When you study hard for a test and then open up the results to see that you have failed, the disappointment can be crushing. It is professionally and emotionally exhausting to see your hard work has not added up to the result you hoped for. In the moment, it is all you can do to hold yourself together. 

It is common to experience excruciating self-doubt in moments like these. You panic and think that you may not be smart enough to pass or that you have overestimated your potential. If that is the situation you are in at the moment then sit down, pour a glass of water and take a deep breath. 

There are lots of other reasons that you may have been unable to pass this time which is not a reflection of your potential to pass this or other tests in the future. You know you worked hard but you may not have reached your potential because you didn’t work strategically.

 For example, you may have used only one revision technique. If you only read your notes and textbooks, then you could have missed out on the best learning style for you. Perhaps you would retain information better if you recorded your notes and listened or if you answered practice questions with a friend or a tutor. You should always try to absorb the information in more than one way to make sure you retain it. If possible, try to teach or explain the subject matter to a friend. It will give you practice organizing your thoughts about the subject. 

Next, when trying to make sure that you work effectively, make sure you work over several weeks rather than intensely over a few days or a week. It is common to put in more study hours right before your exams but in order to get a coherent picture of everything you have learned it is much better to learn and review over several weeks. Cramming can reduce the amount you will remember under pressure. Everything you learn will reinforce the other topics over several weeks and you could end up with a deeper understanding of the topic than you would have from a fast and furious session

It is also important to consider your exam technique as well as your knowledge. How you approach an exam while the clock is ticking is a vital part of scoring well.  Plan out your time evenly according to how much credit each question is worth at the start of the test and then stick to your timings as much as possible. Spending too long on a few hard questions could cost you the chance to score well on later questions. 

When you fail, it is not an indication of your capacity. Believe in your ability and optimize the way you study. You can make a few improvements to your technique and then reap the benefits of your hard work.

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