I keep getting a lot more Bs than I want to -- should I be worried, or is this normal?


***Freshman perspective, so take it with a grain of salt lol***  I think not performing at our expected level is a normal thing, and I don't think you should be worried so long as you are taking steps to improve your performance in the future. If you're intent on improving your performance, set aside some time to assess your habits throughout the school year and develop a plan to improve with concrete and actionable steps towards progress. It's not enough to just say "study more";  you should say something more like "I'm going to study five hours more per week." These academic decisions we make don't occur in a time vacuum, so it's also important to tell yourself what you're going to sacrifice to reach your goal. Going back to the above example, you could add: "I'm going to take time away from social media usage each week to study..." or something like that. At least for me, when I perform below my expectations it's reassuring to find areas that I faltered since that means I haven't maxed out all my options for success.

Zesty Zebra, May 18th 2019, 2:44 PM

Generally agree that it's good to be honest with yourself about whether you're investing enough time for each class.  But it's also important to strategize not necessarily for studying longer but smarter.  I think one thing that trips people up once they get to college is that their high school study habits aren't as applicable.  For example, does it make sense to spend time making flashcards if a class tests more for understanding than memorization?  Should you spend more time reading the textbook or practicing problems?  Should you try to grind alone or find a study group?  Should you go to office hours or seek one-on-one tutoring?  Each major/class has a different answer to these questions and it's helpful to gauge the best study strategy earlier on by looking at previous exams ahead of time.  For some pre-professional paths (like law and medicine), GPA matters more than others, but other skills like interviewing/networking/leadership may compensate.  

(By the way, there is nothing wrong with getting Bs, especially if you've just started Penn.  It may seem like everyone else is getting As all the time but this is not true – believe in your ability to improve and at least take comfort in the fact that you're being challenged at a prestigious institution, and other employers/schools know that, too.)  

Friendly Fox, May 22 2019, 1:00 PM