Failing Forward: Embracing Growth after Exam Setbacks

You are not alone

If you have failed an exam it is important to know that you are not alone - many students on CGI and other professional association examinations fail one or even a number of exams and then go on to reach their membership goals. These exams are demanding and it can really knock your confidence, not achieving the result you want or expect. But, be strong and persevere because there is no reason why you can’t be successful.

If you don’t pass an exam, then this is the time to exercise and build your ‘resilience’ muscle! And reflect, too, on the factors that may have contributed to not passing. The vast majority of students are entirely capable of passing exams but may fall short for a number of reasons, the most common being exam technique. When a student knows a lot but doesn’t use that knowledge to answer the question being asked, then they will not receive any marks. Examiners like to award marks and want students to succeed, but only for knowledge applied to a question or a specific problem.

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So it is important to reflect on what went wrong when planning your next steps. And to help you with technique then use the resources on MyCG – model answers, sample questions, examiner feedback, revision webinars. There is a wealth of material on MyCG and, combined with your knowledge from studying the course materials, will help you get the result you want.

It is also worth considering the circumstances of your fail too. If there are circumstances which you feel have not been taken into account in arriving at your result you can review the appeals process in the ‘Enquiries about Results’ guidance. You will be able to submit an appeal through your MyCG. The deadline for submitting an appeal is Thursday 22nd February 2024.

5 simple and effective steps

There are 5 simple and effective things that can help steer you in the right direction to pass next time.

1. Don't Panic

Failing an CGI exam doesn’t mean your dream is shattered. You have another shot at pursuing your career with the second attempt. Even better, this time, you will be even more prepared.

  • Try not to panic when you receive the news that you failed the exam. It may be the hardest thing to do, but accept your result and remain calm. Panicking won’t change anything at this point.
  • Understand that you aren’t the only one going through this. Everyone, at one point in life, has experienced failure. How you handle it determines whether you can bounce back or stay grounded and positive.
  • Don’t lose heart just because you didn’t get it during the first try. Failing during the first few attempts before acing it doesn’t affect your career path. After all employers only care about the end result, not how you go there.
Illustration of a light shining on a woman in the dark sitting down looking worried

2. Review where you may have gone wrong

  • After finding out you have failed it’s perfectly normal and acceptable to stay low for a while. Take some time off, but be ready to get back to study as soon as possible so you don’t lose momentum.
  • Reflect and figure out what went wrong. The key to passing the retake is to conduct an assessment to see what exactly you did wrong. You’ve a higher chance of passing once you’re aware of what made you fail as you can focus more energy on that particular area.
  • If you have only failed by a small percentage, the key thing to concentrate on is your study and exam techniques. If you ran out of time, work on a better plan that will enable you to answer all questions in time. If you stumbled on some questions, consider learning more of the syllabus rather than just key areas.
  • Develop a smart solution to avoid making the same mistake again. Self-evaluation will get you closer to passing the CGI exam.
Illustration of person checking and reviewing work

3. Develop a plan

  • At this point, you should have figured out what you did wrong. Ask yourself what you can do differently this time and then get back to the drawing board to craft a plan.
  • Your plan of action should involve a guided and realistic study schedule! Don’t forget to develop an approach that will help you finish your exam on time. While revising, keep track of your progress as consistency is crucial when studying for all of your CGIUKI exams.
  • Don’t dwell on cramming so that you run out of time to practice. Cramming may help you retain knowledge, but it will stop you from applying it in an exam situation and use skills that are fundamental.
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4. Be committed to your CGI exams

  • The hardest part is always keeping to your study plan. You can use different tactics such as timetables and even apps to help you study effectively. Timetables are great at keeping you on track from week to week.
  • Avoid relapses and ensure that you’re moving forward at all times. Passing a CGI exam should be your first priority at this point.
  • Also, ensure the people around you understand that you can’t be as available as usual. Use the free time you have to immerse yourself in study while keeping a work/life balance in mind to avoid burnout.
Illustration of a person taking an exam

5. Be mentally prepared

  • Studies show that despite students being well equipped for an exam, a great many still fail due to exam stress.
  • Set your mind to reason and analyse problems in line with the examiner’s need
  • Learn how to manage the allocated time well to ensure you answer all questions.
  • Believe in yourself and be confident as you prepare for the exam. Keep in mind that failure is not the end and do your best to stick to your plan in order to pass.
  • Avoid comparing yourself with your friends who have qualified as it will breed frustration and discontent.
  • We all have different journeys, so don’t think too much about the exam once you’ve done it. At that point, you can’t change anything. Instead, look forward to passing!
Illustration of a person in race position ready to go

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