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School & Grades
Are you having trouble in a certain subject or with a certain teacher at school? Are you nervous about an upcoming project, or going to a new school? Read what our Mentors and experts have to say about this topic.
Advice Topics:

Advice Questions about School & Grades:

  • GOI try to be fairly well organized. I keep both a weekly planner and monthly calendar. The only problem is this: I often forget to update both of them. In fact, I sometimes even forget that I actually have them. I am determined to write everything down in them and don't like the idea of keeping appointments and stuff in my head. Do you have any advice on how to remember to regularly update my planner and calendar?

  • GOI need to break my bad habit of procrastinating! I don't want to procrastinate when I hit 8th grade. How can I stop?

  • GOI'm having a problem. I'm missing assignments and permission slips and such, and I don't know why! My teacher says it's because I'm not very organized. How do I become organized?

  • GOI am starting a puberty chapter in my science class. The thing is that the puberty class has some videos about puberty. Worst of all, the boys and girls are going to watch and learn about it together. What should I do?

  • GOI am starting 7th grade next year, and I am real nervous about lockers. I know they can be a convenience, but how do I open a locker and how can I remember the combination? Any advice?

  • GOI'm starting middle school this year! I'm mostly excited, but a little nervous because I don't know anyone in my homeroom class yet. It seems like all my other friends are in the same homeroom class, and I'm kind of afraid that if they spend a lot of time together, they will forget about me and not want to be my friend anymore. Any advice? Thanks!

  • GOI'm going to middle school next year and I KNOW I'll hate every second of it! For some reason, since I've been reading books about it, I think girls will start talking about dating and boys will start asking girls out. It'll drive me nuts! And plus, NO RECESS! And what really doesn't help is that I'm in the Gifted Program and the Board of Education decided the middle school and elementary school should be put together for safety and convenience. So, I'll be tortured with NO recess while I watch little kids playing on the playground! How come there can't be recess in middle school? What should I do?

  • GOGrades mean a lot to people at my school. Kids are always saying things like, "What did you get for your science grade?" Everyone's so competitive and curious, it drives me crazy. What can I do?

  • GOI got my report card today, and my parents won't leave me alone. I got a D and two C's in math, and they expected me to get straight A's! They are screaming at me about how I don't work hard enough and that I'm spending too much time working on my writing, which I got an A+ in. They just don't understand because they both scored A+'s in every math subject there is, but they failed at any literature subjects. It's not like I don't try, it's just that it's harder then they think it is. They aren't the only ones pressuring me though. Now the entire school is hating me because I destroyed our straight A math roll. It's unfair. Everybody else is great at math and not literature, and it's the complete opposite for me! I want to let everyone else know that writing is still a talent, whether they like it or not, but they won't listen! What should I do?

  • GOI am going to a secondary school the size of a small airport. I'm disorganized and not a morning person. My bus will come at 6:40 in the morning! Any advice for organization, getting a good night's sleep, and how to deal with 7th grade?

  • GOIt's the end of the year, and everyone knows what that means...finals! And what comes with such testing is stress. My grades are all A's right now, and I know if I do poorly on the finals, I'll mess my grades up. I'd love to finish middle school with straight A's, but it's difficult! I took my first midterms this year, and I did okay on those. What can I do to lower my stress level and end middle school with a bang?

  • GOMy parents are grade freaks! Getting a B will usually get them disappointed in me. I stress because I know if I get a B I'll be in trouble. Getting a C will usually get them yelling at me. And I don't want to know what will happen if I get a D or and F. Then by getting such good grades to please my parents, kids pick on me! It's really stressful and puts a lot of pressure on me! Please, please, please help!

  • GOI'm going into 7th grade and I was so excited when I got my schedule but when I found out who was next to me (for lockers) I was freaking out, it was this girl who I REALLY don't like. To make it worse she's in pretty much all of my classes! She's with the popular crowd and if you mess with them things get ugly fast. What should I do?

  • GOI've read all your links about going into new schools, time management, if teachers don't like you, etc. It's helped a lot, but I'm still a little scared. At my school they have uniforms. But the uniforms are really dorky, and there are more boys than girls; it's a private school and I've lived in public schools all my life, I don't think I'm going to fit in!!!! It's also a lot smaller than my old school. Do you think gossip and rumors would travel faster because it's small? Could you give me some more tips on this kind of situation?

