So, the worst has happened: you flunked a class.

Failed it.


A 0.0 dropped right in the middle of your GPA.

What do you do? There’s great news: despite how you might feel, this is not the end of the world. Not even close. In fact, you have a number of possible ways to recover that F.

1. Make-ups

The quickest, easiest option depends on your teacher’s and your school’s willingness to let you do make-up work. If you fail a class in the fall, ask your teacher if it would be possible to complete make-up work over the winter break. Offer to take an exam early in the spring semester to prove you’re up to speed.

Sure, it’s not the most relaxing way to spend your winter break, but devoting a couple weeks to getting your GPA back on track is absolutely worth it. However, don’t bank on this approach: it’s up to your teacher and school whether you can use make-up work to recover your grade.

2. Second-Semester Redemption

Some schools allow students to pull up their fall grades in the spring. Ask a teacher, counselor, or principal if your school would allow you to use the average of your fall and spring grades to apply to both semesters. Your progress in the second semester can demonstrate that you’ve caught up on what you were lacking in the fall.

But be careful: you’re going to have to really, really work for it in the spring, especially since it’s likely you’re behind if you’re starting the year off with an F. You’ll have to devote yourself to better study habits, and you might want to pursue tutoring outside of school.

3. Credit Recovery

The most common method students use to make up an F is to take the class over again, and the most common form of credit recovery is summer school. I know—not the best way to spend your summer, but there’s no easy solution. 

Today, there are online options, such as Elite Open School’s credit recovery courses, which use direct-video learning and interactive teaching methods. Here is a list of Elite Open School’s course offerings for exam preparation and credit recovery. Courses like these can be taken after school, during vacation breaks, or over the summer. Additionally, most Elite Prep branches offer blended-learning courses for credit, which combine the flexibility of an online course with in-person tutoring and support from Elite teachers. If you’re interested in learning more, just contact your local Elite Prep location.

4. Use an F as a Learning Opportunity

Finally, the best way to deal with an F is to make sure it never happens again. 

The number one method I recommend for ensuring you never fail another class is to communicate with your teachers. Speak to them after class about whatever struggles you’re facing. Ask them for tips on studying and taking better notes. 

The vast majority of teachers want to help you, but you need to communicate early and often that you want and need help. This goes beyond classes you might fail.

Want to succeed in high school and college? Talk. To. Your. Teachers.

A failing grade can feel disastrous. But with the right moves and little determination, you can bounce right back and get that GPA where it belongs. Good luck!

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