How to pick yourself up after a bad exam
It’s your worst nightmare. You’ve been studying hard for months to do well in that Biology exam. You’ve made flash cards, revision posters and mind maps. You’ve tested yourself endlessly and got others to test you until their eyes are rolling with boredom. And don’t even start on the past papers – they’ll need to plant a forest to replace all that paper you’ve used.
Despite all this hard work the exam went really badly.
The questions weren’t like the questions on the past papers. Your table was wobbly, but not as wobbly as your state of mind: you had a bit of a panic in the middle and couldn’t calm yourself down, even with that deep breathing technique that you normally use.
You’re distraught. You’ve been looking at the unofficial mark scheme for the exam and you just know you’ve failed. But, you’ve got another exam tomorrow, and the day after, and you’ve somehow got to pick yourself up and carry on.
How to pick yourself up after a bad exam
1. Let the emotion out
It sucks when you’ve done badly at something. Particularly when you’ve thrown your heart and soul (as well as the kitchen sink) at it. When you suspect you’ve done badly you need to give your emotions some space to come out.
So, whether you want to sob into your pillow or scream from an isolated hill top, do it. You’ll find it very hard to get on with revising for your next exam while you’re trying to stifle negative emotions.
2. Pick yourself up again
Once you’ve let that emotion out you need to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back to business.
The key here is to remember that one exam is not the be-all and end-all of this exam season. You’ve probably got loads of other exams and you really don’t want them to go badly too.[clickToTweet tweet=”One exam is not the be-all and end-all of exam season.” quote=”One exam is not the be-all and end-all of exam season. ~ @LucyCParsons”]
So, clear your head and get back to work.
3. Don’t keep thinking about it
Once you’ve let the emotion out you need to move on. One of my little nuggets of wisdom is that you should focus on the things you can change and forget the things you can’t.[social_warfare][clickToTweet tweet=”Focus on the things you can change, not the things you can’t. via @LucyCParsons” quote=”Focus on the things you can change, not the things you can’t.”]
And when I say don’t keep thinking about it, that also means stop obsessing over the unofficial mark scheme. Unofficial mark schemes are not for go-getting action takers. The thing you should remember is that they’re unofficial. The official mark scheme is a working document that is altered and adjusted as the highly experienced markers mark exam papers from thousands of students across the country. There will be a lot of difference between the official and unofficial mark schemes. Only a fool obsesses over something that’s rushed out within hours of the exam. But I know you’re smart, so move on and don’t look at it.
4. Try to put right what went wrong
If you can easily identify what went wrong in that dud of an exam then try and put it right. Maybe you can tell that you didn’t do enough past papers. Maybe you know you didn’t cover the whole syllabus in your revision. Maybe you know you left your revision too late.
Try and rectify what went wrong as far as you can in the time you’ve got left before the rest of your exams.
5. Wait until results day to find out how you really did
Do you know what? You might spend the rest of the summer stressing over an exam that you thought went badly but actually be pleasantly surprised by your grade.
Whatever grade you get it’s a total waste of your time and energy to stress over something that you can’t change. Try to channel your energy into something more positive and productive.
When you do get your grade you can make informed decisions about what to do next rather than imagining worst-case scenarios and results day armageddon.
Don’t let one bad exam ruin exam season
I hope these tips help you to move forward from having a bad exam and still make the most of all the exams you’ve got left.
If you want to make sure you never have a bad exam again check out The Extraordinaries Club, my online hub where I show you how to study successfully for ALL your subjects.
Question: Have you ever done badly in an exam? How did you pick yourself up from it? Leave your answer in the comments below – I’ll be sure to reply to you!