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  • Failing exam

    I failed an exam recently that I was pretty damn confident in, due to silly mistakes. Unfortunately, this seems to have destroyed my confidence and everytime I look at what I have to study next, I can see myself failing that one and then failing next and getting so stressed out I can't actually think straight. Doesn't help that it's exam week, and it's not like normal Uni/College where you can fail and be okay; MCA pass marks are high and you only get a couple of chances to retake exams.

    Anyone been in a similar situation?

    Cheers

  • #2
    Being annonymous I don't know if you're a cadet, doing your chiefs ticket or your masters, but I'm going to treat it as the cadethsip as thats the only one i have experiance in.

    I failed a few exams during my cadetship, and it really can knock your confidence. However, the best thing you can do (especially being exam week), is mentally put it in a box and focus on what you have next. Study for that, and worry about resits later.

    I failed Chiefs stability twice before passing. First time because I knew that I wouldn't pass met and stability if I approached them equally so i focussed on met and gave stability my best shot (obviously it wasn't good enough haha). Second time was simply burn out from phase three and a complete mental block after the entire second half basically being law. I just didn't have it in me to study at that point. I finally passed it a couple of months back before starting phase five proper. Myself and the others who had to resit just blitzed it in the library, seven days a week, 9am to 10pm, for about ten days. Don't get me wrong, it was soul destroying, but we passed it, and in hindsight, letting myself attempt it when it was the only thing I had to focus on for a period of time was probably the best thing I could have done.

    I also failed the combination Nav (tides, celest, terres, chartwork) exam in phase one as I didn't revise compass errors. It was such a stupid mistake, but I assumed that it was too small a thing to make up the celestrial part of the exam, and in the end that was all it was.Breezed through it during the resit though simply because I was confident in the other areas and hammered the revision for celestrial.

    Basically, failing sucks, but once you identify your weak points it isn't too bad as you can really focus your revision then.

    It might be worth talking to the uni - at warsash we can attempt it three times before we have to pay for the resits, and that's only if we fall below the uni pass mark (40%), not the MCA's 50-65%. Also, I'd go speak to your tutor - obviously it depends on the person, but most of mine were pretty helpful, letting you know where you failed and what to improve on.

    27//Officer Cadet//Phase Three//Warsash

    My officer cadet blog - SeasboundBySummer.Tumblr.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank you for the response SeaboundBySunrise!

      Yeah I'm a Cadet. I hadn't failed any exams previous to this and I don't feel like I'm struggling to understand the material in any way; it's just the sheer volume of things you need to remember and I'm not particularly good at doing that all at once in the one week, especially for the wordy type exams, not mathematical ones.

      My fail mark percentage is around 55% for the exams I have failed, so not too far off the mark. I guess I'm just paranoid and stressed out because I've been reading that Cadets have been fired for failing only a couple of exams, and when you have already spent 2 years to get to this point in my career at sea, it freaks you out a little, knowing that all that time and work would have been wasted. I've heard that my company is understanding and just wants them done, rather than patch you straight away, but it doesn't help, especially when you randomly start questioning whether you are smart enough to be in the industry in the first place when this happens.

      My option is similar to what you done, revise over seaphase and get them done early before coming back for college phase proper. I just hope I can get my head screwed on and concentrate on whats next.

      Cheers mate.

      Comment


      • #4
        No worries! If you got 55% then you did a lot better than I did first time around and should have the majority of the understanding down. Sounds like you just keep practicing the questions to ensure you don't make silly mistakes that cost marks next time. Don't forget, it can depend on the paper. The first of ours was ok, i just wasn't very good. The second was BRUTAL, we went straight to the pub afterwards. It was just so horribly worded, it really threw us. And the third was fine. It can simply be luck of the draw.

        I can't say for certain without knowing what you failed, going to sea might even help you. I came back with a greater appreciation of the practical applications of the subject after finishing phase four which made getting my head around the concepts a lot easier, so it had it's perks.

        I wouldn't worry about your company, I've never heard of companies dropping cadets for failing academic exams even when they've had to resit it three, four, even five times. You just have to be prepared that they may not pay your resit fees so you'll have to dig deep yourself.

        But that's in the future, just focus on the other subjects now. I don't know too many people who didn't have to resit one exam or another at the start of phase five so you're far from the only person who just needed to take a second shot!
        27//Officer Cadet//Phase Three//Warsash

        My officer cadet blog - SeasboundBySummer.Tumblr.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Guest View Post
          Thank you for the response SeaboundBySunrise!

          Yeah I'm a Cadet. I hadn't failed any exams previous to this and I don't feel like I'm struggling to understand the material in any way; it's just the sheer volume of things you need to remember and I'm not particularly good at doing that all at once in the one week, especially for the wordy type exams, not mathematical ones.

