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overcoming defeat

So. I failed a very big and important professional licensure exam. Its by all objective standards a very hard exam with a significant national failure rate but I am the only one who failed in my group this year. It was right before my wedding, however I really didn't think that I was distracted. I repeatedly willed myself to focus on exam preparation and nothing else and left the little planning details to the venue's coordinator - which worked out really well. 
The wedding was amazing, and could not have gone better. I am now studying for the repeat exam (which will be in less than two months). I thought I was prepared. But I either wasn't, or was not able to bring up the focus this kind of test requires (two subsequent days 6 hours each day)... I don't know. I consider myself a good test taker (pre this) have always been the straight A nerd in school and postgrad (not in an obnoxious way I'd like to think but more in a maybe mildly annoying (if you don't know me) "I love school / my job" kind of way). In any case, I was pretty shocked when I found out. 
I am trying to really focus on looking forward and not perseverating over whats behind me. However I am finding that thats easier said than done. I often find myself going in circles, for example if I had a "good studying day" and feel like I made a lot of progress, I get upset because "thats what I thought last time --> can't trust my judgement on this --> etc..." and if I have a "bad studying day" I'm just downright mad at myself. 
The whole shattered self confidence thing is pretty bad. Especially since everyone else in my group passed and its hard not to "feel like a loser" (I know that sounds immature). Everyone has been very nice at work, both peers and senior people (word gets around so pretty much everyone knows), and has been saying how this doesn't mean anything etc etc. Somehow doesn't fully register with me I guess. 
The good thing is that my husband has been amazing throughout all this. He could not be more supportive and says and does all the right things and endures my overall gloominess and makes it all bearable... So between him and the support at work I guess I have a lot to be grateful for. And I am. But I'm still feeling down and am terrified to possibly fail again.
I know its an FWP. I do. Its just that my career has always been so important to me, and is a huge part of who I am (in my mind)... I worked so hard to get to this place and then... and this experience has left me at the very least disoriented. 
I guess I am asking if anyone has had any similar experiences and how you dealt with them. 
- The stars, like dust, encircle me in living mists of light. And all of space I seem to see in one vast burst of sight. 

Re: overcoming defeat

  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    mj8215 said:
    So. I failed a very big and important professional licensure exam. Its by all objective standards a very hard exam with a significant national failure rate but I am the only one who failed in my group this year. It was right before my wedding, however I really didn't think that I was distracted. I repeatedly willed myself to focus on exam preparation and nothing else and left the little planning details to the venue's coordinator - which worked out really well. 
    The wedding was amazing, and could not have gone better. I am now studying for the repeat exam (which will be in less than two months). I thought I was prepared. But I either wasn't, or was not able to bring up the focus this kind of test requires (two subsequent days 6 hours each day)... I don't know. I consider myself a good test taker (pre this) have always been the straight A nerd in school and postgrad (not in an obnoxious way I'd like to think but more in a maybe mildly annoying (if you don't know me) "I love school / my job" kind of way). In any case, I was pretty shocked when I found out. 
    I am trying to really focus on looking forward and not perseverating over whats behind me. However I am finding that thats easier said than done. I often find myself going in circles, for example if I had a "good studying day" and feel like I made a lot of progress, I get upset because "thats what I thought last time --> can't trust my judgement on this --> etc..." and if I have a "bad studying day" I'm just downright mad at myself. 
    The whole shattered self confidence thing is pretty bad. Especially since everyone else in my group passed and its hard not to "feel like a loser" (I know that sounds immature). Everyone has been very nice at work, both peers and senior people (word gets around so pretty much everyone knows), and has been saying how this doesn't mean anything etc etc. Somehow doesn't fully register with me I guess. 
    The good thing is that my husband has been amazing throughout all this. He could not be more supportive and says and does all the right things and endures my overall gloominess and makes it all bearable... So between him and the support at work I guess I have a lot to be grateful for. And I am. But I'm still feeling down and am terrified to possibly fail again.
    I know its an FWP. I do. Its just that my career has always been so important to me, and is a huge part of who I am (in my mind)... I worked so hard to get to this place and then... and this experience has left me at the very least disoriented. 
    I guess I am asking if anyone has had any similar experiences and how you dealt with them. 
    I'm the same way!  As a sales person, it's hard to not let the memory of a lost deal that I battled for not creep in and affect me on the next deal.  Here is what I do.

