I’ve had plenty of uncomfortable and long conversations with office dwellers. If you’re stubborn you can usually get what you want. Image Source

The lady in registration looked at me like I was some kind of a maniac.

I kind of agreed but I tried not to let my face show it.

I had just requested permission to take a double course load (including a class and its prerequisite simultaneously.) The look soon turned into a bit of down-talking to me. She was a bit insulting. I knew allowing myself to react would just hurt my chances of convincing her.

Eventually, she told me, “no…”

Well… fortunately… I don’t take no very well. The next day I asked again. At that point she probably realized that it would be a whole lot easier to let me fall flat on my face. She gave me the okay.

Before my sophomore year in college, I skipped a semester to save up some money. I wanted to stay on schedule to graduate when I got back.

Using a little bit of creativity and a little bit of full-blown stubbornness. I was able to catch back up.

If you’re behind because you made some mistakes in the past then you need to read How Bad Students Become Good Students. You can currently access it free in our members only area. 

Here were my 5 main approaches to ensuring I graduated on schedule:

1. Stay sane

I, for one, think this cow has awfully good tastes. Hence… be being a study blogger instead of a fashion blogger. Image Source

The fundamental problem with catching up in college or high school is staying sane.

What do I mean by sane?

1. Realistic Expectations

When you’re increasing your course load above the usual amount you have to choose between increasing your effort or decreasing your expectations.

I know… everyone wants to think they can just work harder to succeed. After years of experimenting, I say, screw that!

Working harder is an unrealistic expectation for any long period of time. Most people fail at it. Sure… you may succeed but odds are, any successes you have will come as a bit of a surprise. Make your life as easy as possible. Don’t force yourself to work harder. It’s easier to…

Lower your expectations.

Turning an A into an A+ is dramatically harder than turning a B into a B+. This is the perfect test score problem. Higher grades don’t require a linear amount of effort more. They require significantly more effort.

If you typically get B’s in your classes but have to take extra courses, accept that you will get a few C’s. The world doesn’t end. If you typically get A’s then settle for B’s. If you typically get C’s then you may want to put a bit more effort in but honestly, it may be worth accepting you’ll get a D somewhere.

If that bothers you a little then plan to try to improve it but accept that getting a few lower grades is acceptable. It will simplify your whole learning process.

2. Practical course loads

Some things aren’t worth trying to rush. Image Source

I would never recommend trying to catch up while you’re in a super hard course load like medicine. It’s possible but it’s a high risk scenario.

When you decide to push yourself to catch up, you’re taking a risk. If you fail, there is a good chance you’re going to fail badly. It will sting when you realize you’re struggling to pass multiple classes. It’s massively demotivating.

If you have multiple semesters to catch up then consider pushing your hardest courses to a later semester when you can take it slower.

2. Cut the extracurriculars

You can’t do everything.

You only have so much time in the day.

Accept that you have to give up a big chunk of the things you want to do outside of your regular classes. You don’t have to immediately stop them but know that they may have to go as you’re trying to keep up later on. Whenever the challenges start showing up, you need to know what you stop doing first.

Some fun stuff isn’t worth trying to balance into your life when you’re behind. Catch up. Then you can go have fun. Image Source

Extracurriculars aren’t only sports and clubs. I mean everything outside of school should prepared for the chopping block:

  • Work
  • Parties
  • Movie night
  • Anything that’s not super important for school

Odds are, you won’t have to cut everything but be prepared to cut stuff because it’s likely going to happen.

Oh… and if you’re afraid cutting your extracurricular will hurt your college application then be sure to read The Secret To Impressive Extracurriculars (Without Sacrificing Your Free Time)

Hint Hint: Finals time sucks.

3. Maximize your course load (even if they don’t want you to)

I’ve never once filled my schedule but I’ve repeatedly ruined my motivation by overbooking for too long a period of time. Think temporary pain. Not long term pain. Image Source

If you need to sign up for extra classes then do it.

You might need to get permission from someone in registration to take more than 1 or 2 extra classes. Do what you have to do to gain that permission.

If they look at your record and don’t think you can do it, prove to them that they’re wrong. Be polite but stubborn. You don’t want to make them mad but you do want to keep pushing as long as there is hope.

