Have you ever walked out of a test and thought “That exam sucked”? This post is for you if you failed a test or simply did worse than you wanted to.
Whether you put as much effort into it as possible or know you could have studied more, the result still stings and it’s difficult to overcome.
But in my experience, the 3 R Strategy is highly effective for when you get a bad grade. The three Rs are relax, recoup, and rebound.
What To Do When You Fail A Test
First, take a deep breath. Then realize that you’re probably not the only one who did bad on that test and everyone does poorly on an exam at some point. Basically, don’t feel isolated in this circumstance, because you’re not the only one.
Also, realize that you’ve failed in other moments of life and you’re fine today. Think of this recent setback as a similar moment.
Remember, unless you’re going into certain industries, your grade point average doesn’t matter as much as you think it would. If you’re not planning on working in investment banking, consulting, or a top law school, you’re probably going to be fine.
That’s not to say you should slack off, but to say your future isn’t dependent on your GPA.
So, take a break and do whatever relaxes you (nap, talk to friends, workout, eat, drink). Because if you’re not mentally relaxed, it’s extremely difficult to move on to the next steps.
After you have a controlled psychological state, it’s time to regain your direction.
If you did fail or perform under your expectations, then talk to your professor. He or she will have the most perspective on what you did right and wrong this previous time, and tips for studying better for the next exam.
While classmates and friends can be helpful (and I believe you should also talk to them), no one has as much insight as your professor. That’s one reason to be friends with your professor.
Assuming you did study, show the professor exactly what you did and detail how much time you spent. This will give them more information to help you.
Also, try to find a top student in the class and ask them how they study. I will bet that they will be more than likely to give you some advice.
By the end of this process, you want to have answered these questions:
- Did I study the right material?
- Did I study enough in advance?
- Did I study enough?
- What could I do better?
- How did the students who did the best on the exam study?
- Do I need to go to class more?
Now that you’re mentally relaxed and have a greater perspective of what went wrong, start the rebound.
Look at the date of your next exam and prepare accordingly. You can prepare by:
- Executing The Chip Away Strategy to ace an exam and keep free time to enjoy the week
- Using focused preparation to get the most out of your time
- Taking the knowledge you gained from speaking with your professor and top students in the class to improve your study process
- Get refreshed on and avoid these dumb exam mistakes
Don’t be discouraged by your last exam score. Instead, be encouraged now that you have better information and resources to improve.
Getting a bad grade can ruin your present day, but don’t let it ruin your next day. Instead, spend time relaxing, gaining perspective, and then making an action plan to study for the following exam.
A bad grade is a reflection of how you studied, and not a reflection of you.
Grades don’t define you. But, how you move on from struggles can define you.
Lastly, no one became successful without failing. So, you have that going for you!
Click here to get my bestselling college book How To College, so you never have to fail a test again.
P.S. If you want to work with me 1-on-1, go here.