    1.  Take a 24 hour pity party.  I feel bad for myself, drink wine, and watch emotional chick flicks.  I lay around in PJ's, eat ice cream, all of that stuff.

    2.  When the 24 hour pity party is over, I think back to my biggest accomplishment.  I remember it from start to finish.  I remember the times I thought I wouldn't finish and how I did.  This brings me back to how I felt when it happened.  I then take a token from that and keep it in my laptop bag so I have a visual reminder.  (For me it was the 2004 campaign, when I did voter registration and GOTV efforts for the city of Flint MI.  We had the largest voter turnout in 40 years- I also worked for Rock the Vote in conjunction and I carry my "FCUK Chicks Rock, Chicks Vote" tee on me.)

    3.  I listen to pump me up music at all times in the car.  Some of my faves are "All I do is win" by DJ Khaled, "Diva" by Beyonce, and "Fine" by Mary J Blige.

    I realized a long time ago, I need closure before I can build myself up!  I hope you can figure out what you need and rock your next exam!
    image
    mj8215themuffinman16
  • I'm sorry. That stinks. If your religious or spiritual maybe say a prayer and if you're not just make a list: what are you grateful for?

    It's not going fix the exam but I do this for lots of stuff, When I was pissed about how my sister in laws bf acted like an ass at my wedding I found myself dwelling on it a lot. So I listed what went right: people I loved were there, my makeup was bangin, I got to dance for hours, the food was amazing and the drinks were even better, it didn't storm until late, wasn't too hot....

    I adopted a dog and two weeks later had to put the dog to sleep because he had cancer, literally less than 24 hours later my first floor of my house was covered in 4 inches of water. That night we drank way too much wine and made a list that is super long and super hilarious- 4 types of cheese made the list.


    mj8215
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I'm really sorry. Are you doing any formal test prep? Did you get any kind of remediation plan to follow? Have you reflected on what you can change about your study habits to ensure retention? Do you have a mentor at work who can give you guidance? What about your school- can you reach back out to trusted faculty?

    When I'm faced with something difficult, I automatically go into problem solving mode. I think the advice above is great, about giving yourself a pity party... but then you have to buck up and get over it, and make a success plan. 
    ________________________________


    kimmiinthemittenmj8215
  • princessleia22princessleia22 Oceanfront Property in Arizona member
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    edited September 2015
    My professional licensing involved 7 exams and are notorious for being difficult.  I passed 6 of them easily.  The 7th exam, which I thought I should have had no problem with, took me FOUR tries to pass!  And I had to wait 6 months between retakes, so what I thought would be a 6-8 month exam process turned into 3 years. For the 2nd try, I studied like crazy and thought I was prepared, but still failed.  For the 3rd try, I took a 6 week prep class to help me, I felt confident going into the test, but again failed. For the 4th try, I flew across the country for a 3 day crash course seminar that was highly recommended. By that point, I felt prepared but I was so filled with doubt since I had felt prepared for the previous tries. But, I finally passed it... I actually got my pass letter on Christmas eve and cried like a baby.

    Each time I failed, I took some time to drown in the despair and curse.  Since I had to wait 6 months to retake, I about spent a week being depressed, then about 2 months avoiding anything test related and telling myself I'll get it next time, then 1.5 months slowly starting to review material, then 2 months of full on cramming, then I relaxed a bit for the last week. By the 3rd try, I learned that it was possible to study too much and overload the brain.  Formulas and information would start to get jumbled.  So, I learned to relax a bit on studying at the end. I didn't study at all the night before the test, just relaxed and did brainless stuff.  I figured that if I didn't know it by then, after months of studying, I wouldn't learn it the night before the exam.  It actually helped a lot.

