How to deal with failure

Written by Lee Ping Chong: LeePing

Actuarial exams are difficult. However, if you pass all the actuarial exams, it’s very rewarding. You will get a higher chance of getting an actuarial job interview, promotions at work and salary raises. It is very important for those pursuing actuarial science path to pass all the exams. However, you might encounter failures along the journey.

Personally, I have failed Exam P, C and MLC. I took Exam P when I went back to Malaysia for my summer vacation in 2012. As I was not well prepared, I did not pass it. That was my first exam failure in my life. I was devastated and depressed to the point that I did not want to talk to my family. One of my good friends then persuaded me to join a marathon (in Malaysia, that is equivalent to 5k/ 3.1m). I agreed, as I needed to do something to make myself feel better. On the day of the marathon, a sense of accomplishment rose within me when I reached the finish line with my friends. I did not feel so down anymore.

Thanks to my friend, I gained my confidence back and registered for Exam P again. I passed it in the next sitting. After the “super devastated P incident”, I became more resilient towards exam failures. Of course, I was still disappointed when I did not pass Exam C and MLC. However, I recovered much more quickly than the “super devastated P incident”. A McDonalds Happy Meal accompanied with a complimentary minion toy was enough to cheer me up after I failed MLC. I registered for the next MLC sitting right after that and passed in that sitting.

I would like to share some tips for those who need advice on dealing with exam failure.

Run a marathon

It worked really effectively for me and I believe that it will work for you, too. Exercising is the best and healthiest and most natural anti-depressant. When you are running, your thoughts don’t bother you as much. It is more effective if you run with your family or friends. Also, when you reach the finish line, you will feel accomplished and that will help bring your confidence back!

Share it with someone

You can open up and share your feelings with your family, friends, teachers, or anyone else whom you are comfortable with. Negative emotions need to be let out. Don’t be afraid to express how sad or disappointed you are about exam failures. After letting out these negative feelings, you will slowly recover.

Do something that can help you relax

You can take up yoga, baking, drawing, dancing, swimming or any other forms of activity. Find a way to release your tension. When you are really into a hobby, it can help you temporarily forget about your failure.

In short, failing an exam is not the end of the world. You are not alone. Take your time to recover and come back to take the exams again when you are ready. Learn from the past experience of failures and move on. You can then design a better study plan to tackle the exam. As long as you don’t give up, actuarial exam success will be yours one day.