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Anonymous sophomore student asks:

I’m a Sophomore in high school and I’m very worried about my 2.83 GPA and my grades. I try really hard to work on all subjects (even the ones I personally hate), but I can’t seem to reach average level. I know that I sometimes lack motivation for my Math and Chemistry class because I get discouraged when I work very hard and only get back a 68% test score. I’m honestly trying, though. I’m truly not sure what it is that I’m doing wrong, but I’m scared that it might just be a lack of motivation.

How can I get myself motivated to do better in Math and Chemistry? How can I make myself excited to work harder in those classes? I am fully aware that we all have to do things we don’t like in life, but it’s not that I don’t like the classes. In fact, I enjoy my Chemistry and Math class, but still don’t do a good job in either of them. What do you suggest that I do? Also, I’ve searched high and low for answers, but I can’t seem to find good ones. Is a 2.83 unweighted GPA good for a Sophomore? I just want to ask because my GPA has been really stressing me out lately. Thank you for you time.

Our response:

Hi Anonymous

Thanks so much for your comment – we hope we can help 🙂

It sounds to us like you’re not quite sure where you’re going wrong with Math and Chemistry and we think you need to try to identify exactly where you’re going wrong. For instance, is it that you’re not paying attention in class? Or is it that you’re not doing enough study? Or is it that you’re not actually understanding what you’re studying? Maybe it’s a combination of these things?

Ultimately we think you need to also identify what specific parts of those subjects you’re losing marks on (e.g. algebra? organic chemistry?), and make those your focus for improvement. Hopefully you get your tests back and can see where you’re going wrong.

Also, if you identify that you’re not actually doing enough study despite your good intentions, we always recommend making some sort of timetable, because you’re much more likely to put in the hours you need to when you schedule study time in advance. When we’re feeling unmotivated, we study much less because it’s not very often we feel like studying. Whereas if you have a timetable, you’re more likely to study even when you don’t necessarily feel like it that much.

With respect to your GPA, we think for a Sophomore you’re off to a really good start, and that you still have time to improve it — which is a good thing! Lots of students don’t get amazing GPA’s straight away, and it’s normal for you to improve as you get better at studying. So we would definitely not despair! Even though we know it can be stressful, we would try to focus on identifying your ‘problem areas’ (as we’ve discussed above), and we’re sure you will see your GPA head in the right direction.

If you can, we would also recommend having a chat with your teachers about your tests and see if they have any suggestions. They might be able to tell you really clearly what you needed to have written to get a better score, and then you can take that on board for next time. We often found that you can get great insights from teachers just from having a chat about what would make a good answer.

Also, Math and Chemistry are two subjects that simply require a lot of repetition when you’re studying. The first step is to understand the steps required to solve a problem, and then you have to PRACTICE solving that type of problem over and over again until you find it easy. Doing one or two practice questions isn’t enough. Before your tests and exams, WE would recommend trying to complete as many practice problems as you can, because the ones you get in the actual test or exam should be extremely similar.

We’ll leave it there for now, but please let us know if you have any other questions 🙂

It sounds like you’re a good student, so we’re sure things will start looking up for you. Hang in there!!


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