    It's okay to be disappointed and pissed off.  But, don't let yourself get stuck in it.  Give yourself a week or two to be pissed, then pick yourself back up and just focus on succeeding next time. And don't overload yourself studying. It's easy to do after failing the first time around, thinking that you just need to study harder, but it's counterproductive to do so. You can retake the exam, so it sucks, but it's not the end of the world... don't forget that.  You will pass it.

    image 

    kimmiinthemittenmj8215
  • @princessleia22 was that the architecture exam by any chance? I know that has 7 parts and is extremely difficult. My sister is currently studying for her first section. 

    I took the CPA and took all 4 parts in the same 2 month testing window (that is not normal, but I wasn't working). I failed my first one and got my score back right before I sat for the 3rd part. I was devastated and obviously that shook my confidence. I called my mom and was of course really heartbroken and she told me to take the one day off studying and then forget about it because there is always another chance. It helped me knowing that the section I took had about a 40% pass rate. 

    When I was studying for the failed section again I looked at my areas of weakness and really focused on those. Not sure what your test format is, but mine was broken out into multiple choice and simulations. I failed the sims so I hit those hard and then took a test online to see what my weak MC areas were and did probably 20 practice tests. 

    Are there any forums for your exam where people get together online and talk about what they did to move on or what they've found most helpful in studying? I found that to be so helpful knowing that even though none of my friends failed that section I know others did. 

    I also repeated to myself over and over "You is smart, you is kind, you is important." 

    princessleia22mj8215
  • princessleia22princessleia22 Oceanfront Property in Arizona member
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    edited September 2015
    @princessleia22 was that the architecture exam by any chance? I know that has 7 parts and is extremely difficult. My sister is currently studying for her first section. 

    I took the CPA and took all 4 parts in the same 2 month testing window (that is not normal, but I wasn't working). I failed my first one and got my score back right before I sat for the 3rd part. I was devastated and obviously that shook my confidence. I called my mom and was of course really heartbroken and she told me to take the one day off studying and then forget about it because there is always another chance. It helped me knowing that the section I took had about a 40% pass rate. 

    When I was studying for the failed section again I looked at my areas of weakness and really focused on those. Not sure what your test format is, but mine was broken out into multiple choice and simulations. I failed the sims so I hit those hard and then took a test online to see what my weak MC areas were and did probably 20 practice tests. 

    Are there any forums for your exam where people get together online and talk about what they did to move on or what they've found most helpful in studying? I found that to be so helpful knowing that even though none of my friends failed that section I know others did. 

    I also repeated to myself over and over "You is smart, you is kind, you is important." 

    Yep, it was the architecture exams.  There is a reason only around 50% of people that graduate from architecture school actually pass the exams and end up as Architects. The portion that caused me so much trouble was the Structural portion, which really sucked because I work for a structural engineer. So, I thought that part would be easy for me. Hopefully your sister has good luck with it and doesn't stress too much.  It's certainly stressful, but totally worth it in the end.

    It does help to remember that it is just a test, you certainly aren't the first person to ever fail it, you can retake it, and failing isn't the end of the world.

    image 

    mj8215
  • @princessleia22 was that the architecture exam by any chance? I know that has 7 parts and is extremely difficult. My sister is currently studying for her first section. 

    I took the CPA and took all 4 parts in the same 2 month testing window (that is not normal, but I wasn't working). I failed my first one and got my score back right before I sat for the 3rd part. I was devastated and obviously that shook my confidence. I called my mom and was of course really heartbroken and she told me to take the one day off studying and then forget about it because there is always another chance. It helped me knowing that the section I took had about a 40% pass rate. 