  • GOI am a smart person who studies, but when it comes to test day I know everything until the test hits my desk. How can I prevent losing all the information I studied all week?

  • GOThis year I just started high school. I dread going. Every morning before school, I feel sick and after school I worry about the next day. I don't want to go and feel like I would do anything to get out of it. I can't really be specific about what I'm afraid of! Getting lost in such a big school, being late, forgetting to do homework or study, and all sorts of things. I've been given advice about handling stress and have been told a million times everything will turn out okay, yet I still feel sick and nervous every school day. What can I do to make my "school sickness" go away? Please respond!

  • GOI'm finally going into high school. But when you're going into high school, you seem to be influenced to do things. I have a few friends who say that I spend too much time with my nose in a book and that I seemed depressed and I need to start dating. Truth be told, I have had a couple of guys look at me and ask me out. My parents don't think that I should rush into things, and I completely agree with them on that. But with me getting older, I'm wanting to get my first kiss and meet a nice guy that likes me back. But I need to keep my grades up, so I can go and visit my dad over the holidays, so I feel as if I don't have enough time for it all. Please...can you give me any advice on how I can work this out?

  • GOI have this really big problem about oral presentations in front of the class. I usually get so nervous that I cry, and it is very embarrassing! I NEED YOUR HELP!!! PLEASE!!

  • GOI'm in the sixth grade in elementary school and going to the seventh in a junior high school. What I am worried about is that I want to do volleyball and track, but I don't want to lower my grades by taking all my time doing sports. Right now I'm an A Honor Roll student, but last year I got into karate and my grades started lowering and lowering until I quit. So what should I do? I don't want to get a bad start. Thanks!

  • GOI'm in 5th grade and I really HATE doing any kind of homework! My mom is on my case about it all the time. I forget my books when I have to have them to study for tests the next day. I don't write down my assignments like I need to. She is always telling me to do these things but it seems like I can't remember any of it at the end of the day. I would rather be drawing or playing. She asks nicely for me to bring my books home, but I forget and then she gets upset, grounds me or takes the things I like away from me. I learn for a couple of days but then it's right back to forgetting.

  • GO"At school, we are learning about the male reproductive system. It's hard for me because I don't feel very comfortable, especially when the teacher says the body parts. What should I do? I know I have to know this lesson because there is a test."

  • GOI am in 7th grade, and I am in pre-algebra. At first, it was okay, but now we're getting into stuff like finding the surface area of a triangular prism, and I have no clue how to do that! I have always gotten straight A's, but we just took a test and I got 47% right! I told my mom and dad that I don't understand this, and that I need to go to regular 7th grade math, but they haven't done anything about it! I've even asked everyone in my family for help, but no one can do this math! What should I do?

  • GOI've always been really good in school with honors classes, and so have my friends, but now I am going to high school and I am afraid everything will become too hard, and I wont be able to have a balance between my social and school life with my family and work too. How will I be able to deal with all that? Please help.

  • GO"I always wait till the last minute to do a project. We have two weeks to do our report, then its due on Wednesday. I'm always up late Tuesday night finishing it. Please help me!"

  • GOInstead of hating my teachers, I really like them. My math teacher is really nice. I like her a lot. And she told my dad (who is a teacher at the same school) that I was kind-of a teachers pet to her. I go up to her classroom almost every day after school for one reason or another just to be there. See, there was this one teacher last year who helped me with this big problem with my friends, and my teacher this year has kind of the same personality. I keep on thinking about how I never want this school year to end because I like this teacher so much. It's kind of a hard situation. I guess what I am really asking is: is it okay to like a teacher this much? Should I let her know how much she means to me now, at the end of the year, or not tell her at all? Thanks for listening.

  • GO"I always turn in my math assignments, but my teacher always says that I didn't. What should I do?"

  • GO"I am a horrible math student. I really try, and I understand it when the teacher explains it, yet I always forget. Plus, I got a C. My dad says he'll ground me if I don't get a B. Anyway, he tries to help me with my homework, but he doesn't know how to do it either. How can I remember how to do the problems?"

