Failing an exam is never a good thing. I know, I have failed a couple myself. When you get the results, and you haven’t made the mark, there is no way to convince you that it isn’t that bad. That feeling at the bottom of your stomach, and in your heart of the wasted time, effort, and money is proof enough that failing is terrible.
I received an email from a student who was really depressed about failing her exams (yet again!), she was particularly bitter because all her mates, with whom she started the exams have all moved on.
‘We take the same classes, study the same way, but yet I’m the only one who keeps failing...’
My first reaction was to tell her to persevere and she’ll get there in the end, but I’m glad I didn’t. If we fail at a task, or an exam, one of our first reactions is usually to compare ourselves with others, and wonder what went wrong. However, (In my opinion) it is the cowardly way out to assume that since we did the same as others, failure was as a result of forces outside our control.
We often compare ourselves to others without considering the difference in our situations. Yes you are both taking the same exams, but that’s where the similarity ends, and unless you spend every moment with each other, or are conjoined twins, you cannot with all certainty say ‘we study the same way’.
In my response to her, we went through the possible causes mentioned in why students fail exams, and her study techniques, on which she raised the following points:
‘My friends and I all study together twice a week for about 3 hours‘ – Clearly this isn’t working for her. She has been in 3 different study groups (the other members pass, while she has failed). I’m sure the other members of your group do more than the 3 hour group study. Failing the same paper thrice, may mean that 3 hours isn’t enough. Also, can you honestly say that all 3 hours is spent on the subject, and not chatting? Do you honestly focus on the paper for the whole 3 hours?
I feel bad because my friend/other members of my group study don’t take the exams as seriously as I do, yet they pass…I deserve to pass even more than they do‘ – She really need to let go of that sense of entitlement, and focus on her studies, not her friends.
Your result is based on your efforts, not what you think you deserve. It is pointless wasting energy on other people’s results, and how you are so much better and more deserving than them. Perhaps having an honest conversation with friends who passed, asking them to point you in the right direction could help.
No student wants to fail, but when it happens, it is natural to feel bad about it, but don’t dwell on it. In the case where a student repeatedly fails, the best way forward is to develop new techniques, study habits, learning methods. Ask those who passed what worked for them, and consider how this can be applied to in your case.
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