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There Are No Mistakes Only Lessons Essay Scholarships

There is no sense in agonizing over an undesirable grade. You will only waste energy that could be channeled into more productive pursuits.

Now that the grades are in, it is necessary to understand why you earned your score and how you can prevent receiving similar scores in the future.

Here are three things to identify:

1. Where you went wrong

Whenever you earn a bad grade (which we hope is not often), the first step is to figure out exactly what happened that hurt your grade. There may be a simple explanation.

Before looking into deeper reasons, double-check that you followed all instructions. Did you give an answer but forget to explain how you arrived there? For free response questions, did you write the minimum number of required words or sentences? If it was a math problem you got wrong, was your answer in the right format (fraction, decimal, percentage, etc.), and did you include the formula you used? Making sense of certain mistakes can be as easy as rereading the directions.

In other cases, there may be a different reason you earned a low score. Many times, you will immediately know why: you ran out of time, did not study much, or were tired when you took the test.

Try to recall what went on in your mind during the test, as well as what took place the days before it. If you really do not understand why your grade is low, ask your teacher to explain or show you an evaluation rubric that he or she used. You cannot improve on your next assessment unless you know what you did wrong!

2. Why the right answers are right

Aside from understanding why an answer is wrong, you should know what makes another answer right. For example, imagine you took a quiz on the parts of speech. You indicated that “moving” was a verb—and although it can be, on the test it was actually used as an adjective. In the sentence, “Sarah had to go through all her moving boxes,” that word is acting as an adjective to the word, “boxes.”

Go through the answers you got wrong and correct them all. Do not only indicate the right answer, but also give a brief explanation of why that answer is the right one. Simply glancing over your results is not sufficient; you must actively learn from your mistakes.

By taking notes and marking up your graded test, you will be preparing for future tests. In theory, you should be able to retake the assessment and perform much better the second time.

3. What to change for next time

Now that you have reflected on where you went wrong and what the right answers are, it is time to evaluate your plan of attack for next time.

What could you do to improve for the future? Should you try a different note-taking technique, set aside more time for sleep, or attend an extra help session? Do you need to work on time management? Should you have brainstormed for your essay rather than jumping right into it with no thought beforehand? An effective plan of attack will target your weakest areas and identify how to make them stronger.

One of the best ways to prepare for cumulative tests is by dedicating extra time and effort to problematic areas. You can make a review sheet that highlights the areas that were hardest for you, or, you can cut out the questions you missed and paste them into your notebook or another place you will look at when you study. This way, you will not repeat your errors.

Do not fall prey to the exhausting emotions of guilt and regret. Even the brightest of students get bad grades in school. Although you are allowed to mess up, you certainly want to keep bad grades behind you. With a smart and personalized study plan, you are sure to do better next time!

Tiffany Sorensen is a professional tutor and contributing writer with Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.

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Hillary Z. Braintree, MA

Major: Physician Assistant

“It’s an investment and just a few thousand!”


…that “few thousand” turned into upwards of 15, as there were many pre-requisite courses required for my graduate school program of interest — now, with less than ideal debt to limit & income ratios, I’m at risk of being denied private loans for the very education I was charging (pun intended) towards in the first place. This is why you find me here, applying for the “do-over” scholarship. If could do-it-over, I would responsibly research appropriate educational funding, and know the importance of using credit wisely:

Be credit card savvy; shop around for the right card, read the fine print! Know the terms & conditions, charges & rates, expirations & limits!

Create and stick to a budget! Pay attention to where your money is going & plan for the unexpected!

Use cash/debit for recurring daily expenses/things that are not forever tangible (e.g. gas, food, haircuts etc.)

Unless it’s an emergency, or you have the means to pay it off in a timely manner — DON’T CHARGE IT! Stop & think: “What will I have to show for this purchase in the long run!” and “how many hours of work will it take to pay this off?”

Take advantage of secure online banking, track your spending and set up reminders/alerts!

Pay (more than the minimum) on time, every time!

Check your credit report!

Report any lost or stolen cards immediately

Securing your financial future is all about research, budgeting & discipline!