If the don’t trust your past then tell them how your “past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results” (as investing commercials like to tell people.) What you did in the past doesn’t have to be what you do in the future! Tell them why you’re not going to fail. Stuff like:

  • You’re scared you won’t graduate without doing it
  • You struggled to stay motivated in the past but now you’re revved up and ready to go.
  • You got past some tough problem

Keeping up with your schedule isn’t everything. They’ll tell you that. Be prepared to tell them why you need to do it anyway.

4. Constantly prioritize

What is really important to you? This is how you need to decide your time allocation. Image Source

Once you’re in the classes you need to pass, find the most important work you need to do.

When you’re taking tons of classes, priorities are super important.

You only have so much time in the world. By figuring out which assignments have the most impact on your grade you can maximize your points while minimizing your efforts. If 90% of your points come from one area in the class then focus on that area. If almost no points come from some aspect of your grade then skip those areas when required.

By knowing what’s most important, you can easily decipher which assignments are required and which are just good to do.

Most of this can be done using your syllabus.

5. Stay ahead

Test time is tough enough without all seven classes throwing them to you at once. Image Source

Is taking your current classes tough? Well… it’s just going to get tougher.

Classes tend to throw important assignments at you around the same time in the year. Finals are all around the same time. Midterms are all around the same time. Big final assignments are in the same month. Really… near the end of the year, be prepared to use everything you learned:

  • Throw out low point assignments
  • Finish high impact assignments
  • Skip some of the fun things you do for a few weeks.

The best way to make this time less stressful is to keep your grades high early in the semester.

Grades you get earlier in the year will usually be easier than later assignments. So…

It’s easier to average an A by getting A+’s in the beginning and a A-’s in the end than to get A-’s early and A+’s late. Those later A+’s would be much more challenging because they’re based on more material you need to know.

How To Graduate On Time When You’re Behind – 5 Approaches

Take advantage of this discrepancy to stay ahead in all of your classes.

If you do it right then it won’t matter what you get on your finals because you’ll still get a reasonable grade. (Know if your class is an exception.)

You can catch back up to graduate on time. You’ll be facing a ton of challenges but with a little planning, reasonable expectations, and a kick butt attitude you’ll be surprised how many good grades you can still pump out. (You might even want to take more classes next chance you get!)

How far behind are you? Do you think you’ll be able to catch up? Tell your story in the comments below.

How To Graduate On Time When You’re Behind – 5 Approaches


I’m not going to get in trouble again, am I?

Here is the story:

I’m the originator of the 15 Minute Study Strategy – proving you only need 15 minutes of studying each night to academically dominate MOST academic institutions. You may have heard someone talking about it – and it’s easy to be skeptical I get.

It’s a crazy fact that most academics don’t want you to know. And for good reason…

This strategy completely obliterates their systems.

Student’s are supposed to struggle through school. School starts as a training/education tool (around gradeschool.)

As you grow up, it becomes a weeding out mechanism. It’s a system that rewards people for: obedience, hours of work, and unhappy type a’s.

And it’s meant to punish students that are: intellectually curious, motivated, and genuinely smart people.

My strategies BLOWS everything they built apart and it rewards students for smart actions.

It’s not the hours invested as much as it’s the things you do. If you do these things – you’ll get killer grades.

(And that’s why they hate me. Its proves everything they’re doing is wrong – and it forces them to address the truth… Or continue to pretend otherwise despite the overwhelming and increasingly humiliating evidence.)

Are you ready for this?

Let me send you some emails – it’s important we take this one step at a time.

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10 thoughts on “How To Graduate On Time When You’re Behind – 5 Approaches

  • March 1, 2021 at 12:52 pm

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  • January 10, 2021 at 6:53 am

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  • January 6, 2021 at 10:50 am

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  • December 30, 2020 at 1:23 am

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  • August 22, 2019 at 7:39 am

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    • January 23, 2017 at 5:30 pm

      Thanks for the comment.

  • January 23, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    I get the impression all your readers are obsessed with keeping their grades up. All your articles are insanely detailed with small details about how to optimize grades. My way of graduating on time? Not falling behind in the first place.

    • January 23, 2017 at 5:32 pm

      I understand where you’re coming from.

      We do tend to attract students that score higher than usual but volatility happens. I know I’ve had bad times in my life where all I needed was a reminded of what I already knew about scoring high. (Naturally, I try to throw in some of those details to make it easier but most of the readers of this blog already know what they’re doing for the most part.)

      Thanks for the comment!


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