3 Steps to Overcoming Exam Failure

It’s summer, but it’s also the end of exam season, when many students like myself are getting their exam results back and planning their next semester. Contrary to my expectations, I did horribly, and failed quite a lot of exams.

I was devastated.

But instead of giving up, I decided to use this as a learning experience. Luckily, I have one session of exam retakes in August when I can try to pass all these exams again. But here’s how I’m coping with failure, and how you can too:

1. Feel Your Feelings
The first and most important thing to remember is that failure is not the end of the world. After I read my exam results, I let myself have a little existential crisis. I let myself cry hysterically. I let myself write in my journal. I allowed frustration, anger, sadness, and feelings of inferiority rush right through me. And after I was done crying, I reminded myself that I’m still alive and I can try again or plan an alternate path.

2. Forgive Yourself
When we fail, we tend to feel frustrated and angry at ourselves, at the institution, and at the world. It’s easy to tell yourself that you didn’t work hard enough, or didn’t pay enough attention, or didn’t communicate and ask your professors and peers for help enough. But you are enough. It doesn’t matter if you don’t feel like you didn’t do your best. Right now, the most important thing is progressing past this failure, and you can’t very well do that if you’re beating yourself up about it the whole time you’re trying to get over and through it.

3. Make a Plan
So, you failed. What do you do next? How can you still reach your goals in spite of this setback? I made a list; maybe you can too. First, identify your goals. What do you want to do? Maybe you want to pass your classes next semester, or maybe you’re planning more long term and you’re trying to get your degree, or get a job in a specific career field. Whatever it is, write down your goals and think about it.
How were you originally planning to get there before this setback? How does this setback change your original plan? After you consider your paths towards success, write down 1 or 2 alternative ways to reach your goal and include minor steps so it doesn’t seems so overwhelming.

After that, it’s just a matter of actually doing that. And actually sticking to plans is something I definitely can’t help you with. Do you have any advice to avoid procrastinating or forgetting about plans?

Published by Alexia

My name is Alexia. I'm a travel, cafe, food, and self care lover based in Ghent, Belgium. I write about how to have a cozy life, including cozy video games and cafes!

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