Were you afraid to go to university?

10 tips on how to prepare for the 3rd attempt at the exam

by Tim Reichel

At the university you will be faced with new challenges every semester. Deadlines for written exams, oral exams or written coursework are regularly on your calendar. Accordingly, many students come under pressure during the examination phase - especially when they have to study for several exams at the same time or examination dates follow one another at very short intervals.

If the study workload, the level of difficulty and the stress level are too high, the success of the exam often becomes a shiver. Short-term exams or failed attempts are the result - with far-reaching consequences, because: You only have a certain number of exam attempts available. As a rule, three attempts are possible per exam. However, if you fail the exam on the third attempt, your studies will end prematurely and you will be de-registered.

In other words: your personal worst-case scenario occurs.

It is therefore understandable that many students want to prevent this scenario and are very afraid of their third attempt at the exam. Nevertheless, thousands of examinees are confronted with exactly this situation semester after semester. You are facing your last exam attempt. They are nervous, overwhelmed and do not know how to prepare.

I wrote this article for these students. Maybe he'll help you too.


Read the DOEDL method for free!


This is how you learn for your third attempt at the exam

The third attempt at the exam is something special. It's your last chance; nothing must go wrong. That means: In addition to the learning material, you have to struggle with maximum pressure to perform and significantly increased fear of exams.

Granted, these aren't the best conditions for relaxed exam preparation, but your situation isn't as bad as it feels. With the right strategy and a smart approach, you can master your third exam attempt.

These ten tips will help you.


Tip 1: get determined and optimistic!

The third attempt at the exam is a mental brake for many students. The situation is depressing and destroys large parts of the motivation. Therefore, when preparing for the exam, the very first thing you should start with is your attitude and your thoughts. Make it clear to yourself that you will only be successful if you approach your challenge in a positive way. Focus on your goal (pass the exam), make it clear to yourself to achieve it and never lose sight of it until the end.

Reading tip: Why you should never lose sight of your goals while studying - a little story


Tip 2: bring yourself up to date!

For many candidates, the third attempt means that they failed the corresponding exam twice some time ago. The emphasis is on "SOME TIME AGO". Often it was two or three semesters ago that the lecture was attended; sometimes longer. The problem with this is: Your learning materials may no longer be up to date. Your lecturer may have updated the documents or revised some of the content of the lecture - and thus changed the examination material. Because of this, you run the risk of preparing yourself for the wrong content. And that mustn't happen to you. So bring yourself up to date: Get the current documents, get information from other students or directly at the chair and, if in doubt, visit the lecture again.

Reading tip: Narrow down the material: This is how you find out which content is relevant for the exam


Tip 3: create a learning plan!

As soon as you know which material is relevant for the exam, you shouldn't start learning straight away, but first create an appropriate learning plan. Determine which content you should learn when. Plan enough time for important topics, exercises, and repetitions. Try to define all learning units in advance and collect them in a time overview. Adjust your study plan over the course of the semester if you notice that your planning is not going well. Instructions (with templates) can be found in the following reading tip:

Reading tip: How to create a learning plan for your next exam - step-by-step instructions for a relaxed exam phase


Tip 4: start exam preparation early!

You cannot successfully pass a third exam attempt with just a few days of preparation. If you don't take your situation seriously and only start preparing shortly before your exam date, you are recklessly putting your last chance at risk. In the best case, you should prepare yourself for your third, crucial exam date since your second failed attempt became known.

Reading tip: Exam preparation: 5 questions that you should ask yourself before you start studying


Tip 5: learn continuously!

The key to deeply anchored knowledge and a solid understanding of the material lies in continuous learning. Short, high-intensity learning units immediately before your exam can occasionally lead to success - but I strongly advise against it for your third attempt at the exam. Too much is at stake for that. Instead, make a habit of studying regularly for your exam. It is best to prepare from day one. Just work a little bit - but every day. In total, you will be able to get the best performance with it.

Reading tip: How to release the handbrake while studying with Non-Zero Days and get started right away


Tip 6: learn in stages!

Shortly before their third attempt at the exam, many students study for days and nights. They spend hours reading their learning materials, repeating old exam tasks and working to the point of total exhaustion. Unfortunately, this strategy has few advantages. In the worst case, this type of learning can even backfire, because memory performance and the ability to concentrate decrease rapidly as a result of the long-term stress described. In the end, there is a high expenditure of time against a mediocre to poor yield. On the other hand, it makes much more sense if you learn in stages and insert short breaks between your learning units. In this article, I'll show you how you can do this:

Reading tip: How to use the Pomodoro technique to do more in a single day than in a whole week


Tip 7: Concentrate only on your third attempt at the exam!

It often happens that the third attempt at an exam is surrounded by other exam dates. The exam planners at your university usually take little account of repeaters and do not organize the exam phase according to your individual needs. You must therefore ensure that you have enough time to study before your crucial exam and that you are not distracted from other obligations. Try to put your full concentration on your third attempt. Cancel competing appointments or postpone other exams in an emergency so that you can focus completely.

Reading tip: The amazingly simple secret of highly productive students


Tip 8: Know the general conditions!

Third attempted examinations are also something special from an examination law perspective. As mentioned at the beginning, after the third failure, there is usually a risk of de-registration - but depending on the university there are special features that are intended for this situation. For example, some universities offer a final supplementary examination or, under certain circumstances, provide for a fourth attempt at the examination. You have to know these regulations before you accept your big challenge. You can find all the rules of the game under examination law in your examination regulations. Be sure to read the relevant passages and inform yourself in detail about the applicable framework conditions.

Reading Tip: The Holy Scriptures: 5 Reasons Why You Should Read Your Examination Regulations


Tip 9: Overcome your exam anxiety!

Yes, a third attempt is an exceptional situation. You have your back to the wall and you feel bad. I can understand when you feel uncomfortable and fear the situation. But you must not let your test anxiety overwhelm you; you have to look her in the eye and fight it. If your exam anxiety paralyzes you and you surrender to it, you have wasted your last exam attempt before you even started studying. Do not suppress your fear. Accept them. Feel them. Deal with her. Arrange them. And then overcome it. This is how it could work:

Reading tip: Paint the devil on the wall: This is how you overcome your test anxiety


Tip 10: Play your exam through in your mind - and pass it!

Back to tip 1: Exam success begins in the head. If you want to pass your third attempt, you have to mentally accept the challenge and get in the mood for a positive result. Not so that you can rest on the thought that everything will be fine, but rather to strengthen your willpower with a positive feeling. So play through your upcoming exam in your mind. Imagine studying diligently and efficiently. Draw a mental picture of yourself outgrowing yourself during the exam. Watch in your mind's eye how you pass the exam at the end and are overjoyed. And then use this motivation to optimally prepare for your exam.

Reading tip: How you can use the priming effect in your studies for better results and more motivation when learning


Read the ass kick book grati s!



Special situations require special measures. And a third attempt at the exam clearly falls into this category. Many students treat their final exam chance like an ordinary standard exam - and fail. Therefore, should you ever find yourself in this situation, you will need to adjust your strategy. The ten tips above will help you with this.

If you are really serious and want to prepare your third exam attempt professionally, I have three profiling tips for you:

Optimal time management:

Bachelor of Time - Time Management in Studies

Perfect organization:

DOEDL method - self-management during studies

Unstoppable motivation:

Kick Ass Book - Self-Motivation in Studies

A third attempt at the exam is tough, but doable. With the right approach, you will do it. Don't let yourself get down, don't beat yourself up and start your exam preparation today.

I wish you success!


Image: © Japheth Mast / unsplash.com