Help! My exam didn't go the way I wanted it to.

Help! My exam didn’t go the way I wanted it to.

We’ve all been there. Revised for what seems like eternity. Seen your tutor for what seems like a million hours. Done all the past paper questions under the sun. But then, the exam goes totally wrong. You walk out thinking, why did I put all that effort in?

Sometimes, no matter the effort we put in during exam season the exam just doesn’t go our way. It’s the worst feeling in the world knowing that no matter what you did, the fate of an exam is never 100% in your hands. Considering it’s exam season across the country for all students alike, I am going to offer you some advice on what to do when it happens. Don’t worry, it’s all going to be okay.

Stay Positive.

I know it might sound super patronising but try and keep your head up! At the end of the day, you did all you could. I always tell myself that no matter what happened I tried my best, I learnt all the content I could, and what will be, will be. I know that might seem a bit wishy-washy for some of you, but try and keep your head above water when times get tough.

Help! My exam didn't go the way I wanted it to.

Get a bit of perspective.

Initially, you might be in a tough mindset, everyone is the world’s worst for being hard on themselves after an exam, but afterwards try and get a bit of perspective. Think about the actual reality of actually messing up this one exam. Does it affect your overall degree score? Will it be the difference between a 2:1 and a 1st? How much does it contribute to a module grade? Have you got other coursework/other assessment grades in the bag? I can promise you that by looking at the bigger picture, it probably matters a lot less than you think.

Help! My exam didn't go the way I wanted it to.

Take your mind off it.

This is my last and final piece of advice when an exam doesn’t go the way you want it to. Try and relax: what is done is done. The moment you handed the invigilator back that exam paper it was out of your control. So, celebrate! Do something to distract yourself. Maybe treat yourself to your favourite desert? Buy that pair of shoes you’ve been dreaming about? Go into town for cocktails at that brand new bar? (Nottingham readers: I went to TIER this weekend and it was so, so good).

If you have more exams to sit at least try to give yourself a break. At the end of the day, you deserve it.

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Help! My exam didn't go the way I wanted it to.

Harriet Swift

Employability Writer. Harriet studies English Literature at the University of Nottingham and writes a weekly column focusing on graduate employment.