Tricks And Hacks For A Failed Assignment, Essay Or Exam

Dealing with failure of any kind can be hard but experiencing failure at university can leave students feeling upset, unmotivated or doubting their abilities.

Whether you’ve failed an assignment, essay or exam, there are things you can do so don’t get yourself too down.

Carry on reading to find out reasons why students may fail at university, and the tricks and hacks to help you out if you’ve not done as well as you hoped on a piece of work!

University failure

Common Causes of Failure At University

There are several factors that can come into play when it comes to reasons why a student may have failed an assignment, essay or exam.

It may be that they didn’t understand the subject topic of the specific piece of work, or they may have a lack of confidence in their ability.

It could even be that their quality of teaching wasn’t beneficial to their learning, or they could be an international student who is facing language challenges.

More often than not, a student’s circumstances and mental and physical health is the cause of failure at university.

Such as, they may be worried about their financial circumstances, they may be feeling anxious about being away from home or they could be feeling lonely.

Which in turn, is distracting them from focusing on their degree and their learning.

It’s no surprise that this can lead to failing elements of their course, as there are so many things to think about whilst at university.

Of course, there are other reasons why a student may fail like missing lectures or seminars, as well as a lack of preparation and revision for the assignment, essay of exam.

It could also be that they lacked motivation or interest in the piece of work, so they didn’t put any effort in.

Causes of failure

Tricks & Hacks For Dealing With Failure At Uni

If you find yourself experiencing failure at university, there are things that can be done to prevent this from happening again, and to deal with the current situation you’re faced with.

Find out with our 8 tricks and hacks below!

Tips and hacks for a failed assignment

1. Put Things Into Perspective

If you have failed an assignment, essay or exam try to remember to keep things in perspective.

It can be hard to stop yourself from overthinking and presuming the worst, but chances are you will be able to do something about your situation.

If you start to think that that there’s nothing that can be done to change your position or that there’s no use in trying again, try and reframe your negative thoughts into positive ones.

Yes, you may have not done as well on this piece of work, but you can learn from your mistakes and improve for the future.

At the end of the day, it’s very unlikely that you’ll be the only one to have failed a piece of work on your course, so try not to get yourself too worked up.

So, stop and consider whether it’s worth letting yourself get super upset over something that can be changed!

Student overthinking

2. Allow Yourself To Feel Your Feelings

Whilst it is important to reframe your negative thoughts and stop yourself from getting too stressed out when dealing with failure at uni, it’s also necessary to allow yourself to feel your feelings.

When experiencing failure, most people experience a range of negative feelings such as sadness, frustration, embarrassment and shame.

Rather than bottling up your emotions, try to get everything out into the open and allow yourself to face failure head on, it’s a key to success after all!

The same goes for preventing failure, you need to allow yourself to accept any small issues that do arise.

For example, if you’re not understanding a section of your course material and you’re beginning to feel stressed, you need to be honest about what’s going on and speak up about this before the problem becomes larger.

You could do this by talking to your course leader or tutor.

Feeling upset over failed work uni

3. Accept A Level Of Responsibility

If you’ve flopped on an assignment, essay or exam at uni, one vital thing that you need to do is to accept a level of responsibility and practice some self reflection.

Whilst there may be some contributing factors to why you didn’t do so well on a piece of work like as discussed earlier, you also need to learn from your mistakes.

Try to accept maybe there was things you didn’t do successfully that you can improve upon within the future.

This isn’t an opportunity to blame yourself and be harsh to yourself, but rather a way to identify what needs to change.

Such as, if you didn’t revise as much as you should have or if you stopped going to your lectures and seminars, you need to accept a level of blame for why you failed.

By doing this you will prevent yourself from making the same mistakes in the future, and it means you’ll take accountability for your actions.

Accepting responsibility

4. Be Kind To Yourself

Being kind to yourself is an important step of dealing with failure.

There can be many negative impacts on your self-esteem when you fail a piece of work or fail within other aspects of life.

However, there’s no point in punishing yourself when this happens, you won’t gain anything good from doing this.

Instead, treat your failure the same way you would if a friend came to you for advice.

You wouldn’t criticise them for it, would you?

You would provide them with some non-judgmental advice and support them, so make sure you do the same for yourself.

