Surviving the retake test

I am currently a third year optometry student at Nova Southeastern University and recently survived taking a retake. As most of you will agree, second year is the hardest year of optometry school; for me the second semester was harder than the first.

Fortunately we are able to earn a better grade through a “retake”, which is, in essence, a second chance test.  I failed two classes, meaning I had to pass two retakes in order to proceed into third year.

The review process can be daunting

Taking a retake requires a review of all of the information from that semester for that specific class. In most cases a retake isn’t as difficult as a test during the regular semester because you have a month off to study.

Unfortunately, summer between second and third year is only a week off which meant I had less time to review. The shortened period of time plus the stress from learning about failing your class can be overwhelming.

For best results, I recommend first finding ways to deal with your anxiety/stress, whether that be working out, hobbies, etc., find something that helps you deal when you are not studying.

Sit down and make a plan

The first step in this planning process is to determine what you know and what you do not know, followed by making a timeline/breakdown of the subject. The breakdown helps determine which areas you need to spend more time in and understand vs the areas you are already confident in.

The second is to be sure to reach out for support, whether that be classmates or professors.  An outside perspective can help direct you in your studying.

The final thing you need before you begin to study is support from your friends, family, and school community. The more support you have the more you can relax and focus on passing.

The upside to a retake

Of course retaking an entire course in such a short time is exhausting and stressful, but there are some benefits.

The most obvious one is that you will gain a better understanding of the subject matter than most people; you are investing more time and energy into it. The second benefit is gaining resilience and confidence around your knowledge of the subject.

In short, re-taking an exam (in my case two) is not a desirable situation but with the support of my friends, family, colleagues, and professors and an extra dose of  determination I made it through, which means you can too!