    When I was studying for the failed section again I looked at my areas of weakness and really focused on those. Not sure what your test format is, but mine was broken out into multiple choice and simulations. I failed the sims so I hit those hard and then took a test online to see what my weak MC areas were and did probably 20 practice tests. 

    Are there any forums for your exam where people get together online and talk about what they did to move on or what they've found most helpful in studying? I found that to be so helpful knowing that even though none of my friends failed that section I know others did. 

    I also repeated to myself over and over "You is smart, you is kind, you is important." 

    Yep, it was the architecture exams.  There is a reason only around 50% of people that graduate from architecture school actually pass the exams and end up as Architects. The portion that caused me so much trouble was the Structural portion, which really sucked because I work for a structural engineer. So, I thought that part would be easy for me. Hopefully your sister has good luck with it and doesn't stress too much.  It's certainly stressful, but totally worth it in the end.

    It does help to remember that it is just a test, you certainly aren't the first person to ever fail it, you can retake it, and failing isn't the end of the world.
    It's funny you say that only 50% actually pass the exams. I didn't know it was that low, but I should have. She is only person in her entire firm who is not a partner taking the exam. I'll let her know to study that portion extra. 

  • princessleia22princessleia22 Oceanfront Property in Arizona member
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    edited September 2015
    @princessleia22 was that the architecture exam by any chance? I know that has 7 parts and is extremely difficult. My sister is currently studying for her first section. 

    I took the CPA and took all 4 parts in the same 2 month testing window (that is not normal, but I wasn't working). I failed my first one and got my score back right before I sat for the 3rd part. I was devastated and obviously that shook my confidence. I called my mom and was of course really heartbroken and she told me to take the one day off studying and then forget about it because there is always another chance. It helped me knowing that the section I took had about a 40% pass rate. 

    When I was studying for the failed section again I looked at my areas of weakness and really focused on those. Not sure what your test format is, but mine was broken out into multiple choice and simulations. I failed the sims so I hit those hard and then took a test online to see what my weak MC areas were and did probably 20 practice tests. 

    Are there any forums for your exam where people get together online and talk about what they did to move on or what they've found most helpful in studying? I found that to be so helpful knowing that even though none of my friends failed that section I know others did. 

    I also repeated to myself over and over "You is smart, you is kind, you is important." 

    Yep, it was the architecture exams.  There is a reason only around 50% of people that graduate from architecture school actually pass the exams and end up as Architects. The portion that caused me so much trouble was the Structural portion, which really sucked because I work for a structural engineer. So, I thought that part would be easy for me. Hopefully your sister has good luck with it and doesn't stress too much.  It's certainly stressful, but totally worth it in the end.

    It does help to remember that it is just a test, you certainly aren't the first person to ever fail it, you can retake it, and failing isn't the end of the world.
    It's funny you say that only 50% actually pass the exams. I didn't know it was that low, but I should have. She is only person in her entire firm who is not a partner taking the exam. I'll let her know to study that portion extra. 
    Structural has a lot of info and it's impossible to really memorize all of it. If she has trouble with it or has the opportunity, I highly recommend the seminars by David Thaddeus.  I traveled from AZ to FL for it and it was worth every penny.  He teaches how to pass the exam, not how to learn every last detail of structures. It really breaks the info down into something manageable to learn. That's what finally got me to pass it.

    ETA: Thaddeus now offers an online video version of the seminars, which wasn't available when I did it. Probably cheaper and more affordable, unless there happens to be a live seminar in her area.

    image 

  • Thank you all for your responses! I definitely did throw myself the pity party but now am doing all I can to attack this exam. I did seek out people across the country who have failed (and subsequently passed) and that was definitely very helpful... And I've made a clear study plan which includes lots of new resources that were recommended to me. My mentors all seem to think I just had a bad day but I don't want to rely on that...
    Thanks again, really appreciate everyone's kind words.
    - The stars, like dust, encircle me in living mists of light. And all of space I seem to see in one vast burst of sight. 
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