I failed – What do I do now?

Anxiously awaiting the grade from a test, assignment or essay can be stressful. But that stress can sometimes boil over when things don’t go the student’s way. Whether it’s a grade you weren’t expecting or one you thought might happen, failing a subject or exam is never the end of the road. I’m sure we can all agree that it’s never nice to fail or miss the grade you wanted. But what students don’t know is that, in the long run, you might be thankful for the grade.

What’s important to make students aware of, is that it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Yeah, in the moment you might not want to brag about it to your friends or parade your essay around the class, but that doesn’t mean that you’re a failure. It just means that you failed that time – and you’re not the only one. Albert Einstein failed his school entrance exam; Dr Seuss’ first book was rejected 28 times, Walt Disney even went bankrupt and I’m sure if you ask Mum or Dad, they’ve definitely failed something too.

Like anything else, what goes up must come down. Maybe you’ve been riding on a high of good grades and the failed one brings you back down. Or maybe your grades have been progressing each time and suddenly it comes to a halt. Either way, in the end, you missed the mark. Rather than dwelling on the grade and worrying about what it means for the next term or your final grade, think about how to learn from it. Go through the paper, look over the red scribbled notes in your essay or have a chat with your teacher. Assess what went wrong and why.

Once you’re confident you’ve found the issue, come up with a plan. What can you be doing for the next time? Does my sentence structure need some help? Should I go over that equation a few more times? Did I read the question properly? Whatever it is, determine what you think will help turn your sad graded frown upside down. Maybe setting a certain grade as the goal for the next activity will assist in jumping straight back into it.

At the time, it might seem like the end of the world, but you never know, that failure might lead to becoming the next mastermind of physics or even the founder of an empire.  That small little set back might instil a new and greater sense of motivation to get into that degree or top that subject. No matter what your goal is or what your grade was, it’s just another step in your journey to learning.