What to Do if you Fail an Exam

It is some weeks after exam season and you get your results back. You have failed your exam! That moment when you see the results … the ones you were dreading …can be devastating and even discouraging. So then, how can you get back up and move forward in the right direction? I'm going to be sharing some tips on what to do if you fail an exam.

what to do if you fail an exam

Use Your Mistakes to Make Yourself Better

See this as a chance to improve

When you get bad exam results it can make you feel awful. Especially when you know you studied a lot and were feeling confident. However, try not to become so discouraged if you find out that you failed. In fact, failing an exam can propel you to do greater things and achieve greater results in the future.  This will only happen if you try to think positively and use your mistakes to make yourself better.

Review Your Test

A great way to do this is by reviewing your test, if it is possible. Those times when I have not been so pleased with my results I have normally gone back to review my test.  And it has helped so much, each time.

Yes, it may some extra effort and concentration - but it is so worth it.

Many people shy away from looking over their tests because they feel that it doesn’t matter. But the thing is, it normally does. Making mistakes is alright. Making mistakes is even good when you learn from them and use them to improve yourself.

Many times concepts and material from tests will be brought up again, so it is useful when you master the skills and ideas that you get tested on.

Become an Expert by Making Mistakes

Someone once said that an expert is someone who has made all the mistakes in a certain field.  (Niels Bohr)

How much that quote inspired me, because don’t we all make mistakes? However, as the author of the quote appreciated, making  mistakes helps you become better. Mistakes are all part of the learning process.

And the chances are, if you make the mistakes the first time and learn then, you will not make similar mistakes again. This is especially true if you make mistakes the first time you learn something at school. You will have familiarized yourself with what you need to work on, so when the big exam comes you will be safe.  The original fail is a small loss compared to what you will have gained from learning from your mistakes.

Let Your Teacher Teach You

It is particularly helpful if you ask your teacher or an experienced tutor for help. Get an expert to talk you through the errors you made and how you could have done better. Use the resources you have. Make sure you really understand where you went wrong. Because unless you understand and can identify your fault, you could potentially make the same mistake again.

Failing an exam doesn’t mean that you are a failure

Remember, just because you may have failed an exam does not mean that you have failed life.

There are ways to get back up and move on. Many people fail exams every day. Many successful people too.

One exam does not define your whole life so do not feel as though there is no way out. Yes, it may be painful especially when the exam is worth a lot. But there is normally a way out. There are much more opportunities available than what you initially see when you have failed.

Take a Break

When you fail your exam take a break. For instance if you find out that you have failed in the afternoon at school, use the evening to chill out.

Do not work yourself up thinking about how disappointed you are. That is the worst thing you could do at that moment. Accept what happened and then try to let it go.

This may mean planning some entertainment or relaxation to take your mind off it. It's true that people reward themselves when they get good exam results. But hey, just because you have failed your exam doesn’t mean you have to sit at home feeling miserable. No, do the opposite.

  Harboring negative thoughts will weigh you down and drain your  energy. Here is a useful tip: Before you even get your results, assure yourself that you will remain positive no matter what happens.  An exam result does not have to ruin your whole day. Be in control.

Sleep ...

Have a good sleep. Go to bed and free your mind from any painful regrets. Read a good book or watch a comedy beforehand. Then go to bed and sleep peacefully. You can leave all the thinking for later. When you wake up you should feel refreshed- then you will be in a better state of mind to plan ahead. The next day, you can work out your next steps. Then you can think constructively and create an action plan.

Set Goals

When you fail an exam, you know it is time to make some good goals. Think about where you are and how your result may have affected your grades.

Then think ahead, way ahead to where you would like to be. Do not allow room for any subsequent bad results.

Write up a plan of how you will improve and be more successful on your next exam. This may include an agenda consisting of good ways to study and top tips to pass your exam.  You may need to make a timetable clearly stating the times you will study and what you will study.

Your results may be an indication that you need to roll your sleeves up and work that much harder. It does not have to be back-breaking and tiring. If you make a plan of where you need to be and how you will get there, you will attain. Study hard and it will pay off. Step by step, you will sharpen your skills in whatever subject. You will see results that make you proud.

Iron Sharpens Iron

Talk to your classmates who have passed the exam. This relates to the previous tip about asking your teacher for help. Ask your classmates about how they managed to get a good result and ask them to talk you through what helped them. If possible, the next time it would be a good idea to study with such classmates. This way you will learn how to improve your studying methods.

Find out what your options are

Ask your teacher about what you can do next. Sometimes you may be able to retake the exam or replace the 'bad' mark. Or if you are struggling with school in general, ask you teacher for suggestions on how to do better. Your teacher will likely be impressed by your determination to improve and will be more than willing to help you succeed.

The A* student

If you are a student that generally excels at school and exams, you may find a fail very shocking. But it is ok. You are allowed to have less than perfect scores sometimes. Do not feel as though you are ruining your record horribly. Give yourself a break and relax.

Sometimes we fail, not because we do not have the knowledge, but sometimes because we are stressed and anxious. Some exam days, we are just not feeling ourselves. But you can also learn from your errors and watch out for the next time. You will likely pick up your pace and realise the fail was just a one-off.

Thank you for reading my page on what to do if you fail an exam. I hope it showed how you should not get to worked up, but take steps to do better the next time.

This was the last article in my  3 part series about studying for exams. Check out:  good ways to study for exams and  how to stay focused while studying for exams .

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