Failing An Exam

Failed. This is the only word I am able to see on my exam. Everything else is blurred. How could this happen? I am shaking right now. I feel like I failed my entire life.

I am studying law at a Swiss University and would have achieved my bachelor degree in a year. Yes… would have… Now I have to repeat the failed exam and due to overlapping courses I have to extend my studies for one additional year.
But actually, it does not matter where and on which level you study, because regardless of which school or class you attend, failing an exam feels most of the time the same.

If you were unable to pass a test there is this feeling of humiliation. You feel in a way degraded. The simple and logic conclusion that comes to your mind is that you are insufficient. You are faulty. You are worthless. All this sums up to a powerful feeling of devastation and in this very moment you just want to give up and leave everything behind. The question arises automatically: Why did I fail the exam? I know that I worked hard! But even in my learning phase I still had a sinking feeling that I have not done enough and sadly the test result has proven me right. The reason why one fails at an exam is individual. There is no general rule that determines your cause for not passing the test. But now it is important to learn how to deal with it.

After you have wallowed in self-pity for two days or even more, there is a moment where you have to leave the sad feeling behind and look forward. And yes, it is totally okay to feel blue for some time… there is on purpose an emphasis on “some time”. Because there is no point in being sad and disappointed for weeks. Life holds too many beautiful things to waste your time in self-pity. But now, how does one cope with it?

There are several points one has to keep in mind. And hopefully, my tips will help you to deal with the failed exam or the bad grade.

  1. Do not panic: You are not the only one who failed. Forgetting the thought that you are the only one who has a bad mark helps in several ways. On one hand you get out of your self-pity and on the other, you realise that you are not the only person who has to cope with it.
  2. Speak about your feelings: It can really be helpful if you have a good friend who is understanding and just listens to your thoughts about failing the exam. In addition, this friend could motivate you and help you trying to see the positive side (this step is really hard… I know…). But support from others is really important.
  3. Learn from it: One is always wiser after the event. It is a stupid sentence because one hears it just too often. But with that hindsight allowing you a more realistic perspective you may be able to even see the new positive paths open to you. In my case, I am now able to retake the exam and achieve a much better mark. Revising your exam is a helpful step.
  4. Have a bit of fun: Do not be tempted to drown your sorrows. Take a break from wallowing and think about all the future fun activities. Enjoy the little things in your life. For me personally I like to take a walk and relish the beautiful nature.
  5. Stay ambitious: Don’t shy away from future success. Don’t give up on every hope and dream, and moreover don’t be scared of tests and exams yet to come. As time goes by, you, as a person, will change and your views on life will change. Whatever your future may hold, you have learned how to deal with the unpleasant feeling one gets when things don’t go the way they were planned. This is a success on its own!

And keep in mind: it could be worse……always!


Originally posted on Medium

7 thoughts on “Failing An Exam

  1. Pingback: Life Update | afortnightaway

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