Over the summer, a lot of students get their latest university results. If you’ve gotten or are getting really high grades, this probably isn’t the blog post for you, so clap yourself on the back and reward yourself with some Netflix or chocolate. However, this blog post IS for you if you’re unhappy with your university results.

Maybe your results are OK, but you were really hoping for higher.
Maybe your grades are lower than you need which means you need to seriously switch up your studying if you want to graduate with results you’re happy with.
Maybe you’ve failed your recent exam, module or course and now have to resit or look at other options.

When you achieve university results you’re not happy with, it’s easy to become derailed.

When I failed my first Physics exam I took it HARD, like I had failed as a person. Failure is really good at stealing your dreams and goals by making you believe they’re just not possible. I started Sixth Form aiming for high grades and I finished, after what seemed like failure after failure, just hoping to scrape a pass.

In this blog post, I’m going to walk you through my 4-step process for picking yourself back up after disappointing university results so you can achieve higher grades in your next module or course. I wish I’d known this process when I was completing my degree so I could have gotten over these setbacks quicker and used them as a springboard to achieve better results in future.


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4-steps to pick yourself back up if you’re unhappy with your university results

1. Allow yourself to feel disappointed with your university results

You don’t have to pretend to be strong when you don’t feel it. You don’t have to bounce back immediately with a smile on your face, telling everyone “it’s fine!” 

If you need to, spend a few days leaning into your upset and disappointment. I highly recommend doing a Bridget Jones post-breakup style sofa sesh with ice cream and a rom-com.

Remind yourself where this disappointment comes from. We only feel disappointment around things we care about, so the fact you’re feeling upset about your university results is a sign that you’re a dedicated, committed student.

2. Work out what happened

When you’re ready, it’s time to work out why you lost marks or failed. 

I love this quote by John Powell - the real failure is the one from which we learn nothing. 

Running out of time during an exam, while seriously disappointing, can teach you to plan out and stick to set timings in your next exam. Getting a low score in an essay because you didn’t fully answer the question can teach you to break down your next essay question before you start writing.

Making mistakes is VITAL for learning so we should never feel guilty for making them. But making the same mistakes over and over again, when they could be prevented, is a waste of our energy.

In this step, I want you to answer the following three questions.

A. Why do you think you achieved your grades or failed?
What factors contributed to your university results?

B. What can you learn from this situation?

C. Which study skills do you need to improve to change your results? 
I’ve come up with a list of 36 common study skills. List the skills you think would change your results if you improved them.

3. Create your I’M-GOING-TO-KICK-MY-STUDY’S-BUTT action plan

First you need to work out what your immediate next steps are. If you failed your exam or course, what next? Are you allowed to resit your exam(s)? If so, when? Can you retake the module? If so, when?

If you achieved a lower grade than you need, what now? What impact has this grade had on your final degree classification or options after graduating? Can this impact be reversed by achieving higher grades in your next module? If so, what grades do you need to achieve in the future? 

One of my clients came to me because their failed exam caused them to lose their academic scholarship for the next semester. We then worked together to increase her grades over the next few months. She increased her marks and won back her scholarship! #prouddayattheoffice

Once you’re clear on the implications and next steps, it’s finally time to create your I’M-GOING-TO-KICK-MY-STUDY’S-BUTT action plan.

Take your list from step 2 and against each study skill, identify 1 thing you can do to improve it - the specific action you’re going to take. This might involve reading a few of my blog posts, preordering my new study skills book, talking to your tutor, watching a YouTube video…etc. For example, if you want to improve your referencing/citing you could download a referencing style guide and practice creating accurate references.

Schedule these action steps into your diary, actually do them, and you’ll start seeing results in your study sessions and grades.

4. Build yo awesome self back up!

It’s normal to feel pretty low if you receive disappointing university results. The most important thing for you to remind yourself (100 times if necessary) is - failing does not make YOU a failure. Achieving a low grade (or no grade at all) doesn’t make you a bad student. It makes you a superhero student who’s challenging yourself to push past your limits.

There are 3 ingredients to academic success for any student: perseverance, self-belief and smart study strategies. My clients come to me because 1, 2 or sometimes all 3 of these are getting them stuck in low-gradesville. If you make even small changes to your weaker areas you WILL see results.


How to Actually START Your Essay

Workbook + video training to take you from procrastination and overwhelm to understanding your question and mapping out your ideas with momentum. Easier, faster essay writing (and higher grades) await.

Start Your Essay

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