Termly review: 9 Questions to ask yourself so you improve your grades next term

The autumn term is over. You might have dumped your school bag in a corner to be forgotten until the night before you go back in January.  You might be busily drawing up a revision plan for the mocks that you're taking in January. Or, you might be wondering ‘Where are the mince pies?' and rushing to the next place offering to serve you mulled wine…

Whatever you're up to today I want you to take one hour to yourself to answer these 9 questions. I promise you that if you take the time to think through your answers and properly reflect on last term you will improve your grades by Easter.

Improve your grades

The questions are below but if you download the sheet I've prepared for you you'll have a handy place to answer them all (there's also a bonus task which I haven't included in the blog post…).

So, download your question sheet, make yourself a comforting mug of hot chocolate (and maybe grab a mince pie). Put on some relaxing music and shut yourself up where you won't be disturbed. Then dive in…

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9 Questions to ask yourself so you improve your grades next term

1. What achievement are you most proud of this term?

It's really important to start with the positive. Focus on what you've done well and you can build on it next term. Here are some ideas about what you might have done well:

  1. Packed your school bag every night so you're not rushing around like a mad thing the next morning.
  2. Put your heart and soul into a piece of coursework and got a really good grade.
  3. Done five minutes revision every day.
  4. Started reading around the subject you want to study at university.
  5. Eaten healthy snacks every break time.

For me, the thing I'm most proud of doing since September is my last three blog posts:

I  was very hesitant to write the first of these but it struck such a chord with you and my other readers so I was encouraged to write more in that vein. I feel like I've made a leap from helping you with ‘How to' type posts to actually helping you with the mindset that holds you back.

2. What are you a little bit of ashamed of from the last term?

Sometimes we try to hide our own shame even from ourselves, particularly when we know in our heart of hearts we haven't been doing ourselves justice. Are you a little bit ashamed of:

  • Your notes being an absolute mess
  • Your lack of effort in a particular subject
  • The fact you've got an overdue library book festering in the bottom of your bag
  • Not being honest with a teacher about why you handed a piece of homework in late

Before you can improve on something you have to be honest about what's going wrong. So ‘fess up, even if it's only to yourself.

What am I ashamed of from the last term? I'm not entirely sure actually. Maybe it's my inability to stop eating sugary things, and now the mince pies are calling…

3. What was your best piece of work this term?

Have a look back through your folders or books and discover which piece of work earned you the best mark. Then answer these questions:

  • What went into making it the best piece of work?
  • What about this piece of work and how you did it could you replicate in future peices of work?

You need to learn from what you've done well so you can do more things well.

I think what I've done well since September is to continue to listen to you and my other readers and incorporate your questions and ideas into my blog content. That's why it has resonated so much with you.

4. What was your worst piece of work this term?

Again, have a look back through your folders and find out what your worst piece of work was. You might already know without looking! Once you've found it, answer these questions:

  • What went wrong? If you can't answer this by looking at your teachers' comments or from your own understanding then you need to ask your teacher.
  • How could you stop the things that went wrong from happening next time? So, if you know you didn't put enough effort in, how do you make sure you do next time? Maybe it's about planning the right amount of time in to make sure you've given it your best.

5. What good study habits did you stick to last term?

Good study habits are the foundation of success. If you have good habits they will serve you consistently to help you get A-mazing grades (and that's what I want for you). So, what good study habits did you have last term?

6. What bad study habits got in your way last term?

Bad habits are hard to shift. If you've got bad study habits now is the perfect time in the school year to 1. recognise them and 2. change them. Ask yourself:

  • What are your bad study habits?
  • How are you going to replace them with good ones?

Check out How to Create Better Study Habits that Work for You to help you improve your study habits.

7. What are you going to start doing to improve your grades next term?

Is there anything that you should have been doing that you're not already? What is it and how are you going to fit it into your life?

It's futile to think to yourself ‘I should be doing that…' and not having a plan to make it work. Often though, having a plan to do something new is as much about getting rid of something that's not serving you…

8. What are you going to stop doing so you can improve your grades next term?

In a recent Get Motivated! session I was talking to a sixth form student. She realised during the session that she was doing too much out of school – playing in a band and working – and those things were preventing her from focusing on her studies. She made the decision to drop some of these activities so she'd have more time for her studies.

I don't want to sound like Mrs Misery but sometimes you have to give stuff up to achieve your dreams. Take a look at your life and see what isn't helping you to improve your grades and get rid of it. You'll thank me in the long-term!

9. When you look back at Easter how will you answer these questions?

It's really powerful to think about what you want the answers to these questions to be when you look back on the spring term. If you write down the answers you want to give now you'll stand a much higher chance of actually achieving what you say you want to do.

Over to you…

Download the free workbook and print it out. (Remember there's a bonus task that's not included in the blog post!)

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Shut yourself in your room with a cup of hot chocolate and your favourite feel-good music. You might even light a candle. Take your time to think through your answers to the nine questions above and write them down.

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When you're done come back here and share with me the answer to one of the questions in the comments. I want to hear what you say firstly to keep you accountable and secondly, so I know what you're working on and how I can help you in the coming term.

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