How to be positive about exam failure

One of the problems with exams is that every now and again you fail one or maybe two. So what to do?

Well you could tell yourself that the exam was completely unfair, “He/she/the examiner examined something that was not even in the syllabus” a kind of get angry strategy or a blame someone else approach. This can be very effective as it makes you feel a whole lot better. Particularly if you can find someone else who feels exactly the same way. The best thing here is that you are not blaming yourself and so you won’t feel personally that bad.

Another idea is that you think it was a fair exam but have not put the work in, so you deserved to fail. A kind of well what did you expect strategy or yes a blame yourself approach. This also has much merit as although you are blaming yourself you know what to do to put it right.

In fact the best strategies for dealing with exam failure need one or two things, both if possible, one a reason why you failed and second a plan of action to put it right.

The get angry strategy  has a reason why but not a plan of action to put it right, other than to kill the examiner perhaps….The second idea has both, it was my fault (the reason for failure) and a need to work harder next time, a plan of action.

Now there is one last element in all this, do you want or have to pass?

 If the answer is no, then you can follow the I give up strategy. “The reason I failed is because I am not very clever or not good enough or this exam is just too hard for me and my plan of action is that I should give up”. This on the whole will make you feel inadequate lower your self esteem and gives you only one course of action, to give up. To stop falling into a deep depression you can always tell yourself “who wants to be a stupid accountant/doctor traffic warden anyway”?

However If the answer is yes I have to pass, then you need a reason for failure and a positive intention that will mean that you will do better next time.  Positive here simply means something that you can do as appose to not do. Unfortunately this something very often includes the statement “must work harder” or at least smarter.

More on how you can work smarter in latter blogs.

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