          My fail mark percentage is around 55% for the exams I have failed, so not too far off the mark. I guess I'm just paranoid and stressed out because I've been reading that Cadets have been fired for failing only a couple of exams, and when you have already spent 2 years to get to this point in my career at sea, it freaks you out a little, knowing that all that time and work would have been wasted. I've heard that my company is understanding and just wants them done, rather than patch you straight away, but it doesn't help, especially when you randomly start questioning whether you are smart enough to be in the industry in the first place when this happens.

          My option is similar to what you done, revise over seaphase and get them done early before coming back for college phase proper. I just hope I can get my head screwed on and concentrate on whats next.

          Cheers mate.
          You are good enought !
          Can you recall memory of being afraid to swimm as a kid, or being afraid to ride bicycle, being afraid to have first kiss?
          It's normal to have fear of "unknown" and fear of "failing" - but can you imagine that you have control of thoughts - and you can put that fear into the box and close the box and relax.
          Situation is under your control, you have power.

          There are 2 scenarios...
          - You failed exam - You have thoughts that you described - you are giving up - thinking about yourself that you are not smart enought - soo why even finish?
          --You failed exam - You have thought that you described - you believe in yourself, accepting one "failure", making plan how to fix situation, finishing all exams.

          Don't give up, don't compare yourself to other, you are exactly where you need to be! This "failure" is lesson - don't be hard on yourself, forgive yourself for not being perfect and keep moving.

          Something to cheer you up
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMhDQFLwrAA

          Comment


          • #6
            I too have never heard of people being sacked for failing exams, so I wouldn't worry about that... it would be nonsensical to sack you after investing so much money in you, there interest is to get you up to scratch and pass you off like everyone else.

            As a bit of perspective I started my cadetship in 2011 and qualified in 2014, one of the guys from my class only qualified in 2018 as he failed continuously. The company still supported him until 2014 and he did as much of the course as he could, including short courses and orals prep, but just didn't meet the grade to continue. To get your NOE, which is the paper that says you can sit your oral, you need to complete your HNC/D/FD... so all he did was find a job in a shop and paid to sit his exams (they're not that expensive) as an external candidate, he eventually passed everything and got his NOE and is now sailing as an officer. That is your worst case scenario, and I doubt you're anything like that - this guy consistently got 30-40% in exams across the whole syllabus. Clyde Marine supported him until the 3 years were up even though he was failing from the start of the 2nd year.

            Don't get worked up about it, many fail these exams and everyone eventually passes unless they give up.

            Comment


            • #7
              You had a pretty good score and were very close to passing the MCA mark. If you failed due to silly mistakes, then perhaps you need a more structured method of writing down your answers? Maybe a little checklist after each question for you to go through and make sure you've not missed anything.
              i.e. stability:
              1: Check for silly maths mistakes
              2: Check all your units a present and in the right order of magnitude (mm instead of m is a good one...)
              3: Correct number of significant figures (1m or 1.000m?)
              4: Is your answer believable? (100m of trim for example)
              5: Did you fully understand the question? Did you answer the question that was asked? (RTFQ as one warsash lecturer liked to say)

              I'm sure you could come up with something for whatever kind of exam it was. A systematic approach should account for silly mistakes and help you get over the mental block because you know you have a system. Sounds like you already had the knowledge so just don't let that slip and you'll be fine.

              Comment


              • #8
                Appreciate the responses everyone! Rocky certainly helped Purperain haha, but really, thanks all; sometimes it doesn't feel like the colleges care too much or don't know how to give help with the mental side of failing exams very well. Cheers for the support.

                Yeah, think I'm going to check for silly mistakes next time, all so easy to do in an exam! A systematic method might be the exam skill set I'm missing!

                Have a good one all.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Guest View Post
                  Appreciate the responses everyone! Rocky certainly helped Purperain haha, but really, thanks all; sometimes it doesn't feel like the colleges care too much or don't know how to give help with the mental side of failing exams very well. Cheers for the support.

                  Yeah, think I'm going to check for silly mistakes next time, all so easy to do in an exam! A systematic method might be the exam skill set I'm missing!

                  Have a good one all.

                  I'm glad that Rocky helped hehe

                  This CBT sheet for challenging negative thoughts it's also usefull:



                  Just challenge your thoughts.
                  Samaritans are offering free chat, when I studied I felt soo isolated!!!

                  I studied and I felt the same like you - and because I had low self esteem, I compared myself to other, I tried to became friend with other students, I've been soo insecure, I've experienced loss of family member and friend - and that was too much - but I didn't ask for help!! Speak with psychologist - it will help!

                  If I could speak to my younger self.
                  I would give her a hug, I would said to her:
                  1. Don't compare yourself to other students.
                  2. Straight after lecture or before lecture - put earphones in your ears and don't listen other students and don't soak their thoughts, fears about passing exams!!
                  3. Discipline, discipline. Sport, training.
                  4. Avoid fake friends, especially those who don't understand that you are STUDENT with serious goal in life!!!
                  5. You are capable, you are smart, you can learn, reward yourself for previous exams.

                  Comment

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