Bounce Back After Exam Failure

Did you recently receive the difficult news of a failed exam? Finding out you failed after months of dedicated preparation is an indescribable feeling. Rest assured, though, that you are not alone. Failing a first attempt happens to other people, too.

Two of our incredible coaches, Melissa and Jennifer, discuss how to bounce back after failing an exam in our August 23rd Coaches Corner Livestream.

Why don’t people pass? Melissa and Jennifer explain that people fail for many reasons but it’s typically due to a lacking in one of these three areas:

  1. Content knowledge
  2. Test taking skills
  3. Anxiety management


Look back on your exam prep and your approach to sitting the exam. How well did you know the content? What were your test taking strategies? How did you manage your anxiety? Instead of answering these questions completely on your own, we suggest calling a coach. An AATBS exam coach can look objectively at your journey from test prep to sitting the exam and help you strategize for a successful next attempt.

What do you do immediately after failure? Our coaches suggest two things to do right after you fail:


Because you won’t know what questions you got right and wrong, it can be difficult to find a new starting point of moving forward. So, once you look back on what you can remember, call a coach to get an objective view of how to strategize for your next attempt.


Again, failure after dedicated preparation is a difficult and indescribable feeling. Take time to feel your feelings and work through them. Clear your head before diving back into exam prep.

Once you’ve done some self-reflection, self-care, and strategizing, it’s time to reframe your negative cognition. Think of the positives of being a second-time test taker such as knowing what to expect this time around. You’ve sat the exam before, therefore you know what it’s like. Being a second-timer also has its advantage in that you have a lot of studying already under your belt.

Get back up on that horse.

Register for a Free Sample Exam and set a baseline score with a practice test.