How to Deal with Exam Failure

Exam failure can be very disheartening and frustrating for students, especially when it is unexpected. One single test can be the difference between being granted an opportunity and jeopardising a future. Ideally, we’d ace every exam, but that’s just not the reality — sometimes we fail. Here are some tips to keep moving forward when we don’t get the result we’d hoped for.


Let it sink in

It may take a while for you to comprehend that you have failed an exam. It is important to simply give yourself time for the news of your failure to sink in and try not to let your mind start racing or catastrophizing. A good way to stop this from happening is by talking to people.  Talk to your family, talk to your friends, discuss the options you can take now that you’ve had your exam results back. One thing you must remember, is that failing your exams is not the end of the world. Remember to focus on yourself and to not compare yourself to others.

Cheer yourself up and quiet your mind

Once you hear the news that you have failed, you have a thousand thoughts running through your head. Firstly, clear your mind. Calm yourself and do your best to think rationally. The best way to do this is by taking a walk, hitting the gym, meditating or taking some slow deep breaths. A good way to distract yourself is by doing something you enjoy. 


Explore your options

Now that you’re feeling better about your exam result you should be able to think about the future, discover what your options are and take positive action. In some cases, you may be able to retake the exam within a few months. This would mean, if possible, taking a look at where your weaknesses lie and reassessing your exam strategy. In other cases, there might be alternative routes or ways around the exam that will still get you where you want to be. Take the time to look at all these options and decide what is best for you. 

Never give up

It may sound cliche but it is so important to have faith in yourself and in your abilities. Try to separate the failure from who you are.  Just because one exam went badly, doesn't mean you’re now a failure. Think of other things you’re good at and what you’ve achieved lately to avoid letting a bad exam knock your self-confidence.


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