What to do if you get a bad exam result

The worst has happened. You got your University exam results and it's a low mark or a fail. You wish the ground could swallow you up. 

But what can you do? Is it really the end?

Today, I’m going to be talking about a subject that’s particularly topical right now and that is - how to cope if you get an exam result which is not what you expected or wanted.

There's no doubt it can be a real blow if you get your exam results back at University and it’s not what you wanted. If you’ve worked hard and feel like you put your all into it and you get a bad result it can hit you hard.

Equally, if you know you didn’t do enough revision if you crammed the night before or even the week before, and you didn’t do as well as you should have done then you can also feel guilty or angry with yourself.


Stay calm

Getting a bad exam result happens to lots of students. Many students get a result they’re not happy with and use it as an opportunity to grow and improve. It might not be what you wanted, but if you continue at University you can usually rectify the situation. The important point is not to panic – this is not the end of your University career!

Take time to come to terms with your emotions

If you’ve not done well then you may feel sad, angry you let yourself down, or guilty you’ve let your family down. Give yourself an opportunity to come to terms with how you feel.

Be gentle with yourself and try and remain positive. It’s important that you give yourself time. Ultimately, coming to terms with your emotions is the healthiest thing to do, so give yourself some time to lick your wounds and recover from the initial shock or disappointment.

Talk to your University.

You’ll probably want to seek advice from others, but it is essential you speak to your University. If you have got a mark which is lower than you would want to achieve, but still a pass, then your University, especially those tutors who set the exam, will usually be happy to give you some feedback as to what you’ve done wrong, or what you can do in the future.

Your Student Services will be able to signpost you to resources to help you. If you’ve failed the exam, then the first option will be to resit it. Resits usually take place over the Summer vacation, so this means you will take the exam again and get the result over the summer. When you pass the resit you will be able to get back on track in time for the Autumn semester.

The important factor here is to take it seriously! 

If you’ve got a second chance then you need to pass those exams. You need to do whatever it takes, whether that is working on your mindset and having a better attitude towards revision and exams, or whether it is working with a private tutor who can coach you on your revision and exam technique. It’s important you take it seriously and give it another go.

So, it’s NOT the end of the world, although it might seem it at the time. A lot of students need to take resits for one reason or another. Or they have a poor result in one year and come back fighting the next year. If you get a bad result:

  • Don’t think this is the end for you.
  • Don’t think this defines you as a student or a person.
  • Use it as an opportunity to learn and to grow in character.

If you have an opportunity of a second chance then take all the help and advice you are offered!

I hope that you’re not going to need this advice because I hope you’ve done absolutely brilliantly in your exams. But if you do - remember you can connect with other supportive students in the #studywritenow Facebook group and on the joinedupwriting.online website you’ll find lots of resources you can use to improve your revision and exam results.