April 27, 2021 by

My phone lights up and dings on the dining hall table next to me. When I am eating with friends, I try not to look at my phone at all, but this notification caught and held my attention. It was from my professor whose class I had just completed an exam for that morning. I opened the Canvas app to view my grade. My shaky hands forced me to place my phone on the table to be able to read it. My jaw dropped as I saw my grade. I did not do nearly as well as I thought I had. I continued to have a difficult time in this class. I just could not grasp the material. 

We each have a subject that we find more difficult than others. For me, it is math and raw sciences. That’s okay. We all have our own God-given gifts and abilities. So what should you do if you find yourself in the same situation I was in as a college student? 


Don’t Freak Out

I know this is hard to do. It is easy to start doubting your intelligence and your ability to obtain your degree. It’s easy to assume that you should just drop the class, change your major, or drop out of school. But don’t freak out. I wish it was as easy to do as it is to say.

There are so many resources available at Cedarville for you to get the help you need to pass your class. Cedarville offers resources such as The Cove and The Writing Center, specifically, to help students who need tutoring for a class. Some of these resources include study groups, individual tutors, or other tips specific for each class. Cedarville is not going to leave you hanging.


Talk With Your Professor

(photo taken 2019)

This can be intimidating, but just remember that your professors are people, too. They want you to succeed. The great thing about Cedarville professors is that they are approachable and always willing to help. They love their students, and they love the material they teach. They want their students to love it just as much as they do. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Cedarville professors are very kind and they will not think any less of you or think you are dumb for not understanding the material. 

Ask questions in class, or ask your professor if you can meet to discuss some of the things you don’t understand. Make sure to attend any review sessions your professor has before an exam. It may also be beneficial to you to ask the professor what the best way to study for their exams and quizzes is.


Study With a Friend

(photo taken 2019)

Find a friend who has already taken the class to help you study. They can teach you all of their tips and tricks for studying and can explain any information you don’t understand. Similarly, if there is someone in your class who you know is doing well and understands the material, ask to study together before an exam so that you can double check all of your notes and get answers to any of your questions. 

The Library and Center for Biblical and Theological Studies have study rooms that you can reserve. This makes for the perfect quiet and distraction-free space to study with a group. Sometimes, reserving a spot to study and knowing that you are going there to study helps your productivity and quality of your studying.

When I was struggling with a class, I studied with a friend of mine who had great knowledge of the subject. She was able to answer my questions, as well as teach me how to study for this particular class. My grades improved as did my confidence going into the exam because I had reached out for help. 


Visit The Cove or Writing Center

(photo taken 2019)

The Cove Academic Enrichment Center offers academic peer coaching, math tutoring labs, tutoring appointments, and faculty academic coaching. The Writing Center offers tutoring appointments to help enhance your writing skills and help you produce the best paper you possibly can. 

There is no shame in seeking help from a tutor. Smart students seek help because they recognize when they need it instead of settling for a poor grade or pressing through on their own. You are not a terrible student because you need a tutor. Great students use all of their resources.


Don’t Give Up

Exhaust all of your resources before you even consider giving up. It is easy to just throw in the towel, but it is always more rewarding to press on, work hard, and earn your grade. 

Completing even the smallest of assignments can improve your grade. All of those 10-point reading assignments can add up quickly. Turning in your assignments on time is also an easy way to gain points. Take advantage of any extra credit assignments your professor may offer. 

It’s also important to remember that one bad grade doesn’t fully reflect your level of intelligence. It only shows what you know about one specific topic, not everything you know. Also remember that if you already knew everything you needed to for your future vocation, you would not need to be in school. You are here to learn and you are not expected to know everything on the first day of class. 

That one poor exam grade really discouraged me at first, but I was able to use the resources Cedarville offers and improve my grade. My confidence in my studying skills improved as well, which has helped me with other classes. If you need to, take advantage of Cedarville’s resources. You won’t regret it.

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