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How Can I Improve My Grades With a Learning Disability?

Getting through school with learning differences is hard. Here's some advice from someone who's had to overcome academic obstacles and improve grades.

Silhouette of person sitting at desk with laptopBarbara Dianis
CEO, Founder
Dianis Educational Systems, LLC
Adolescents diagnosed with dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, or other learning differences may wonder whether they’ll be able to keep up with the work in high school and/or college. I worried about the same issue myself. I was diagnosed with dyslexia at a time when there were few strategies to strengthen my learning. I set out to teach myself ways to overcome my learning obstacles. Through the implementation of systematic educational solutions students with learning can master how to overcome learning challenges.

  • Manage your assignments: One initial way to improve grades is to closely monitor assignment due dates, quizzes, tests, and exam schedules. This will help you stay on track in your classes. Plan a study time to fit the increasing demands of your curriculum.
  • Review instructions: Reread instructions on assignments several times to increase your understanding of the directions. Use highlighters to number each step of the instructions and check them off as you complete them. Many students lose valuable points because steps are overlooked. Color-coding steps can help improve your ability to focus on each part.
  • Closely follow the instructions: Look over the instructions as you go and self-check to ensure you’re following throughout the assignment. Students sometimes begin assignments correctly only to veer off from the instructions without realizing their focus has waned.
  • Expand your vocabulary: Pre-learn unfamiliar vocabulary terms and concepts in class textbooks or online sources to help improve your understanding of new material. This will help improve your ability to comprehend the class instructional lectures.
  • Create small study groups: This can help you prepare for quizzes and tests and teaching your peers can improve your mastery of learning concepts. Try creating chants or songs with your group to better learn concepts and increase recall, especially ones with steps or formulas.
  • Seek out additional resources: Use another learning source to explain learning material that you may be struggling to understand. A different author may use explanations, pictures, charts, or graphs to teach the same concept in a way that may be easier for you to grasp. Then return to your assigned text or online source.
  • Brush up on grammar: Improve your literacy and spelling skills by learning the spelling and meanings of affixes (grammatical elements added to root words change their meaning, such as prefixes and suffixes). Learning affixes can help increase one’s ability to decode and understand multi-syllable words.
  • Do practice testing: Drill test and quiz material in several ways: orally, in written form, and by drawing pictures or listing steps, formulas, or procedures.
  • Make flashcards: These help to review study material quickly. Use them to play learning games to make your review time more entertaining.  

Taking an inventory of your strengths and talents will help you understand that a successful future is possible as you work toward overcoming your learning challenges!

If you’re looking for more academic help, check out more tips and advice with the tag “learning differences.”

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