Ask Tré: On Failing Exams


Dear Tré,

I just failed an exam, what do I do?

-Anonymous Reader

Dear Reader, 

In the spirit of finals week, I thought it would be best fitting to answer this question now. Exams are hard. There is no way around that. Exams at Middlebury are exceptionally hard. For what reason, I don’t know. Maybe our professors think they are challenging us, but really they are just making our lives harder than they have to be. 

Failing an exam in college to some could look like the end of the world, but trust me, it does get better. Think of failing an exam as one of those things that you will have to eventually go through. I’m telling you this because I don’t want you to stress yourself out like most students do here. Exams are like the seasons, they come and conquer, then they pass. 

Now what should you do if you happen to take an L on an exam? Well, there are a few ways to handle these situations. You could cry, scream and curse out your professors, but we all know that wouldn’t be helpful. What you first need to do is accept the fact that you didn’t win this one. Ask yourself, what could you have done to prepare better for this exam? Often times we tell ourselves that we did everything we could, but that isn’t always true. Maybe next time you don’t hang out with friends or binge-watch GOT so you can catch up; those are just a few things out of the giant list of things we can find ourselves doing instead of studying. 

The next step would be to go and talk to your professor directly. Professors have office hours for a reason. Go and look over your exam together, and make sure to ask questions along the way. You can also go a step further and communicate your specific needs for taking exams. Never forget that this school works for you and not the other way around. 

Last but not least, if you fail an exam, let it go and try again. As I said above exams are hard, but they are not the end all be all. If you know your exam grade isn’t what you thought it would be, you can always try again. Just prepare more, ask for help, go to office hours, and make sure you are taking time for yourself. 

The first time I failed an exam here at Middlebury, I didn’t really know what to do with myself until I looked in the mirror and realized that nothing in college is supposed to be easy. Yes, it’s stressful and sometimes we fail, but we still deserve to be here. My advice to you is to take a deep breathe and remember that it’s ok to fail, just as long as you remember that a failure today doesn’t mean you will fail tomorrow. Keep trying! 

I would like to thank my readers once again for reading my column, and while this is the last ASK TRÉ of the year, please continue to submit your questions! Also good luck on finals everyone! 



Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.