When you’ve had a bad exam…

So it’s happened. Everything has been going well. You’ve been revising hard, attending the extra lessons. Your family have been encouraging you, the teachers have been telling you that you’ll be fine. You’re actually beginning to feel confident about all this. Then suddenly… Along comes the exam from hell.

 John Kendall, Headteacher, Risca Community Comprehensive School

It can be very tempting to just give up. What’s the point now, you’ve messed it all up. You’ve failed. All the hard work you did was a waste of time. There’s no worth in revising any more.

Take a deep breath. Here’s some advice.

Firstly the fact that you are angry and upset shows something. It shows you care. It may not be a very nice feeling but it says a lot about you.

Secondly, you are not the examiner. Unless you quite literally left a blank sheet of paper you don’t know for sure that you have done badly. If you’ve been listening to other people chatting about their answers which were different from yours, you can’t be certain who was right. Maybe you all were. Maybe it was just you.

Thirdly you may have let one section of the paper leave you feeling you messed up the whole thing. Perhaps it was just a couple of questions you found impossible- perhaps that was 20% of the mark. Perhaps you got the rest right. Perhaps you got 80%…

Fourthly, you don’t know the grade boundaries and pass marks. Maybe everyone found the exam difficult and you’ll find a relatively low score will give a high grade.

The exam which has just caused you to want to curl up in a dark place is unlikely to be the be all and end all. There may be other papers and coursework which will create an overall grade. 

And even if, even if you are right and that subject turns out to have been a shocker for you, remember you’re doing other subjects. Why should they suffer? Indeed, use it as an incentive to push yourself for what is left. You don’t throw all the chips away just because one is burnt. 

Pick yourself up again and get on with the rest of the exams. You can’t let one setback affect everything. Dig deep and show your resilience. Things were going well. They can go well again. They will go well again.

Good luck!