Sunday, October 18, 2015

How to handle failure in competitive exams

Fearing failure is a bad idea

I am often asked by students who fail to clear some competitive exam as to how they can continue to maintain enthusiasm and energy for another attempt. I am also asked by students if they should actually continue, or give up totally. Recently, the UPSC Civil Servies 2015 Prelims results were declared. My answer below pertains to that, although you can apply this strategy to any other exam as well.
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That's how it is

When you fail to clear the exam the first or the second time, ask yourself these questions:

  1. How many aspirants crack the UPSC exam in the first attempt? If the answer is anywhere less than 100%, you are not on the wrong track.
  2. How many crack the test in the second attempt? If the answer is again significantly less than 100%, you have hope left.
  3. Do some people make it in their 3rd or 4th attempt? If the answer is Yes, you can be one of them.

The real questions to ask, post the above, will be
  • Why did I fail in my two attempts? Where did I fall short? Which topics could I not master adequately? Can I master them now, given this background? Was I really sincere enough? What did those who got selected did right that I missed on?
  • How badly do I aspire to be a top civil servant? If it's bad enough, striving for a couple of years more is a good idea.
  • What do my parents think of it? Do they have faith in me? Will they support me emotionally, and if required, financially through the next few months/years?
  • Do I have the energy left in me to go the whole hog again? Or am I exhausted? Was I exhausted even before the second attempt came through?
  • If I do not make it even in the next 2 years, what are the other options I am looking at?

Take a small break. Think deeply along these lines. If there is that "aha moment" when you feel totally at ease, totally relaxed and full of clarity in mind, follow the decision that you take at that moment. 
The boss says so!

We have all had our share of failures in life. But successful people do not stop at a milestone, or when in a ditch. They keep moving forward, because life does not stop for anyone or anything. As they say, our mindset and attitude has to ultimately mould our lives to best fit our reality, and there is no one better than you to reach that conclusion. 

Finally, it's just an exam! Your success in life may lie way beyond it. God bless!


Unknown said...

people often say you should have back up option, having b plan always causes you too perform less than your capability. what i think one should not have b plan, his a and b should be one thing and enthusiasm for that would come automatically

Unknown said...

That is the time when a person feels more depressing when he/she does not get a desirable output but there is a road ahead to show their talent, continue with the same energy and invigorating yourself would take you to the apex of success one day.