It’s hard to stop yourself from experiencing feelings of imposter syndrome whilst at uni, you may doubt your abilities and feel like a fraud, but you’re not!

A good way to try and prevent these feelings from intensifying is to not compare yourself to others.

For example, if you’ve failed a piece of work that your friend did really well on, don’t start spiralling into self-doubt.

Instead, focus on the things you did well and the things you can improve on.

Be kind to yourself because at the end of the day, no-one succeeds at everything in life (or uni).

Failure is inevitable and it’s an essential part of growing!

Being kind to yourself

5. Practice Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Hearing that you’ve failed a piece of work can be difficult to hear, however, one of the worst things you can do is go into self-destruct mode.

Whilst university and succeeding academically is an important aspect of your life, try not to practice unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with your feelings of failure.

One of the most common unhealthy coping mechanisms is avoiding the problem altogether and refusing to confront the situation.

Such as, you may avoid your failed assignment, essay or exam and think that because it’s out of sight and out of mind, it will go away.

Or you may think that there’s nothing you can do about it so you give up hope.

Another negative coping mechanism is going out and getting drunk to distract yourself from your problems.

Instead of practicing behaviours such as these, try and practice healthy coping mechanisms such as spending time with friends, watching your favourite films or TV shows, going for walks to relax or even spending time focusing on your hobbies or interests.

Everyone has different coping mechanisms which work for them, so try and find yours.

Healthy coping mechanisms

6. Explore Your Options

Most of the time if you do receive a failed mark, there are several options for you to explore and try to remember that your university do want you to succeed too!

The best thing to do is firstly speak to your module tutor or department for feedback and the best cause of action.

Such options include re-sitting an exam, assignment or essay with a second attempt, although this could be at a capped grade it’s still another chance for you to improve.

There are other options too like re-taking an entire module if it’s necessary.

Although, it’s important to remember that just because you’ve failed one piece of work, it doesn’t mean you can’t receive a good grade overall.

Grades will vary from university and courses, but most of the time you don’t have to re-sit an assignment to end up passing the module or even the year.

Such as, if your averaged course mark is 40 or above, you can pass the module overall regardless of the failed piece of work.

As we said, it’s best to speak to your specific course department about this as some do require you to pass all elements!

Exploring options

7. Applying For Extenuating Circumstances

If you have failed at uni because of a problem out of your control such as an illness or an unexpected passing of a family member, you could look into applying for Extenuating Circumstances at your university.

These are determined on a case-by-case basis so it’s best to speak to your university about this and make a claim.

You may need to provide proof that you’ve experienced something out of your control which has impacted your assessed studies.

If your claim is accepted, you could be given a reassessment opportunity or be able to defer a future exam, assignment or essay.

Another option you could look into if you’ve failed is to make an appeal, which is a way of asking your university to review a mark within your academic studies if you believe it was incorrect or graded unfairly.

Extenuating circumstances

8. Set Future Goals

Our final tip and trick to take away is to create a plan to help you move forward and smash your next assignment, essay or exam and all the future ones after that.

Have a think about what you are going to do differently next time and think very clearly about what it is you want to achieve at uni.

It could be that you set realistic goals like attending all your lectures and seminars which you previously skipped last semester.

Additionally, it could be that you dedicate more time to studying within the library or an appropriate amount of time working at home each week to ensure that you receive a good grade.

The best way to do this is to write down the things you’re aiming towards and what you’re going to put into practice, this way you can refer back to them and these tasks will seem more manageable.

We’d recommend setting goals for each term, so that you can review them and see if you’re making progress.

Doing this will assist in your overall academic performance and motivate you to keep improving on your assignments!

Student setting goals

Failures can have a big impact on our mental health, so don’t be afraid to reach out for help and support from a professional if you’re really struggling.

You could speak to the student support services at your university about what mental health and wellbeing help is available, or make an appointment with your GP.

We hope we’ve helped you with what to do when things go wrong and ways to avoid failure with our tips and tricks.

Remember, most students fail at some point and there’s always ways to pick yourself back up. You’ve got this!

If you want to improve your sleeping pattern whilst staying in student accommodation, have a read of our guide on Tips and Tricks For Students To Get A Good Nights Sleep.

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