So you’ve failed your midterms. Now what?

From College News - If you've bombed your big midterm exam, don't panic. College News has got tips for you to save face on your studies.


Midterms are something that usually smack every college student upside the head in the middle of the semester. This is most likely why they are called midterms.

The tests usually consist of a million questions about the things that you were supposed to have learned from day one up until that day. For many students, midterms usually can make or break a students overall grade for that class.

There are plenty of classes that only have a midterm and a final for their grading system for the entire semester. So what happens if you fail the test on the big day?

Thousands of thoughts run through a students mind when they are about to check that grade on the internet or get their test passed back in class.

What if I failed? How will I ever pass this class now? Why didn’t I just study?

Those are just a few of the questions a student might ask right before that exhilarating moment when they find out their midterm grade.

Of course the only thing you can do is wait to see if you have actually failed. It could have been one of those times when you thought you did terrible, but actually got a decent grade. Take a few deep breaths, and wait to see if your grade is as bad as you think it is. If you studied, you probably didn’t fail, and just are having a moment of panic. If you didn’t, well…

After a wait that seems like forever, let’s say the news becomes official. The grade was given, and you have failed one of the biggest tests of the semester. You probably wish that college came with a play-by-play book that explains what to do once you fail and begin to think that your life is over and there is no way that you can bring this grade up to passing with just one more test remaining.

So what do you actually do?

Of course, some will cry and actually think that it is the end of the world. Then, some will blow it off and disregard the fact that they are spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on an education. The ones that begin to feel a slight depression coming on begin to think what they can do to fix this big mess that they have found themselves tangled in.

For those seeking a true solution, a good idea would be to start with the professor, the one person who purposely created a test that was clearly too difficult for anyone in the world to pass.

You should start by asking him or her where you went wrong and why. More than likely, a professor is willing to sit you down and explain the particulars of your epic fail. During this review, you can see which concepts were tricky to master to begin with, or if a professor’s wording on the test was obtuse. Or, if you find yourself thinking clearly to the correct answers, the fog of test anxiety might have clouded your judgment

No matter what the problem is, a meeting with the professor should result in a solution. If not, then you could consider begging for those extra points through extra credit that you would swear to your professor that you would complete in the most outstanding manner. Although no one likes to admit it, sucking up to the professor sometimes does come with benefits.

On the other may seem like professors enjoy denying you a chance at redemption with an all-too-common statement: “It is stated in the syllabus that I do not offer any sort of extra credit. I’m sorry.”

That is about the time when you decide that all professors have no life, and resolve to try and destroy yours instead.

Once the professor blows you off, you truly start to believe there is no chance is doing anything that could help your grade to increase so that you won’t have to show your parents the big F sitting on your transcript.

We must look back to why anyone would result in a failing grade on their midterm. Usually, it is due to the fact that the student rarely attended class, and when they did they did anything but pay attention to what the professor was talking about.

But, because of the aforementioned test anxiety, there are those times when a student really did study and tried their best--so receiving that failing grade was a real shock.

That is when you should ask the teacher if you are doing anything wrong with your studying tactics. The teacher would probably give you some advice about what you could do differently to improve your grade in the future. As we stated, if the teacher is worthwhile, they’ll sit you down and explain where exactly you went wrong.

However, a failing grade is also a result of lack of studying. Studying is one of those words for college students that the simple thought of studying results into a minor stage of depression and sadness. But, at the end of the day, studying makes that final grade--for better or worse.

So if any problems have been identified, a student should take those accounts into consideration when dealing with any other coursework for that specific class. It is normal to feel like you should just drop out of college now before it gets any worse. But it will get better.

And one way it will get better is if you go and speak with your adviser. Although they are not called a counselor, they sure are able to perform like one. Your adviser will probably soothe you with the thoughts that if you do end up failing the class in the end, which may not be the final ultimatum, you will be able to retake the class and beforehand, research the professor to ensure they are known to be more sympathetic then your previous professor. They may also suggest that your major is not right for you.

It’s never someone’s first choice to re-take a class, but when you send your transcripts to that job that you are dying to get, you may just be thankful that you got that grade off the record and replaced it with something better.

Look on the bright side, retaking a class just means you have extra information that no one else does.

Failing a midterm can be very stressful but there are many things that you can do to prevent it from ever happening again. Taking the first step to figure out why a student failed in the first place is always the best thing to do.

By Rachael Gavri

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