The worst has happened: despite countless hours of taking notes, going over the lecture material multiple times, and burning the midnight oil to study, you still end up receiving a failing grade on your midterm. You immediately go into a panic, unsure of how to feel or what to do next. If you're one of the lucky ones, you'll manage to get through your entire life as a student without failing anything. However, the average student is bound to experience failure at least once in his or her academic career. The good news is that it's not the end of the world—with proper planning and the right mindset, you can easily rebound and even ace the next exam. Here are five important things to do after you've failed a midterm:
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#1 Don't stress
This is going to be hard to do, but it's important that you stay calm. There's going to be some initial panic, but at some point, you need to just stop and breathe. You need to accept that failing a midterm is a perfectly normal occurrence and that you're likely not the only person experiencing it. Yes, it's always disappointing to find out you've failed, but you need to keep in mind that one midterm grade will not dictate your overall success. There's always an opportunity for improvement.
#2 Take some time to grieve
As much as you may want to focus on the next midterm or exam right away, doing so would be a bit obsessive. After finding out you've failed, you're going to be a whirlwind of emotions, and it's never a good idea to make critical decisions or act on anything under that state. The best thing to do? Get your mind off things! Go out with friends, watch some Netflix, or indulge in some dessert—the worst has already happened, so it can only be up from that point on. You just need to take a break and reset before you get cracking on a new plan.
#3 Get a new perspective
Ask yourself: where did things go wrong? Did I study hard enough, or not enough? Did I actually comprehend what I was reading or did I just skim over everything just to say I got it done? These are things you need to figure out before you formulate your strategy for moving forward. Once you understand where things might have gone wrong, you can start to think about where you can do things differently. Sometimes success is best achieved after some trial and error.
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#4 Make a plan and stick to it
Fill out your weekly planner. Set alarms and reminders. Organize all of your lecture sets and modules. You've got a new goal to achieve, and you'll increase your chances of doing so if you remain consistent with your plan. Allocate a certain number of hours a day reviewing the material and working on problems. Do a bunch of self-tests to make sure you actually understand what you're learning. Gather your classmates and work through practice exams together. Use your failure as motivation to do better on the next one.
#5 Use all the resources you can
College and university are often set up to make you feel like you're going through everything all on your own. But you should never feel that way—there are several resources available at your disposal. Your professor will likely have office hours, should you have any questions. Study groups are often formed online and are dedicated specifically to a course or subject. Practice exams and materials are often made available online for students to use as learning aids. Make sure to take advantage of all of these resources as they can make all the difference.