The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Learn your lesson: Forget exam results

Finding it difficult to adjust to university when the thought of exam results are still hanging over you? Cachella Smith is here to offer some advice on how to put them behind you and focus on the now


Everyone argues that January and February are the most unpleasant months of the year, but for students it’s even worse. Returning back to university, rather frazzled, after a long stretch of too much food combined with too much revision, we are thrown headfirst into the hell that is exam period. Now that we’ve all come out the other side, you would have thought things would start to look up, but instead we continue plodding forward, straight into semester two. Tiredness certainly is an issue, but more than that, the disconcerting idea that we are working towards the next set of exams when we don’t yet know the results from the last, is playing on everyone’s minds.

There are, however, a few things we can do to make this period slightly easier for ourselves. Firstly it’s so important to take regular breaks — this is a well-known study tip, but at the moment I’m talking about significant periods of time. Remember you’re only in the early stages of semester two; it’s okay to use your frees to take a coffee break instead of being curled up in Ali G. Keeping going is not always the most effective option.

Dealing with the unknown is difficult. Perhaps you could try to help yourself by setting up an action plan for all eventualities. Speak to your lecturers and to your Academic Advisor to find out about your options. Having them clear in your head now will make results day that little bit less daunting. Also, introduce the subject of exams to your parents, let them know how you are feeling about your results — this way it won’t be as intimidating to tell them later on if you haven’t done as well as you hoped.

Having said all that, try to forget that you’ve just done exams. It’s a cliché, but there is literally nothing you can do now. It would be much more useful to focus your attention on your next set of modules, the results of which you do have control over. As for the previous results, there will always be options to deal with them if they’re not what you were hoping for. Don’t forget, that whatever year you are in, the exams you have just taken will not entirely determine what degree you achieve.

There are also some more specific things you could be doing if you are finding this period particularly difficult. Although the deadline for mitigating circumstances has now passed in most faculties, Student Support can still offer you guidance for exams you will take in the future. Getting in touch with them now ensures you will receive as much support as you can before entering the summer examination period. If there was something particularly difficult in the exam that you did not understand — speak to a lecturer, especially if the same thing is likely to come up in future modules. It doesn’t matter that the exam is finished, the reason you are at university is to learn. Although marks are important, if you can get to the end of your final year knowing that you have learnt something, you will have succeeded however well you have done in exams.