If you’ve read the last post, you know my position on failure: it is an inevitable result of living a full life, and it must be embraced, learned from and passed through. But what does that look like? Here then is a partial list of some techniques for learning from your high school failures:
Admit your emotions
Recognize and acknowledge your emotions. Do you feel sad, angry, anxious, frustrated? You can reduce their power in your life if you forgive yourself for your negative feelings, but don’t bottle them up inside. Sit with your feelings for a moment. Feel the fullness of them. Don’t add to your misery by punishing yourself for feeling how you do, but also, don’t avoid the emotions that bubble up. Embrace them. Examine them. Vocalize them. If you need, turn to an objective person—a friend, a parent, a guidance counselor, or even an SAT tutor—to say aloud the things you’re scared of. I promise you, you’ll make the fears smaller if you do.
Self-diagnose what went wrong
Once you’ve admitted your emotions, don’t dwell in self-pity; instead, begin to problem solve. Take an honest account of what went wrong and how you contributed to your own struggles. Did you write the paper last minute? Did your poor organization cause you to drop the ball? Did you underestimate how much work it would take? Did you feel overwhelmed and avoid doing the work because it just felt too daunting? Once you’ve taken responsibility for your part, reach out for help. Get advice from your teacher for next time. If you can’t understand the concepts, reach out to a tutor who can help you address the topics you’re struggling with.
Make changes in your life that support your success
Honestly, are you doing too much? Have you overcommitted? If you’re struggling to juggle school and activities, maybe you need to think about stepping back from some of your outside obligations. Maybe you’re playing too much League of Legends. Maybe you’re watching too much TV. Maybe you’re spending too much time hanging out with your friends and not enough time studying. Maybe you’re taking too many AP courses in subjects you don’t understand. Don’t over do it. There are only so many hours in a day, and you need to balance your life carefully so that you have the energy to succeed. Take courses that interest and challenge you but schedule in time to relax and unwind. Do your best, but if you’ve overcommitted, maybe you need to make some changes.
Don’t pressure yourself too much
This one’s hard because right now you’re working toward an important milestone: graduating from high school and getting into college. But no matter how important this next phase is, you still need to be aware of the pressure you’re under and where it’s coming from. Are you applying it to yourself? Is it coming from your parents? Some pressure can be a crucial motivator as you work toward this huge accomplishment, but too much can be a major liability, especially on something like the SAT. You need to be honest with yourself and the people around you. As Reach Out suggests, if your parents, friends, or coaches are applying too much pressure, talk to them about how it’s making you feel. Explain how their pressure is affecting you and be open about your anxiety.
A failed grade is not the end of the world. You can change your situation, so you’re set up to succeed in the future. I’t’s ok to feel sad or angry, but don’t let those emotions take over. With help from your friends, family and teachers, you can learn from and overcome whatever you’re struggling with. Just be honest with yourself and the people around you and be willing to make the changes you know you need to make.
More About Mr. Test Prep’s Los Gatos SAT Test Prep Services
Michael Romano has been offering his Los Gatos SAT prep services for almost two decades. He’s seen thousands of kids and helped with just about every kind of standardized testing anxiety a student could have. This has taught him that increased scores come down to confidence. Yes, you have to understand the material, but confidence is—more often than not—the #1 cause of a student’s trouble with testing. Bearing that in mind, he has created an SAT tutoring program that builds confidence by desensitizing his students to the conditions of the test, while providing them with targeted instruction on both the academic content of the exam and the tips and tricks that make it so much easier.