That time I… failed a test


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Columnist Ally Formeller expresses how failing a test does not mark the end of the world.

By Ally Formeller

Huskies, it’s midterm week. 

Among the anxiety and nervousness, I know that failing a test is probably the last thing you want to hear about right now. But it’s not the end of the world, even if it feels like it. 

I was always a good student, and the thought of failing a test terrified me. It still does.

Up until my junior year of high school, I had never failed a test. My honors physics class changed that. 

Every day, I would walk into that classroom and, as eagerly as I could, take notes and pay attention to the lecture. I would write down every formula, definition and example that was put on the board. Everything seemed to make sense.

Later, I would try to do the assigned practice problems. I would pore over my notes, trying to understand the examples and formulas I had written down just hours earlier. They looked completely foreign, as if I’d never even seen them before. 

I just didn’t understand physics. 

I tried everything I could to make physics make sense to me. I watched YouTube videos explaining the concepts, I talked to classmates and I asked questions in class. Studying helped— I wasn’t a complete lost cause, I just still wasn’t great at physics.

Test days were the worst. 

I would come to class filled with anxiety and fear, knowing that I probably wouldn’t do well. And I was right; I usually didn’t do well. 

The very first time we took a test, I failed. It felt heartbreaking at the time. After studying for hours, I didn’t think I’d do so bad. I ended up with barely 50%.

To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. I had tried so hard, and I still failed. That was a hard pill to swallow. 

Most of the other tests went the same way, but by some miracle, I didn’t fail the class, just the tests. 

At the time, each test felt like the most important thing in the world. As a high schooler, I was worried about how that would affect which colleges I could go to and what my friends would think. Being a good student my whole life, failing a test was a serious hit to my confidence. 

I still worry about tests, and I definitely don’t want to fail. I still study just as hard as I did back then. 

But one or two failed tests isn’t the end of the world. One or two failed tests won’t determine what kind of job you get when you graduate, and it can’t determine whether you’re a good student or not. 

As we get into midterms and finals, exams can seem like the most important thing in the world. Yes, they are important, but not as much as your self-worth.