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You are watching: What happens if you fail a final exam in college


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A fail exam can come as a shock however shouldn"t define your entire semester.Avoid the temptation come quit a subject or neglect studying because of one negative grade.Use the endure of failing one exam as an possibility to work on her weaknesses.Remember to continue to be calm and also ask her professor because that advice on just how to improve.I quiet remember the sinking feeling in my stomach my very first year of college as soon as our TA handed ago our inorganic chemistry midterms. Together a straight-A college student in high school, ns dreaded the assumed of failing one exam.

When I lastly worked increase the courage to look in ~ my test, I witnessed I"d earn a 61 — a failing class — follow to my chemistry professor.


What i did following was a vast mistake: I placed the test away and decided best then ns was poor at chemistry. A year later, I"d provided up top top my organic sciences track and moved over to the social sciences instead. Thanks to hindsight and also my experience as a professor, ns now recognize what ns should have actually done differently.

Rather 보다 taking proactive steps, I merely ignored the negative grade. Below, we"ll go over exactly how to stop making few of the typical mistakes if girlfriend (like me) have actually failed a test.

Failed an Exam? 5 essential Steps to Take

Almost every college college student receives a failing grade in ~ some suggest during their program. Whether you forgot to research or merely don"t recognize the material, failing grades happen. So what can you carry out if you receive a low test score?

1. Don"t Panic

If you"ve always done fine in college — or even if you haven"t — a failing grade can come as a shock. College classes raise the bar top top expectations, and many first-year students struggle to store up. In 2019, nearly 1 in 4 first-year students decided not to stay in college for your sophomore year.

This is why the first step to take if you"ve fail a check is to stay calm. Instead of panicking or falling right into a spiral of test anxiety, take a deep breath. Failing qualities are part of college, and also an F top top a test deserve to teach friend a many — however only if you"re ready to learn.


2. Very closely Review your Exam

When ns failed mine chemistry exam, i barely looked in ~ the test. The large red ink in ~ the optimal told me everything I needed to know. However that strategy meant absent out ~ above a vast opportunity.

Reviewing her test is the best means to recognize your strengths and also weaknesses.

Reviewing your test is the best way to recognize your strengths and also weaknesses. Walk you miss out on points because that not showing your work? perform you need to bring in an ext examples in your essays?

It"s also feasible you"ll determine an error in your score. As a professor, ns graded countless blue publication exams. In a handful of cases, I added up the total incorrectly. The said, avoid searching your exam because that every possibility to pick up one extra point. Countless professors will certainly regrade her exam if asked, yet they additionally reserve the best to reduced your original grade.

Rather than trying come raise your current exam score, emphasis on the following test — even if friend failed a final exam. In the long term, you"ll get much an ext by finding out from her failing grade than trying to get an extra allude or two.


3. Make a Plan

As a professor, I discovered that among the most painful moment in class was handing back exams. Some students looked at your grades and then immediately tossed their blue books in the trash. I constantly wrote comments and also feedback top top every exam, and those college student missed out on valuable information come raise their next test scores.

Not all graders leaving comments, however you need to still take it notes as you review your exam. As soon as you"ve scoured the test because that information, you can start making a plan for the next one.

Treat the exam like an assignment: Dissect it, analysis it, and also draw beneficial data native it.

A test score offers an useful feedback on your study skills and your preparation for class. Go you spend too lot time examining a concept that didn"t come up on the exam and also not sufficient time on the material that showed up on the test?

In my history classes, I separated in-class exams right into short-answer identification questions and also long-form essays. Plenty of students were stronger on one component than another. Understanding your weaknesses deserve to tell you what to do in different ways next time.

Maybe you must drill the vital terms much more or emphasis on creating a solid thesis statement. Treat the exam like an assignment: Dissect it, analysis it, and draw useful data from it.


4. Go to Office Hours

Plan to attend her professor"s office hrs as soon as feasible after you get your exam. Prior to that, though, make certain you very closely review her failed test and also bring it v you. I still psychic a student who cried in my office hours since she"d received a low grade on an test — and she hadn"t also seen it. A girlfriend picked increase the test and texted she the score.

Ask her professor for tips on how to enhance for the following test.

Approach office hours strategically. You"ll acquire nowhere by insisting ~ above a higher grade or through complaining the you shouldn"t have actually failed. Instead, emphasis your attention on preparing because that the following exam.

Ask your professor because that tips on exactly how to enhance for the following test, and see if they have the right to offer any kind of tips concerning review sheets, research guides, and/or examine groups. Also, questioning if you have the right to email inquiries while you examine for the exam.

Going come office hours deserve to be intimidating, specifically if friend haven"t excellent it before. Yet most professors want to aid you succeed and also are happy to talk about study approaches.


5. Prepare because that the following Exam

A failure exam have the right to feel choose a large blow. It deserve to even reason test stress for the next exam. But shot to stay concentrated on the ultimate goal: mastering the material and earning her degree.

Instead of wallowing, prepare because that the next midterm or final. Carry out the brand-new study methods you learned in office hrs or acquired by dissecting your previous exam.

Set aside an ext time come prepare because that the exam and attend any review sessions your professor offers. Professors regularly drop hints around the product that will present up on the test during review sessions.

Focusing top top the following exam move your attention from an area in i beg your pardon you have no control — the failing great on your last exam — to an area in which friend do have control: her score top top the following test. Emphasizing improvement can also assist rebuild your confidence.

Recovering strong After a fail Test

No one wants to failure an exam in college. But instead that falling into a spiral of me doubt or rage at your professor, learn from the experience. I gave up top top chemistry an extremely quickly after one fail test. With more confidence and also practice, I can have turned that exam into a learning opportunity.

Don"t let a single F define you as a student. In college, together in life, you"ll constantly face setbacks. Learning just how to gracefully respond to failures will form your future much more than a negative grade.

Feature Image: Neustockimages / E+ / Getty Images


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bsci-ch.org is one advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and also all college search, finder, or complement results room for colleges that compensate us. This compensation go not affect our school rankings, source guides, or other editorially-independent info published top top this site.

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