  • GO"In my school, sixth grade is a part of elementary school. I heard scary stories about middle school, and my sister is no help. I am scared the eighth graders will use their size to bully me."

  • GOSamantha and Alexandria are both nervous about the jump from elementary school to middle school.

Dear IML,
I need to break my bad habit of procrastinating! I don't want to procrastinate when I hit 8th grade. How can I stop?
--Liz, 13

The IML Mentors respond:

Dear Liz,
Hmm, eliminating your habit of procrastination during summer is a toughie when there isn't much work to do. But I do have some tips. First, think about why you procrastinate. Are you afraid of failing the assignment? Do you not have enough motivation, or are you easily distracted? Second, work in a room with no distractions. That means, no television, videogames, noisy siblings, etc. Turn off anything that might divert your attention. Third, set small-scale deadlines for yourself. Now that we have the basics, here are more tips: For large projects, break it up in pieces; don't do everything at once. You should tackle each piece separately. Even if you can withstand four hours of hard work, don't! Work in small, one-to-two-hour blocks and allow yourself to rest for fifteen minutes or so in between each stint. If you are finding that writing an academic paper is difficult, try writing the easiest part. This also goes for complex projects; start with the easiest part and build it up from there! You can also enlist the help of others. Make a harmless bet with your friends or family that you will finish a particular project by a certain date (i.e., If I do not finish writing this paper by three o'clock Sunday, I will let you play my DS). Or, you can have them help by having them remind you to get back on task if they find you roaming around in the kitchen or they see you online. You should follow these tips constantly to be rid of your habit. Good luck!
--Angelie, IML Mentor

Dear Liz,
To be honest, it's easier to break the procrastination habit when you get into high school, because you have a bit more choice about taking courses you want (and when you take courses you like, you're more likely to want to do the work). Until then, the easiest way to avoid procrastination is to make a schedule and then stick to it like glue. If you set aside, say, 6pm until 8pm for nothing but homework, then make sure you stick to that and don't let anything else get in your way. When you're doing homework or studying, make sure that you clear your study area of any potential distractions (like books, television, a laptop or phones); it will help you stay on task. Avoiding procrastination is very difficult, but if you put your mind to it and remind yourself about how important school is for your later life, you can do it!
--Sarah, IML Mentor


Dear IML,
I'm having a problem. I'm missing assignments and permission slips and such, and I don't know why! My teacher says it's because I'm not very organized. How do I become organized?
--Annie, 12

The IML Mentors respond:

Hey Annie!
I'm the exact same way, actually! It's not always easy to become organized, but with a good attitude and an open mind, you can do almost anything! First, consider talking to your teacher about how ways to get organized; since she knows you and your schoolwork, she may have some really useful ideas. Also, try carrying a separate binder for permission slips or memos that need to be taken home. Posting sticky notes inside your locker is a great way to remind yourself to take home books for studying or about field trips as well. Finally, you could try carrying around an agenda or exercise book that you can use to write down any homework you were given. Good luck!
--Nikola, IML Mentor

Dear Annie,
You might want to sit down for an hour or two and take a garbage bag with you. Then you should throw out everything that isn't important for you to have -- stuff like old notes you passed with your friends -- and go to work organizing the rest of it. Ask your mom to buy you some file folders, or make some yourself out of construction paper. Label these folders with things like "homework," "school notes," and so on and so forth. Once you've done the easy part and gotten yourself organized, make sure you stick to it; that's the hard part! Make sure that every night you take at least five minutes going over all your stuff and making sure that it's in the right place. Trust me, once you get organized life gets MUCH easier! Good luck!
--Sarah, IML Mentor


Dear IML,
I am starting a puberty chapter in my science class. The thing is that the puberty class has some videos about puberty. Worst of all, the boys and girls are going to watch and learn about it together. What should I do?
--Shruti, 10

The IML Mentors respond:

Hey Shruti!
So when I was going through the puberty chapter in school, I thought I would never get through it. What I did was sit with a whole bunch of my girlfriends and we sat separate from the boys so we could focus. We eventually accepted that it was just a fact of life that we were learning and it happens to everyone, so there was really nothing to be embarrassed about! The chapter shouldn't last that long, and you’ll learn a lot!
--Natalie, IML Mentor


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