Recovering from a Failed Exam

Have you recently found yourself rocking back and forth in a dark corner, crying over a test grade? Or perhaps you have found yourself googling: “alternatives to college” while audibly weeping over a marked-up paper. If you can relate to either of the previously mentioned scenarios, this article is for you. First and foremost, know that you are not alone in your struggle! Everyone has been there. Just try to remember that one failed exam is not going to ruin you.

So, how do you dust yourself off and keep sailing after a bad grade has taken the wind from your sails?  

    1.   First, pray. Prayer is never a bad idea, so don’t shy away from asking God to put you in the right frame of mind before the next exam. Start your recovery the right way by meditating on the cross for a few brief minutes to really put your struggles into perspective.


  •   Second, learn from your mistakes. As much as you would like to crumple up that exam and throw it away or, better yet, carry it up to Mordor and destroy it in the fires of Mount Doom, restrain yourself. As daunting as it may be to take out your rage by mercilessly setting fire to this blemish on your record, KEEP your exam/test. You will learn far more from your mistakes than you ever will from your successes.
  •   Third, re-evaluate your study methods. Ask yourself: “What were my study methods for this exam?” And “What would I have done differently?” Try to figure out which methods work best for you, whether it’s using flashcards, repetitious reading, self-quizzing or taking a laminated study guide into the shower.
  •    Fourth, talk to your Professor. Don’t be afraid to utilize your professor’s office hours and ask him questions. It is his job to help you succeed and he has office hours for a reason. Believe it or not, professors don’t put their information and phone numbers on the syllabus because they think it looks pretty at the top of the page; they are hoping you will use it. So, take initiative! There is no shame in seeking help.  Even kings have advisors.     
  •   Fifth, form a plan. Create a study schedule for yourself. This will ensure that you have made time to study the material throughout the week prior to your exam rather than procrastinating until it’s too late.



Now go forth in your optimism my fellow students and apply these tips for recovering from a bad grade and a bruised ego! Don’t allow any single failed exam to get the best of you. Although, if you’re truly consumed by the idea of “failure,” just remember that every “failure” is a stepping stone to success.   


Madeline Q. Smith

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