How to Come Back Strong After a Failed Exam


At some point during your time at university, chances are you’ll receive a bad grade or even fail an exam entirely. However, this doesn’t mean all is lost and you have no chance of doing well in the future. Here are a few things you can do to come back strong.

1. Work Out Where You Went Wrong

When you receive a failing grade, you’ll likely feel all sorts of negative emotions, such as disappointment and frustration. It’s important to give yourself time to process your feelings, but then to move on and take a more objective approach. Try to figure out exactly where you went wrong — whether it was a lack of understanding of the material, a particular mistake you made, or even not dedicating enough time to studying before the exam.

2. Talk to Your Professor

If you received feedback with your failing grade, make sure to read it carefully. All the same, it’s worth visiting your professor during office hours to discuss the exam in more detail. This is especially important if you’re unclear about exactly where you went wrong. Your professor will be able to point out your mistakes, explain why your answers were wrong, and give you ideas about how to improve going forward, such as the skills you need to practice or the concepts you need to spend more time learning. Reaching out will also show that you’re committed to doing better, which may mean your professor is more willing to provide you with extra support.

3. Maintain Perspective

Although it certainly benefits your GPA to achieve all high grades, each individual grade only has a minimal impact. This means it’s always possible to recover from a failed exam. Since you can’t change the past, the best thing to do is use this as a learning experience.

4. Create an Action Plan to Do Better Next Time

Come up with specific ideas for how you’ll ensure you pass your next exams. This could be as simple as ensuring you spend more time studying by creating a schedule you’ll stick to throughout the semester. You may also find it helpful to join a study group to be able to discuss concepts you find difficult with other students. Alternatively, there may be a specific mistake you made that you can avoid repeating in the future.

5. Utilize Campus Resources

Support at university goes beyond your professor. Take advantage of other resources that can help you with your academics, such as the campus writing center and tutoring services.

One reason you may be struggling with bad grades at university is because you’re not dedicating enough time to studying quietly on your own. This is difficult when you lack your own space at home, as sharing a room with someone may mean you face constant distractions. A solution is to move into Brock University off-campus housing. Foundry Lofts has spacious four- and five-bedroom apartments that are available fully furnished with a desk and chair. You’ll also be able to use our private and group study spaces, in addition to many other great amenities. Contact us now for a lease.

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