Failing an exam is not the end of the road in life

A man sitting outside in the dark




Sometimes, it is very difficult to predict the outcome of your exam whether you are in university or in secondary school. This is why exams are on the most feared things for students.  Sometimes, the worst happens and failing an exam can be one of the worst experiences for a student but one thing you must remember is that failing an exam is not the end of life. There is a saying that“Failure makes you stronger” and that is just the truth because when you fail or lose, it gives you an understanding of what you missed and how you can set your path straight. 

Coping with exam failure

In order to succeed, we must accept that however keen we are, we may at times fail or not achieve the expectations set. And the most important thing to know is to remember that the way of dealing with failure is of most important than that of success.

1. Understand that you are not the only one.

When you realize that you are not the first to experience exam failure, you will be able to avoid worrying and putting pressure on yourself. This would give you the energy to compose, arise and face it head-on

2. Be ready to take responsibility for your failure.

Most of the times, students prefer to blame their lecturers for their failure or any other external factor for their setbacks.  Until a student can take responsibility for his or her failure, the student will not be able to move forward with specific directions, steps, and targets.

3. Don’t see failure as part of your identity.

Realizing that when you begin to internalize failure lowers your self-esteem will help you not to accept failure as part of your personality. Do not let your failure define you as it will weaken your self-confidence. Treat failure is part of your road to success.

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4. Avoid depression. 

Once you begin to notice that you are feeling signs of depression, it is advisable to seek social support from friends and family and, sometimes, medical attention. Feeling depressed after failing an exam is normal but the moment one lets it sink in, he or she worsens the case. Disown the feeling, let it not imprison your thinking and your capabilities. Remember you have achieved many more things in life and this alone cannot define you.

5. Take away negative thoughts.

When you notice you are thinking negatively by beating yourself up for failing, approach this thought with a positive mindset. Think of that day you answered a question and the teacher was impressed. Think of that day when everybody was singing praises of after good performance in class, in games, in innovation, in drama among others.

6. Learn from your failure.

It is advisable to learn from your mistake and move. If you keep judging yourself based on that failure, you won’t get better results next time. Remember where you did it wrong, think of how to make it better by a small margin even if it is 1%, that is plus. Realize all your wrong moves and give them a 1% rise next time.

How to deal with students that have failed

1. Involve the parents.

Involving parents early will give them ideas on what they can do to help their child since the first primary assignment of a parent is to help the child.

2. Teachers should be ready to help students whenever possible.

Every teacher should make it a habit to constantly check on the students that are not performing better in their classes. Whenever the students do not understand, the teachers should make them their top priority so that they can improve.

3. Teachers should constantly encourage these students.

Constantly encouraging low performing students help them build self-confidence and give them a reason to believe that they can succeed.

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4. There should be provision for self reflection.

Preventing these students with a questionnaire on what they think are the causes of their failure occasionally can both students and teachers understand the students’ reasons for failure.

5. Motivation for any positive result

Teachers and parents should motivate such students in any kind of improvement they record. This should be informed words of encouragement, presents, and recognition in class. Teachers should focus their attention not on better forming students but to improving students.

Is exams the true measure of the capability of students in life?

This is one question that has found its way to the hearts of many students and teachers in mainstream discussions and educational institutions. Another way to put this question is by asking “Are examinations a fair way of testing a student’s knowledge?” The fact remains that examination is not a true test of one’s capability and knowledge. Why?

  • Everybody is gifted in his or her own way. There are those that are gifted in academics while there are not that is no but very good in their talents and life skills. For instance, one cannot measure the capability of a fish to move faster by putting it on a track with. Here, the track is a wrong exam to test the capability of the fish to move faster.
  • Most students read for their exams in order to pass so that they don’t fail the course or subject: the moment the exams are over, they forget everything they learned because their focus was only to do well in exams and nothing more
  • Failing an exam may also be because of the prevailing circumstances and conditions. Maybe it should have been scheduled a time when you were sick and you had to do it that way. It may also because you didn’t prepare well for it due to unavoidable circumstances. Therefore, a low performance should not bring your energy down since you are much better when in your right moods.
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Competence and intelligence in academics are not straightforward to measure and no method will fully be able to determine a student’s scope of knowledge and capability. There should be a long line between ability levels, knowledge levels and experience levels amongst students. Exams only encourage practicing past papers in hopes of passing tests and do not actually guarantee that a student has knowledge of the subject. 

In most cases, teachers and lecturers always want their students or pupils to give them what they give and then this leaves us to question what an “examination” really is. If to receive an A requires a correct answer on 100% of the material or textbook, then this means examinations don’t really have many roles to play in testing a student’s knowledge. The most successful people in life are not only the academic giants but even those who have not gone to school also do better in life and lead a happy life. Therefore, there should be better systems to measure the capability of students as exams are not only enough.

However, students should understand that general knowledge is very important in life and this can only be achieved in class. As much as anybody can be successful in life, he/she requires general knowledge to live better and contribute to the growth of society. Therefore, it’s better to talk of performing to onces best (however low it may be) than taking of failing an exam. 




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