Exams At Uni

Hello to the lovely people who read this column, 

Welcome to this week’s personal rant that will be coupled with my attempt at some advice on what to do if you are disappointed with your exam results. I am no expert at this and despite being in education for around 15 years, my coping strategies are not in place. So today, writing this column is my best attempt at some some sort of self therapy to prevent myself from crashing, burning and breaking down. 

I came to uni today, a Monday, post reading week ready to smash the week. My birthday was last week (!) and so 20 year old me was ready to hit the second half of term. However, low and behold I get to german and the lecturer has exam feedback slides on the board. The sight of this felt like a strong punch to the gut. To preface, let me state that at school German was always my thing. Literally from year 7 I had it on lock and although there were a fair amount of ups and downs that I had to navigate, compared to my other subjects, German was always something that I could perform to a certain level at. Now, I don’t know whether my beloved german teachers at school were simply gaslighting me to believe that I was good at German or a degree in a language is simply SO SO much harder than I had anticipated, but ohmygod I am going to make the bold statement that this is almost as bad as A Level maths. I feel like despite the effort i’m putting in i’m making very little progress. 

The exam that we are currently discussing was actually one that I thought had gone relatively well. I had my vocab down, even though you now have to pay for Quizlet (!!!!!) and I really thought I understood what the exam was asking for. But surprise surprise my Achilles heel is still the same. Grammar. 

And so when I received my feedback today with the words, “problematic, high level of mistakes” written on the top I felt ready to throw up.  

So what now? 

Well, after freaking out for about an hour, calling a housemate and contemplating whether to call it a day and just head home- I ended up in the library. 

So to preach as much to myself as well as any readers in the same position. A bad exam result doesn’t mean your efforts have gone to waste. Instead think of it as this much beloved meme. 

Don’t give up- you’re so nearly there !!!!! More practise and dedicated time will allow you to reach your diamonds too, so keep going! 

It may also be worth altering what you are doing slightly. Asking for advice on what you should do can really help to gauge how improvements can be made without wasting time, which is why emailing a lecturer is a great idea. 

Email your lecturer for a chat about your results is always useful too. Although it seems so daunting they are ready to offer any advice and help they can- and don’t forget this isn’t school, you are PAYING to be here !! I will be emailing my german lecturer as soon as I finish writing this to discuss where and how I can improve. 

Make sure you also check the weighting of the exam. Under assessments on the moodle for the module or in the unit handbook you should be able to find all this information. A lot of exams this early in the year are weighted a very small amount, so remember that if you stay on the grind you have plenty of time to improve your future results. This information may also help to reduce the ‘freaking out’. Just because you messed up one exam your life and prospects of graduating are not ruined- things will be ok lol. 

Lastly, don’t freakout and give up for a week or two. I used to do this all the time but it just leads to more angst, nerves and disappointment when it comes to the next exam. If you feel you need time to process then take it but start working slowly. The more of a break you take the more daunting the subject seems when you have to come back to it. With languages, 5 minutes of grammar a day is much better than 2 hours once a week, so just try to do a little bit and build it up because slowly you will begin to reap the rewards. Talking to your course mates helps so much too because often there will be quite a few others in the same boat as you. Supporting each other will make all the difference and help you to also keep digging!

So this is me now hoping that I will be able to get back on my grind after writing this, what some may call a bit cringe but I say deeply necessary, column. 

Good Luck! 

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