Poor grades: 4 tips on how you can help your child

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Poor grades: 4 tips on how you can help your child

Are you getting poor grades at school or university? Or perhaps you are a parent who is worried about your child's school career. Either way, in most cases, poor grades have a cause that can be remedied.

Why bad grades are not the end of the world

When their own child brings home poor grades, most parents react with concern, frustration or even anger. The children, in turn, are afraid of experiencing their parents' disappointment or facing consequences (e.g. in the form of bans).

Bad grades are certainly not pleasant for anyone. But they are by no means the end of the world. The grade on the report card says nothing about you or about the personal qualities or even the value of your child. Rather, it is a snapshot of a subject-related level of knowledge. Nothing more and nothing less. You should always be aware of this.

Poor grades despite studying: What's the problem?

Does your child study regularly but still only gets poor grades? There may be several reasons for this. Many pupils suffer from test anxiety, such as current studies prove it. This means that your child cannot recall the knowledge they have learned in the exam situation because they are too nervous. The children affected often complain of nausea, stomach ache or headache before the exam.

In addition to fear of the specific exam situation, school anxiety can play a role in general, e.g. if there are problems in interpersonal relationships. Children who suffer from bullying or feel embarrassed or disadvantaged by their teachers perform significantly worse in class tests. They are so emotionally stressed that they are unable to concentrate on the subject matter.

Poor grades due to laziness: how to find motivation

Of course, there are pupils who simply refuse to learn and therefore perform much worse than they actually could. The term laziness needs to be questioned at this point: Why doesn't your child want to go to school? What is demotivating them? Identifying the cause is the most important approach to supporting your child.

During puberty, it is common for pupils to lose interest in learning. In this phase of development, the focus for teenagers is on finding their own identity and falling in love for the first time. School often takes a back seat on the teenager's list of priorities ...

Punishments and prohibitions are by no means the right way to get your child to learn. Encourage their motivation by emphasizing their talents, encouraging them and praising them for their successes. You should also teach your child that it is not a bad thing to fail. All that matters is that they do their best. Lower your expectations.

poor grades despite studying

Job reference grade 2: Good or bad?

Bad grades can occur not only at school, but also in professional life. However, these are no longer obvious, but are coded in so-called reference language. You should be familiar with this to be able to realistically assess your reference. Negative formulations are not allowed, poor performance is revealed to the next personnel manager through certain expressions.

A B in your reference is a solid performance that will give you a good chance of getting a job. Below we have decoded the common reference formulations for you:

  • Grade 1 (very good): "always to our complete satisfaction"
  • Grade 2 (good): "always to our complete satisfaction"
  • Grade 3 (satisfactory): "to our complete satisfaction"
  • Grade 4 (sufficient): "to our satisfaction"
  • Grade 5 (unsatisfactory): "largely fulfilled"
  • Grade 6 (unsatisfactory): "could not fulfill the tasks assigned"

Bachelor thesis grade 2.0: Influence on career opportunities

There is an unspoken rule in Bachelor's degree programs: Bachelor's theses with a grade better than 2.5 are considered good. So with a 2.0, you definitely have good career opportunities. However, if you have been graded lower than 2.5, it can be difficult. You can find the exact criteria for grading a Bachelor's thesis here here.

What training opportunities are there with poor grades?

A current PISA study shows that German pupils are falling further and further behind in their performance. The next question that arises is the question of training opportunities with poor grades. A poor final certificate undoubtedly limits the choice of career, but there are still plenty of opportunities.

If you are the kind of person who likes practice more than theory, then skilled trades may be a good choice for you. But even outside of the trades, many professions give you the opportunity to excel in creativity, communication skills and dexterity despite poor grades.

Once you have completed your vocational training, your career does not necessarily have to be over. Many trainees who had poor grades at school really blossom in professional life and even complete further training. Sometimes the maturity to continue your education and engage in learning on your own initiative only comes well after school.

How do I explain a bad grade to my parents?

As a student, it is not easy to explain a bad grade to your parents. This is especially true if they are particularly strict. First of all, you should wait for the right time to confess your grade. Telling your parents when they are stressed, tired or upset about other things is not a wise idea.

Also think about what caused the poor grade. If you can credibly explain to your parents that you were worried at the time or were unable to prepare sufficiently, they will be more understanding. Important: Don't make up lies! If you were really just tired of studying, then admit this and sincerely promise to do better.

Applying with poor grades: tips for your CV

If the grades in your school report leave something to be desired, your CV is all the more important. It is therefore advisable to emphasize your practical experience. Perhaps you have completed relevant internships or volunteered in your desired career field. Ideally, you should even be able to present assessments that outweigh your school report.

You should also emphasize your personal qualities. Are you a team player and particularly flexible? Then include these qualities in your cover letter. Special hobbies belong on your CV. In addition to your grades, recruiters also look at whether you fit in with the corporate culture. This is where you can score points with your personality and special interests despite your poor grades.

Dealing with poor grades: Strategies for improvement

Poor grades often have a demotivating effect and make you doubt your abilities. However, this is where a vicious circle begins: if you think you can't do anything anyway, you won't try any harder. Realize that a bad grade is just a snapshot that says nothing about your general intelligence or your value!

The following strategies can help you improve your poor grades:

  1. Set yourself realistic goals that you can achieve in the near future. It will hardly be possible to go from a report card grade of 5 to a report card grade of 1. However, writing a 3 instead of a 5 in your next paper is definitely within the realm of possibility.
  2.  Seek support. There is no shame in taking tutoring. If professional tutoring is too expensive for you, you can turn to successful classmates or students.
  3. Be patient. Especially if there are large gaps in your knowledge in a subject, these cannot be closed overnight.
  4. Don't put pressure on yourself (or your child)! This often leads to you being blocked at the crucial exam moment due to fear of failure.

Why do I get bad grades? Researching causes and solutions

Think about the reasons for your poor grades. Perhaps the teacher is explaining the material too quickly and you are not keeping up in class? In this case, tutoring is a good option.

If the poor grades are due to exam anxiety or other mental stress, it is important to work through and resolve these. Professional coaching, for example, can be helpful for exam nerves. Once the cause has been eliminated so that you can concentrate on the subject matter again, your grades will also improve.

Conclusion: Poor grades are no reason to despair

Poor grades can be frustrating for students and parents. However, it is important to know that the school report alone does not determine later career opportunities! Many previously mediocre or poor students blossom after leaving school, go on to do an apprenticeship, further education or even complete their Abitur via the second-chance route.

Pressure to perform and punishments have a counterproductive effect on academic success. In order to improve school grades, it is much more important to find out the causes and target them.

In our free e-book you will learn how your child can successfully go through the school years with less learning effort and more joy. Learning expert Markus Hofmann shows you 10 tried-and-tested tips that will help you give your child the best possible support in learning. 


The 10 best tips for 
Fun and success in learning

In our free e-book you get 10 tried and tested tipsthat will help you to support your child in learning in the best possible way.
Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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