Often students who don’t do well in a course don’t keep track of their grades. When you talk to a student who has a good GPA, they can tell you virtually every grade that they have received in each class. Students with bad GPAs don’t seem to know their grades. Often they have not even picked up their tests. Also students that don’t keep track of their grades normally stress out more because they are lost and don’t know what is going on with the grades they are getting or what really matters in the class.
There are various ways you can easily keep track of your grades and help yourself stay on top of your assignments. It is important to calculate your grades so you know how you are doing in each of your classes. When calculating your grades, you need to remember that most of your classes will have weighted grades, meaning that certain assignments or exams will hold more value in your grade than others. You cannot just average all of your individual assignment and exam grades together. This is usually expressed by percentage. For example:
- Exams 55%
- Homework 15%
- Final Exam 25%
- Attendance 5%
When you know how you are doing you know what you need to focus on and you know what subjects you need the most help in. If you don’t know how you are doing in your classes you are more likely to be stressed. You might not know that you’re doing bad and by the time you figure your grade out it’s too late to get help or improve that grade. Keeping track of your grades from the start of the semester is important.
Below is just one example of steps you can take to keep track of your grades.
- Keep a record of all assignments required by your professor and when they are due.
- Be sure to complete all required work as soon as you possibly can and turn them in on time. You can even make copies of the assignments to keep a record of when you completed. I know that you will not be getting that assignment back any time soon, you may want to copy it to study from it.
- Don’t throw away any assignments that are returned to you in case they are recorded wrong by your professor.
- Keep track of grades electronically either by keeping them in Excel or Word or using electronic apps such as Grades2.
- Grades2 is a free app for Apple products and is very easy to use. You can plug in the categories of your grades and how they are weighted (e.g. Exams are 55% of your total grade). This is an easy way to keep track of grades. Grades2 can tell you what specific grade you need on a test to do well in the course.
- Update your grade record every time you get an assignment back.
- Check your online grading system (such as Blackboard). Most professors post grades for almost all assignments.
- Use the syllabus and your online grading system to calculate your overall grade for that specific class. This comes in handy when you feel like you might be failing a class and you do not know whether or not to drop that class, or you’re close to a grade you want so you can figure out what you need to do to get that specific grade.
- Of course if you are more computer savvy, you could create a simple grade calculation program in Java using for example, Eclipse or Dr. Java, two free java programming tools. While this is more labor intensive, you could create one program and be able to calculate all of your grades at the same time. If you plan on studying computer science, this is an easy project that would come in handy in school.
Attached you will find a grade reporting template. You will also find a sample of how the template is filled out.