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IsthmusCrypticus's avatar

How do you deal with stress over a potential bad grade?

Asked by IsthmusCrypticus (162 points ) June 15th, 2010

I took my exam yesterday for a post grad class in psychology, and i feel as though it went catastrophically wrong. I studied my arse off for it, but i panicked when i saw the questions and feel as though the answers i gave were well below the standards i should have given (and below what i normally would give). My main concerns are that this class is a part of series of classes that are there to determine whether i can advance on to a Masters degree. I need a distinction average, but i feel id be lucky to get a pass after yesterday.
I suppose i just want to know how can i get rid of these feelings im having. I dont like feeling like this. I want to feel the same safety and security i had before i went into the exam. I dont want to worry and stress out. Is there anything anyone can suggest will help bring me back up again?

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17 Answers

Draconess25's avatar

Here’s what I do: Walk outside, & grab a handful of dirt. Tell it what’s stressing you, being very specific. Throw the dirt over your shoulder. Walk away, & don’t look back.

Coloma's avatar

First: You are ‘futurizing’...you do not know the results of the exam yet. Stop your mind from writing volumes of fiction without fact. lol

Second: Reflect on all the GOOD work and grades you have already accomplished.

You know…we do thing backass backwards…ignore the 3 A’s and 2 B’s and focus on the D. Uh uh….ALWAYS look to the affirmatives!

Good luck! :-)

marinelife's avatar

Tell yourself that you will deal with your grade when you have it.

Tell yourself that stressing at this point, after the exam is over, but before you have the grade, is not doing any good.

Think about the worst possible outcome and how you are going to deal with it. Then you will be prepared, and not subject to nameless worry.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

There will be lots of times in your life where things will not go as you expected, no matter how well prepared you think you are or how hard you try. Are you finished with your exams? Do something nice for yourself—get a massage, buy a book or something you’ve been wanting. Think about what your contingency plans could be. Take the class over? Wait tables the rest of your life?

stardust's avatar

You’ve obviously got a lot invested int his and I appreciate the worry. However, what’s passed has passed and absolutely no amound of negative energy(stress, worry) will help this. I like @Draconess25 ‘s idea. This is something I’m going to do myself tomorrow for the burden I’m carrying around at the minute. What’s the worst possible outcome? You fail and re-take or take another route to get where you want. It’s a bummer, but you’ll certainly manage and cope.
I agree with @PandoraBoxx about the massgae, or something else to treat yourself. After all that hard work, you deserve to show yourself some tlc.

mrrich724's avatar

Just realize that the test is done, so stressing is fruitless . . . you are adding negativity for no reason, because it is not going to do anything productive for you or your test grade . . .

I know, easier said than done, but if you CAN do it, you can take a deep sigh of relief.

lilikoi's avatar

One word – beer.

Oh, this is in General.

Well, still. There’s nothing you can do about it now. No sense stressing about it. Your time is better spent locating a keg.

Your_Majesty's avatar

Realize that I’ve done wrong things(not blaming myself) and let it go. Maybe you could replace your frustration by doing other constructive thing like gardening,fishing,shopping,masturbating,or everything that may cause you forget about your previous problem. Just get more motivation in your way the best you could and let the time decide when you’re going to shine again!

CMaz's avatar

The beauty of pharmaceuticals.

ItsAHabit's avatar

The best way to reduce anxiety over tests is to be very well prepared. Of course, there is no reason to experience stress after a test.

icehky06's avatar

Burn it and swear REALLY loud. Then make a plan to kill your teacher. Or you can just read the above comments.

Ron_C's avatar

To tell the truth, most of my bad grades happened in middle (junior high in my day) and high school. I never really stressed over them because I knew that I was smarter than my teachers.

Higher education was different because I was trained in the Navy. If you got bad grades, you ended up at sea swabbing decks or helping out in the galley. Since none of those options were appealing, I just studied hard, worked with tutoring groups and graduated comfortably. Maybe that’s what’s wrong with sending teenagers to college, they don’t see the downside of dropping out.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

It is possible to be well-prepared, to have studied your brains out well in advance of the exam, and to have a professor whose exams have nothing to do with the actual substance of the class, but who constructs questions that are the abstract application of the subject matter. I had this happen twice while in college. The first time was a microeconomics class; I had a 4.0 going into the final, which included three tests and 5 papers. I studied well in advance, and ended up with a 47% on the exam. As it turned out, the highest grade in the class on it was a 57%

stardust's avatar

@ItsAHabit The OP was very well prepared. Sometimes things don’t work out the way we expect them to, regardless of preparation. I agree with the latter part of your comment, but I haven’t managed to fine tune my no stress strings yet.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@stardust, I think the no strings only get fine-tuned by things happening in your life that are beyond your control, things which defy preparation or planning. Learning how to wait it out is so hard to do.

jhp's avatar

I know it’s easier said than done, but try putting it into perspective. Determine the worst possible outcome and find a way to accept that. E.g., maybe you won’t get your degree, but you can find an alternative line of work. I used to stress a lot about things like exams and work until I got stage 4 cancer. Now I am thankful for each day regardless of the things I have to deal with. Maybe I’ll get fired from work, maybe not. I do the best I can, and accept the outcome. If the worst possible outcome is what happens, I accept that and deal with it if I have to.

IsthmusCrypticus's avatar

Heya, i figured i should round of this topic. Ive been thinking a lot about what happened, what it means to me, why it means something to me, etc etc.
Ive come the conclusion that the greatest fears i have associated with this is that i was using it as a mechanism to define me, if that makes sense. In fact, a lot of things i do, how i act, my job performance, social life, hobbies – the successes and failures associated with them i seem to use as a means of defining myself as a person; who i am and what im capable of. My sense of self worth seems to come from this.
While there is still a great deal of anxiety, im trying to move back from this perspective. And anyway, the other classes ive done in this course ive been getting distinctions and high distinctions – so the exam is also not representative of what i can do.
But im trying now to no longer associate a career, future occupation and academic report as an indication of my worth as a person.
I really do appreciate everyone contributing though. Sometimes just having someone that will listen and just share things with you can really make things easier; the feelings of isolation disappear and you feel protected – even if you are all technically pixels and electrical impulses on my screen from across the globe. But, thankyou none the less for atleast reading my story and making attempts to lift me back up a bit

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