Your teacher is passing out graded tests...you just received a dreaded F. Panic mode immediately sets in and for the rest of the day you struggle to focus on anything but that F. If you're anything like me, this is a pretty good picture of how it all goes down, especially if this is your very first F. Of course the goal is to never be the recipient of an F but life happens and after all, we're human. The question is this. How do we deal with the F and how can this experience actually be a benefit? I've got a Top 10 Checklist you'll want to save...just in case!
1 - The moment you realize an F is your grade, go ahead and take 5 seconds to let it sink in, then put it aside like you would push the vegetable you hate most aside on your plate. Let it Go for now...we'll circle back to this issue later. This task is easier said than done, trust me! However, if you just do it and focus on the next class or assignment. Be in the moment of what's happening now. Why is this important? If we place all our focus on the F, we miss other key moments that take place in the rest of our day. We can't change the F, we can't rewind the day, and we can't teleport somewhere tropical so we might as well just let it go until we can really deal with the why's. You'll be surprised to find that there can be lots of why's.
2. When you get home from school, take the time to really figure out why you did not do well on the test. How? Keep reading...
3. Can you honestly say you studied enough? Did you go into the test feeling like you knew the material? When you were answering the questions did you feel confident in your answers? If your answer is YES, it's possible you did not truly understand the material. Every teacher teaches differently and I've struggled learning from some but not others. One trick I learned is to take GREAT notes! Take your notes to the teacher and ask how you could have studied better. This is not lame - it's your grade! (More on this info below) Cramming for a test is never a great idea. Go over your notes each day and allow your brain to slowly collect the info and let it sink in. This works!! If your answer was NO and you obviously needed to study more but struggle with good study habits. Phone a friend!! I always loved studying with a friend AND studying by myself. It really helps break up the study times and I have found that my study friends can sometimes understand the material in a different way so we both win!!
4. Did you struggle comprehending during class? I certainly have and it's not uncommon at all. Like I said in section A above, notes are your best friend. Sometimes there are lessons that don't sink in and it feels like you're drowning. When you're feeling this way, don't let it slide...get help asap! The longer you wait, the harder it is to catch up. Ask your teacher if they can take a few minutes to explain the missing pieces. Use the phone a friend trick. There's no shame, I promise. Remember, the goal is meeting a test that seems familiar.
5. You did NOT study. OK, this is totally on you! Lesson learned...study for all your exams whether you think you need to or not!
6. You studied your best. You thought you knew the material BUT the test had questions that were not on the study guide or in your great notes. Is this a TRICK? Kinda... You will have times that this happens. Have you ever found yourself walking away from the test questioning where some of the questions came from? Some teachers are a little tricky by re-wording questions and adding questions that might be found in the chapter but wasn't discussed in class. Takeaway lesson: READ the ENTIRE chapter and take your own notes! It's never a waste of time and sometimes can save you from the F.
7. What happened? I knew the material AND I studied!! Sometimes, tests are just hard no matter how well we feel prepared. Ask your teacher what the average grade was in the class. Sometimes everyone, even the smartest in your class bombed the test. This might not change the F but it can bring perspective to the situation.
8. My parents are going to be so MAD! Sometimes, the worst part about failing a test is having to tell your parents. Be honest and talk it out. All parents react different to bad grades and I always feel it's super important to have respectful discussions. If you're having an issue focusing and retaining information in class and you're struggling in the study department, ask for help!! Learning to study can be frustrating and stressful. Having a positive attitude is a great start and if you're reading this blog post it's obvious you care. When you struggle, life sometimes feels like it's piling up around you and closing in. Don't allow this to happen. Reach out to anyone willing to help. I used to make flash cards for all my classes and ask my Mom to quiz me. Super helpful!!
9. F's are Stressful! It's over and done. You've worked towards figuring out the why's and now it's time to look forward. Continuing to stress over it won't help anything. Take time to do something you love. Whether it's a bubble bath, a long walk, exercise or cooking, just do it! Take your mind someplace happy and know that there's always tomorrow to start new. Don't continue to beat yourself up...it's one grade!
10. HELP is on the way! I can't end this without offering some of my fave resources. YouTube can be your new study buddy along with these awesome links. Now, go out there an ace your next exam! You got this - XO