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How to Get the Most Out of Altered GPA Systems During Covid-19

As the longevity of the covid-19 pandemic becomes clearer, school districts have begun to shed light on how they plan to manage grades, GPAs, and class ranks for high school students. Since there is no uniform protocol, plans vary, but the underlying message from many ISDs is that they plan to consider the first semester grades and then some portion of the second semester grades.

The big question is what to do about the grading periods that have been interrupted by covid-19. For those grading periods, a mixture of pass/fail schemes, averaging with previous grading periods, and providing weekly grades have all been adopted. The bottom line is that school districts want students to continue learning and completing schoolwork, even if it must be administered remotely.

If the new grading policies weren’t incentive enough to keep up with your schoolwork, remember that AP tests are still being administered in May. And of course, there is the standard period of summer, when you will be taking a break from school anyway, so you don’t want to add to the “summer slide.”

How do you make the most of the next five months? Consider this plan of action (this is mainly for rising Sophomores and Juniors):

1. For the rest of the school year, keep up with your schoolwork with the goal of getting 90+ grades, even if you are not technically graded on a point system anymore.

You may not be strictly graded for the rest of the school year, but guess what? Grading is going to come back next year, so if you only partially focus on your assignments, or only do enough to get a passing grade, then you will be doing yourself a disservice when it comes time to move onto the next grade level and more advanced subject.

So, imagine you are managing your future GPA by taking your remote classwork seriously now. Think of it as a brain investment. You may not be rewarded immediately with a good grade, but you will thank yourself in August that you kept up your “training.”

2. During April, focus on doing well on AP tests; for pre-AP students, start reviewing the AP test format from previous years.

Fortunately, there is still a major milestone to focus your energy for the next few weeks -- the AP tests. Even though these tests have been reduced to 45-minute free-response questions, colleges have said that they will honor the scores.

Therefore, in addition to your regular coursework, you can also maintain your academic fitness by ensuring you get the best AP score possible. A high AP score is great for college resumes, and it will be proof to yourself that hard work paid off!

3. During May and June, take a personal inventory of what you’ve mastered in each of your core classes and what areas require filling in gaps.

Note: At the time this blog was posted, the June SAT was still scheduled. However, it has officially been canceled.

With the possibility of reduced extracurriculars and research opportunities, you should plan on a self-study kind of summer. This means reviewing your previous year’s schoolwork to keep yourself up on the material, especially since you will have had a dip in the face-to-face daily routine of school.

You don’t necessarily need to retake all of your tests and resolve all of your homework, but you should review your assignments, recalling which areas gave you trouble and also content that was most important throughout the year. Really, any kind of review is better than nothing!

4. During July, prep for August SAT; start previewing your coursework for next year.

July should be the last full month before you start returning to school. Now you can shift your self-study from reviewing into previewing, giving yourself a boost for when the year starts. If possible, start on the summer assignments, and if you know the upcoming year’s schedule of units, start testing your proficiency in those areas.

The next SAT is in August (hopefully), so you can also start cramming, especially because once school starts, you are most likely going to be really busy getting back into the physical classroom format.

Now is the time to practice self-sufficiency. You can do it!

B2A is still open during shelter-in-place measures and as ISDs have turned to online coursework! We are happy to help fill in the gaps through our own online 1-1 tutoring, enrichment classes, and test-prep classes. We know that the past month has been a shock to the system, so we want to help you keep focus on your academics with quality instruction! Also, we are registering for Summer - eliminate the summer slide and start preparing for next year!

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