Exam results: what to do if you don't get what you hoped

Exam results: what to do if you don’t get what you hoped

Hands up who’s had a bad exam at uni. Chances are, that’s everyone. We all have results that are way below what we hoped. Getting exam results is terrifying whenever. Getting your first results at uni can set the course for the rest of the year.

Some people get motivated to work harder, others know exactly how hard to work to get the grades they want. Some people, myself included sometimes, just freeze. Guess which approach isn’t helpful. Whether or not you got the results you were hoping, here are my tips for how to cope with January exam results.

I think I failed my exams…

Stop thinking about uni and exams for a minute, and take a breath. Now go and do something you enjoy. When my best friend didn’t think she’d done as well as she hoped, she came to stay at my uni for a weekend. We got too drunk to go out, and just ate pizza and played beer pong with my flatmates. She says it was exactly what she needed to take her mind off things. Whether you want to drink, eat good food or blow off steam going paint balling, do something that will remind you that there’s more to life than exam results. Take it from someone who really messed up her first lot of AS exams. Give yourself some time to focus on other things.

Exam results: what to do if you don't get what you hoped

I need to resit…

Get hold of all the important information about resits. Find out when they are and whether they are capped at a pass. Then, make a plan to revise the material and start learning. Start with what you do know. Recap what you’re confident at now, rather than the things you might forget by resits. Break up your revision into manageable chunks of one to two hours a week for now. Speak to your tutors about topics you really struggle with. See if your SU or student learning team are holding any sessions to help with exam practice, study techniques or de-stressing activities. Just don’t let your current modules slide as they are your best chance to up your overall grade for the year.

Exam results: what to do if you don't get what you hoped

I passed, but I’m not happy with my grade…

Don’t panic. Resits at my uni are capped at 40 so if you get higher than that then resits are useless. Focus on second semester exams and work 20/30% harder than you did. Try to work out why you didn’t do so well. Maybe you left revision too late, or used a new revision technique that didn’t work for you. Use this time to find what will work for you. If you take a science or similar, go over the material from last semester anyway. You’ll probably need some of the skills and information later in your course. Keep focus on your new modules though, this is your chance to really show off your hard work. Averages over the year have the power to really pull up your grade.

Exam results: what to do if you don't get what you hoped

It’s not the end of the world

I promise, one failed exam will not ruin your degree. If you’re really struggling, or feel really down, talk to friends or family. A lot of people will understand what you are going through. Don’t be afraid to speak out if it’s getting too much. If you know a classmate is struggling, or had a bad result, be there for them. In the infamous words of High School Musical, we’re all in this together (sorry).

Exam results: what to do if you don't get what you hoped

Rebecca Ford

Student Advice Writer. Rebecca studies English at Keele University and writes a weekly advice column for First Years.