Recently, one of my students shared with me she’d gotten a disappointing test grade. At first, instead of analyzing what went wrong and figuring out what she could do differently, she started blaming her teacher, saying she didn’t know what was going to be on the test, and started panicking, trying to calculate how the disappointing grade would affect her overall grade.
I thought this was so interesting, because this student has a completely different mindset when it comes to her passion of musical theater. We talked through what would happen if she made a mistake at a big audition, like missing a high note.
She laughed and she said, “Well, I wouldn’t blame the pianist for sneezing and then singing the wrong note because I was matching the pitch of his sneeze! I would figure out why I missed the note, and ask for help from my singing teacher so I could be more accurate next time!”
Somehow, she knew exactly how to adjust her approach with musical theater, and we talked about how to transfer that over to her math mastery process.
So let me share this exact same process with you – what to do and NOT to do when you’ve gotten a disappointing math test, so you won’t get stuck and can keep moving forward and creating what you want in your life.
1. Don’t despair. Even if you feel like you got EVERYTHING wrong, there is hope. It just means there are things you haven’t learned yet, and if you work on them, you will improve. I’m serious!
2. Don’t internalize the failure. A lot of times, when you get a crappy grade on a math test, it’s easy to think, “I will never get this,” “I am not a math person,” or “I guess I just don’t have a ‘math’ brain.” I know, because I used to have those thoughts all the time myself. Somehow getting a bad grade becomes like part of your identity! Even if everything feels completely, utterly impossible, remember, math is something EVERYONE can learn. It’s all about breaking it down and practicing.
3. Don’t give up. A failure is only a true failure if you don’t use it as an opportunity to learn.
4. Don’t blame others for what happened. It’s really easy when you get a test back to think, “Well, my teacher didn’t tell me THAT was going to be on the test,” or, “I didn’t know the test was going to be THAT day,” or whatever it is. But when you blame others, you completely give away your power to someone else.
5. Take personal responsibility for what happened. When you take personal responsibility, you have the power to change your life. If you are willing to look at what actions you took and choices you made, you can change them and get a different result next time.
(Note: I know this can seem so hard, even ridiculous, to say, “Yes, I’M taking responsibility for the fact that I don’t get this.” I used to REALLY struggle with this. So maybe just try it as an experiment. Being willing to take more and more responsibility for the results of my choices has created so much change in my life. Even though I really resisted this initially.)
(And, taking personal responsibility can be as simple as admitting to yourself, “Yes, I do need help with this, and I’m willing to ask for it.)
6. Ask yourself what went wrong. Did you not know what was going to be on the test? Did you forget to study?
7. Ask yourself what you can do differently next time. Can you ask your teacher for a list of topics to study? Can you write the test date into your planner, or put it into your phone? What will remind you to study?
8. Make a different choice. Decide to ask your teacher for topics, and then do so. Write the test date into your planner. Create a reminder to study, and then study!
9. Ask for help. If you are doing everything you can and you’re still not getting the results you want, ask for help! You don’t have to do this alone!
Do you wish someone could help walk you through this process and help you learn the parts that are confusing to you in a way that is fun and makes total sense? Are you tired of getting disappointing test results? Are you willing to invest in high-level support?
Then I invite you to apply for my one-on-one math tutoring programs!
Just click here to get started with your special application. Once your application is received, we’ll set up a special phone call to get clear if my approach would be a good fit for your child.
I’m excited to receive your application!
Sending you love,