Learning From Your Results

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What you learn from your results can improve your success at University.

When I was doing my undergraduate degree, my first instinct when I received my grades was to compare my grades to what I thought I should get to what I actually got.  Nothing wrong with that, right?  Especially, if there’s a vast difference you might want to check with your examiner and get some feedback on what happened.  So, no there wasn’t a problem with that part.

What would often happen is that if I got a good grade, I would celebrate and then promptly forget about it.  This is a common reaction.  After a hard or difficult semester we just want to forget all about it and move on.  However, just like I mentioned last week, it’s important to take time to do a review and work out what areas you could improve in, what did you do right and more importantly, what action do I need to take for the next semester.

And now, you have actual results that you can measure yourself against.  Whereas last week I wrote about reviewing your performance between finishing your last exam and getting your results, now you have results as well that you can use in your own review.

There are two clear cut reasons why you would want to do this.  Firstly, to find out what areas to improve so you can do better next time and the second one is related to complacency.  See, when we fail we can go back and ascertain where we went wrong and how we can do better next time.  Not so with success.  With success we can too easily assume that everything went well and there’s nothing we need to do to change.

“We’ve all heard that we have to learn from our mistakes, but I think it’s more important to learn from successes. If you learn only from your mistakes, you are inclined to learn only errors.” — Norman Vincent Peale

We need to learn from our mistakes but also from our successes, particularly taking note of what worked, what didn’t (because even if we were successful there are still going to be areas where we weren’t 100% successful) and what you need to improve for next time.

If you do that, you’ll surpass most of your fellow students who are either content with their success or willing to ignore their failures but more importantly, you’ll keep improving and enjoy greater success than you could have previously.

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