Failing Exams: Here's What To Do If It Happens To You.

Exams are the biggest buzzkill about college life. I mean why can't we all just go to class, avail of student drinking deals every night and then just never get tested on our recollection of Freud's theory of socialization? The college experience should be one of the most memorable and enjoyable experiences of your life, but then the dreaded exams get in the way and totally piss all over it. What's worse than sitting the actual exams, is failing one. Opening the envelope to see that you're 3% away from passing is an unpleasant experience to say the least. Here's what to do if you do fail one (or three.... whatever) exams.

1) Talk about it.

It may be somewhat embarrassing at first, and you may not want to tell people that you haven't passed. But trust me, it can be a huge help to talk to people about how you feel and ask them their advice about what to do. Talk to your college counsellors, your lecturer or the careers advisor. These people are there to help you through the journey that is college exams. Also tell your college tutor straight away so that they can get it noted and organise the best options for you as soon as possible.

2) Consider Your Options.

Speak to your course co-ordinators in college and see what options are available to you. Some colleges will have the option for you to repeat the exam while others will allow you to carry the module over and repeat it the following year. Or maybe this failure has led you to realise that you're not totally in love with the course you chose (which I feel, you kinda should be). If this is the case, you can look into switching courses to something that you'll be way more interested in.


3) Discover Your Main Interests.

Failing an exam, or maybe realising that your course wasn't what you thought it would be, gives you an opportunity to delve into your interests and see what really suits you. Maybe college isn't for you? Maybe the course you chose doesn't suit your career path? Maybe you've switched your career path totally? Whatever it is, this now gives you a chance to figure out what you really love and do it.

4) Play To Your Strengths.

If there's one thing I can say about college and studying any subject, it's that if you love it, then that's half of the battle won! It's so difficult to stay focused and keep studying a subject that you just have no interest in. It can also be so disheartening to study a subject and find that you continue to fail at it. So find what you enjoy and what you're good at; once you love doing something it won't feel like such a huge task and your grades will improve. It's a win-win situation!

5) Repeats Aren't The End Of The World.

If you're lucky enough to have the option to re-sit the exam and you're sure this is exactly what you want to do, then go for it. Get out those books and ace that paper! Be aware though that sometimes your college may only mark your exam out of 40%, meaning that they will only pass you to allow you to progress into the next year.

6) Let It Go.

Failing an exam is definitely a shitty experience, but it's not the end of the world. As the saying goes 'when one door closes, another one opens.' This failure may lead to you exploring more options, or alternatively it'll show you how determined you are to continue your studies by sitting the repeats. Whatever option you choose in the end, remember not to give yourself such a hard time about this failure, life is all about making mistakes and learning from them!

Justine Halpin Mulligan
Article written by
22 year old Sociology and Social Policy student in Trinity College Dublin. Interests include romantic walks to the fridge and anything to do with elephants. Wants to be a TV personality when she grows up.

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