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How to get over a bad grade on an economics test

No economics student likes to receive a bad grade. But don't panic! In case the test was not your final, there is always room for improvement. We can tell you this: you may even turn the tables and ace that final exam. Still not convinced? Don't only take our word for it.

I kept getting low marks for my economics tests at school. My grades were stagnating like 22 over 50, 45 over 100 and 4 over 20. The final exam was in 3 months and I got really demotivated! I did not give up though. I started making important changes to the way I revised and guess what? I scored an A for my GCSE final exams. Anna - GCSE student > A

You should not be demotivated.

I studied so hard but still got horrible grades for my econ tests. I scored poorly even when I studied the whole night for the test. My final A level economics exam was like 5 months away. I decided to take the risk of completely changing the way I revised and that paid off. I got an A*. Jagveer - A-level student > A*

You should not give up.

My economics teacher absolutely believed I was going to fail. To be honest, I kind of agreed with him. I answered MCQs at random and the essays were a nightmare for me. I never scored more than 5 out out 20, no kidding! But I wanted to prove everyone wrong, so I got serious. I had 6 months to improve. Staying motivated paid off. When I got my final grade, I surprised everyone. I managed to pull out a B in economics. Giyana - A-level student > B

Prove everyone wrong.

So here's what you can do to overturn your bad grades and impress everyone, including yourself.

1. Determine what's causing your bad grades

Identifying the root cause of your poor grades is the first step. It's time to ask yourself some key questions:

  1. Do I have a study plan?

  2. Am I practising enough past papers?

  3. Am I studying effectively? Cramming?

  4. Am I healthy? Am I too hard on myself?

  5. Am I using the right learning method?

  6. Do I have adequate study materials?

  7. Should I seek help?

Create a list of things that can help you overcome the factors that contributed to your poor grades once you have identified their cause.

What's causing my bad grades

What can i do?

​Can't remember what I learnt

Use memorisation techniques when studying (e.g mindmaps, mnemonics ect...)

Having personal problems with my family, friends, myself

Seek help

2. Determine what went wrong last time

The best way to learn is by making mistakes.

Ok. You have scored badly on an economics test, what your options?

Option 1: Give up

Option 2: Learn from that experience

Consider what went wrong last time and how to improve for the next test.

What happened

Why it happened

How to improve

I got only 20 correct answers out of 50 for my multiple choice questions

My notes were not consistent with the questions and It is the first time I came across these types of questions

Find new sources for my notes and practice a wider variety of multiple choice questions

I'm not answering what is being asked in the question

Highlight important keywords and make a plan before writing essay

3. Make a checklist

Creating a checklist can help you in two ways

  1. It will help you understand your study ritual and determine how to improve it.

  2. Ensuring that you do not overlook important things in your study process, exam preparation and practice.

Why do pilots have detailed checklists for take off and landing? Even the ones with years of experience have one. That's because skipping a step is easy but have major consequences (hint: a crash!)

There are several types of checklists you can use for your economics studies

A short-term daily checklist:

✅Read 30 minutes on a chapter

✅Practice 10 multiple choice questions

✅Make a mindmap Repeat this checklist every day. It is way more effective to study one hour a day rather than cram everything the night before your exam.

A long-term checklist of things what to do before your exam

✅Skim my economics notes

✅Memorise important definitions

✅Practice the latest past papers. Twice

✅Motivate myself

✅Double check the date, time and location of the exam

A mental checklist of things to do before...

1. Writing an economics essay

✅ Highlight keywords

✅ Make a plan with bullet points

✅ Define the important terms ✅Make my sentences short, concise and accurate

✅ Add a diagram


2. Tackling an economics multiple choice question

✅ Read the question carefully

✅ Highlight the keywords

✅ Eliminate the obvious

✅ Look for the catch!


Even if you score poorly on your economics tests, you shouldn't be demotivated! It is never to late to change your study habits and ace that final exam!

Take a look at economics resources top grade students use 📖A* model economics essays


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