do this a lot. They start a live video stream and others join in to just sit and get work done. Usually the entire video is silent with the one who started the live stream either writing, flipping pages, or typing from time to time. Some people find this helpful, and I would even say it can be motivating and helpful to stay on task.
  • PLAN BREAKS: Schedule virtual lunch time with friends. Set a timer for 25 minutes to get stuff done then take a 5 minute break and repeat the cycle. Make a daily checklist of small things you want to accomplish that day. I personally love checklists, they make me feel productive and motivate me to do more. Don’t be afraid to take a short nap or get a snack when needed or wanted. Pick up coloring pages (I have a digital coloring app I like to use from time to time). And make sure to stand, stretch, and move around every so often.
  • FIND INSPIRATION: Listen to a podcast giving tips and advice on productivity, confidence, self care, etc. Find an Instagram user with amazing bullet journal or planner spreads. Watch a TedTalk video. Read a book on motivation, learning, and more.

I know this pandemic can feel isolating. It’s definitely made everything 5 times more challenging… and everything was already challenging to begin with. If you’re still feeling unsure about completing the class and/or think it may be better to withdraw from the class (if you’re in college) please consult with someone you are close to, your academic adviser, and your funding source (if you are not paying out of pocket). Sometimes withdrawing from a class is the best option and sometimes it can cause more harm for future quarters/semesters (especially if you’re pursuing a competitive major like healthcare or STEM). In regards to withdrawing, it’s best to ask about all your options before moving forward and taking action.

Hopefully you found this helpful. If you’re curious about other things pertaining to education and college let me know by leaving a comment or by leaving me a DM on Instagram (@disvillainsscholar).

Good luck!

Published by Kaytie

Disney scholar, mom, educator, and Disney villain fan.

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