No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks

It’s never a good feeling when a professor returns your exam by folding it upside down. They’re trying to be discreet but it’s a telltale sign that you probably didn’t do too well. I’ve been there once or twice but  learning how overcome a bad grade is important because life is full of adversity. As Batman’s butler Alfred would say, “Why do we fall…so we can learn to pick ourselves up”.

IGNITE spoke to Humber and Guelph-Humber students to hear their best triumphant stories of overcoming exam adversity. If you ever find yourself in one of these situations, check out the IGNITE Know Your Rights service to make sure you are best prepared to face the situation.

Mr.Bean looks at his paper with one eye covered

Alanna, Journalism, Humber College

“There was one class I took in my undergrad that was almost impossible to get a high grade in. On the first day of classes, the professor told my class that we should consider ourselves lucky if we got a 50 in her class. I thought she was trying to scare us, until I handed in a midterm and her one piece of feedback to me was ‘take another class with me when you learn how to write’.

Thinking about the final exam made me feel sick with anxiety. I couldn’t fail. I had to graduate. Then it hit me that I needed to take better care of myself before I studied.

Instead of pulling all-nighters and going days without eating, I set aside an hour a day to go to the gym, to make sure I had healthy meals and never had less than 8 hours of sleep each night. I got an 80% on the final, with my professor’s feedback simply reading “good job”.

I know its scary to feel like you’re failing a test. It’s even scarier to feel like you’re failing yourself. You don’t always have to be the best at everything, just know when to pick your battles. If at the end of the day you did the best that you possibly could, you’re already winning.”

hand fills in circles on a scantron sheet in the shape of the word 'help'

Eli, Business, University of Guelph-Humber

“I was struggling in my intermediate accounting class, I got 42% on the midterm, it was scary. We had weekly quizzes, and I was slowly boosting my grade up. The struggle really empowered me to work hard and pass the course. I knew it would be tough and I wanted to get out with the best mark that I could considering the midterm, but I passed, the course, and here I am alive and kicking.

Annie from Community TV series dances in her chair

Joshua, Paramedic Program, Humber College

“I’ve failed some things in the past; but being a Paramedic is a life-or-death type of job, so i’ve had to dig deep, bust my behind and strive to succeed.”

Anna, Journalism, Humber College

“When I get a bad grade, I usually just accept it and move on. I can tell when I pass certain assignments in that I rushed to meet the deadline and didn’t do my best, it’s those kind of assignments where I expect a lower grade than usual. But it’s not the end of the world, really! Especially in my program, it’s more about experience and learning from each experience. If I get a bad grade, I know for next time to try a little harder.



What’s your best grade redemption story? Let us know on Twitter @ShareIGNITE

Make sure to check out our best tips to survive exam season. Need help asking profs for help? Here’s our best advice for talking to profs.