How to tell if your exam didn't go well or if you're worrying over nothing

The line between success and failure can be small. But how do you tell if things really didn’t go well or if you’re just worrying for nothing? We’ve picked out some of the common things students told us could go wrong in an exam and how you can stop worrying about them once and for all!

How to tell if your exam didn't go well

1. Procrastination

The issue: There is nothing worse than staring at an empty white page, desperately trying to write something. Actually, there is – the sound of every other student scribbling furiously while you stare at the clock.

The solutionIf you’re worried you did manage your time wrong, try to objectively assess whether you missed the main points. Rushing an answer isn’t always a bad thing as it may have forced you to be more concise.

2. Waffling

The issue: Sometimes it’s easy to panic and start spewing every bit of information you know about a topic, rather than focusing on a particular passage or point.

The solution: If you’re worried you repeated yourself or didn't concisely answer the question, think carefully about what points you know were relevant, and make a list – you might be pleasantly surprised.

3. Skimming the question

The issue: After several practice essays at home, you might feel fired up when you see a few similar key words in the real exam question. However, if you read it too quickly, you might be horrified to discover your answer wasn’t as great as you first thought.

The solution: Concerned you didn’t read it carefully? Take time to reflect on whether you indirectly referred to the question, and whether or not you’re fretting too much.

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4. Focusing on word count

The issue: If you write a lot then you’re bound to get a good mark, right? Wrong. Sometimes writing to excess can hide good points from the markers.

The solution: If you just kept writing try to mentally count how many times you wrote unnecessary adjectives – that’s words like good, new, first, last etc –  or repeated the same thing.

5. Carelessness

The issue: Worried you actually wrote Romeo and Julie? Or stated the chemical symbol for water is HSBC? You may get away with this as long as you’ve made correct points.

The solution: If you made this kind of mistake repeatedly, the examiner may think you didn’t really know your stuff after all.

6. Repeating what you were told

The issue: While it’s important to cover the key points your teachers told you, it’s vital you also showed you can think for yourself.

The solution: You may be in trouble if you’ve just copied an answer from the internet – exam markers have seen it all before. Try to think about the points you made and how these expressed opinion.

All in all, once your exam is over, there's not much you can do about it. Whilst you may be worried about the result, take comfort in knowing you worked hard and tried your best. 

Remember that exam results aren’t the be-all and end-all. You could still have the chance to go to university, even if you don’t get the results you’re expecting! Find out more about Clearing so you’re prepared for results day. 

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