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Make use of the knowledge you gain in school

My parents are always shouting at me about my grades. I’m not a smart student; I try to do revision but I still fail. I’ve even approached friends to help me, which they do, but I don’t pass the tests as well as they do. My sister makes fun of me and calls me stupid and now, I’m afraid to take home a report card. What can I do to enhance my performance in class and make my family proud of me? Yours David



It’s not the grade or scores you get in class that make you successful, rather, how you apply the skills gained in class to real life situations and solve problems. Exam results only explain someone’s capacity to remember the taught concept but it has nothing to do with intelligence.


Being smart means making use of the knowledge you have gained in school. In fact, research has it that plenty of successful people out there didn’t actually do very well at school.


However, our current education system emphasises good grades and that’s what your parents look at. Parents invest in your studies because they want you to be successful, independent and lead a fulfilling life. They associate good grades with success in life so when your grades are low, they are worried about your future.

Sit down and discuss with your parents how you’re trying to get good grades. Your parents are just motivating you and will never be your enemy. They will support you and love you all the way so try to look at this from their perspective and offer suggestions on how they can help you improve.

This is important because it tells them that you take responsibility for your actions and that you need their guidance. Help them understand what you’re going through and assure them of your bright future even with your average grades. They’ll be so impressed by your maturity and determination and they’ll not be upset with you.

Remember that poor academic performance can be influenced by a number of factors including teachers, parents, individual intelligence levels and motivation.

Understanding the barriers that hinder you from making progress and knowing what you’re good at in school is the most fundamental step in exploring your academic competences. So be prepared physically, mentally and emotionally and be willing to perform better.

Establish strong lines of communication with teachers and high-achieving classmates to obtain expert advice and assistance to accelerate your understanding of different study concepts and ultimately, improve your performance.

The best way to get out of a failure is changing your mindset about the way you perceive learning and begin to appreciate your weaknesses within your underlying skills to improve your performance. Attend classes regularly and do all the assignments and tests and meet due dates.

Sit towards the front of the class, take notes and actively get involved in the lessons by asking questions whenever you don’t understand. Train yourself to develop organisational habits that will teach you to be a self-managing and organised student, both of which have a great contribution to your academic performance.

While at home, schedule your daily activities and apportion reading time. Eat nutritious foods to boost your brain-body connection and drink lots of water to keep hydrated. You need to re-orient your ambitions to succeed, excel and outperform yourself. That way, you will be on the way to the journey of great success.

Their thoughts...

Alliane Ishimwe, Salesperson
Don’t say that you have done everything and failed – a good student doesn’t stop trying until they succeed. You can improve your grades, what you have to do is to find out why you are failing and work on that. For instance, believe in yourself, work hard, have a positive attitude towards learning and with that, you will pass. Also, keep doing revision with others.

Anick Umubyeyi, Engineering student
Don’t study because of pressure from your family, it won’t help the situation. You need to embrace your inner ability and strength, put in mind that you are not dumb and that you can succeed. It’s doesn’t matter how many times you have failed, keep moving, join academic groups with passionate students, learn from them and don’t be discouraged.

Praise Mutesi, Marketing agent
Teachers will help you succeed; all you have to do is share your problem with them. If you ask them for their help, they will guide you on productive revision that will boost yourperformance. Stay focused.

Josiane Uwimana, Salesperson
Don’t lose hope; it’s not too late to excel like other students. First, list your weaknesses, strengths and make a plan on how to go about each weakness. My advice is that you befriend one or two of the best students in your class and do revision with them, let them be your mentors and you will get better. Most importantly, never stop trying. Smart students learn everyday.

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