Coping with Failing your Financial Risk Manager Exam

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes



Are you wondering how to cope with the recent failure of your financial risk manager exam? Are you unsure of what is your next move?

We understand the challenges and turmoil that many students face each year as they spend many hours to prepare for their FRM examinations only to end up not getting the result what they expected.

We would like to share a few pointers on how to deal with not getting the desired result in your GARP examinations.



The FRM exams can be one of the most dreaded aspects of your life as a student and whether or not you are a high achiever, circumstance can cause you to miss the goal at any point in time.

When you fail an exam it can be one of the most devastating experiences as it will undoubtedly affect your self-esteem, resources as well as other areas of your life.

However, it is important first and foremost that you are aware of the fact that the exam is one of the many challenges that you will take in your lifetime whether you like it or not.

Whenever you take risks you either fail or succeed.  When you shop online you are taking risks. Once you become involved in a relationship you are taking risks.

Starting your own business means you are taking risks. Life is all about taking risks so you cannot let failure deter you from trying.

Also, in order to succeed you must risk failure. The saying goes, “better to fail trying than not to try at all.”

Here are some tips that should help you to do just that.


I am not the first or only

As much as this is not something to gloat about, remind yourself that you are not the only student that has ever failed this examination; therefore failure is not uniquely yours.

Remember the saying that; “when life knocks you down, get up brush yourself off and keep going.”

It is certainly true that, in the moment, you will feel as if the entire world came down on you in an instant, crushing your dreams, but you simply have to tell yourself that this is merely a bump in the road to success.

Many others have failed and tried again, refusing to give up- so must you be determined and persistent until your goals have been achieved.


Talk about it

If you have failed your exam, then talk about it. Do not keep it to yourself! As they say…“A problem shared is a problem halved.”

So take time and talk to a friend, a family member, a co student, a caring lecturer, a teacher or a counselor. Talking about it might also motivate you to explore your options and make better choices in the future.

Additionally, you will learn ways in which others have dealt with failing their exams and how they moved passed that dreaded point in their life.


Failure as my motivation

Many of you believe that when you fail the test, this will somehow leave an indelible mark on your achievement record that will hinder the type of job or office position that you had envisioned.

This however does not have to be so, as failing the test does NOT make you less intelligent or efficient. Therefore, we say use this failure as a motivational instrument to excel in future exams.

Tell yourself that this will not be an obstacle in your path of achieving greatness and like the Phoenix you will rise out of this and achieve your dreams.


To blame or not to blame

Do not play the blame game when if you didn’t succeed. It is a sign of maturity when you take responsibility for this failure.

Other factors might have contributed, but retrace your steps to see what you as the person in question could have done to avoid this outcome.

If you can take responsibility for this, then you will also take the necessary step or steps to prevent any future occurrence.

If possible review your exam preparation techniques to establish areas of strengths and weaknesses and start working to strengthening those fragile areas.


Letting it go

Do not let failing determine who you are as an individual. Therefore do not bottle it up inside and let it fester until you start seeing yourself as one big failure.

People who embrace failure eventually end up with low self-esteem and little or no self-confidence. Therefore you need to let it go, assert yourself and rise above this failure.

The ball is in your court and you must determine whether you “sink or swim”.


A temporary stop on the way to prosperity

Treat that failure only as a temporary obstacle. It is easy to slip into depression and wallow in self-pity but remember that your emotional well-being is of vital importance to you and your loved ones.

So take a little time out to do things that will help you take your mind off the failure and rejuvenate.

As soon as you have accomplished this get back to the task at hand with renewed interest and determination.


Shun negative thoughts

Be aware of negative thoughts and actions and try to avoid them at all cost. Repeat to yourself those things that are only positive and encouraging. As hard as it may be, try to find the good in your failure!

How can I possibly find any good in not passing my examinations you may ask?

Well, take this example…“failing this exam has taught me not to be complacent or even overly confident. This failure will serve as the motivation for my future successes


Taking time

Do not agonize over this failure. Let go and move on after doing a thorough analysis to find out where you went wrong and what not to do in future similar situations.

As you are to be analytical in your exams, so too must you be in trying to figure out what went wrong and what steps must be taken in order to have better results the next time around.

Am I dedicating enough time each day to understand the various concepts being taught? Must I spend more time with my weak areas and less time on my strongest subjects?


Who are my influencers?

Let your struggle help you to believe in yourself and not to depend on the opinions and expectations of those persons who are in your life.

Do not let others, no matter how much you love and respect them, influence how you think and behave. Yes, you can value their advice and suggestions, but at the end of the day it is your decision that counts.

When you allow yourself to be judged and manipulated by those around you, your confidence and self-esteem diminish and you become weak and dependent.


Great persons fail…often

Think about all the great persons that you know who have risen above their failures and realize their full potential; it is a great tool to use these individuals as part of your inspiration to get over this bump that you have experienced and move forward with purpose.

Many of the great persons who we see in our society today have failed many exams before arriving at where they are at today, so what makes you any different?

In fact, many persons have stated that their best breakthroughs came only after they have experienced failure; their best ideas were as a result of not getting what they wanted on the first go and their best method to learning came as a result of being handed a fail at some point in life.


Inward reflection

After coming to grips with the fact that you have failed, be introspective! Examine your options carefully before making any quick decisions.

Example: “should I do some type of a supplemental/intermediate step at this point to gain some momentum or should I spend more time studying and re-sit next year?”

Perhaps you are not at the level where you are supposed to be and taking some sitting or course between the next attempts may just be the solution that is needed- are you in need of special help when it comes on to those mathematical aspects (i.e. quantitative methods) of the course?

Selective focus on those weak areas may do the trick for you.


Your methodologies

It is always crucial to examine your study methods to see if they are ideal and best suit your individual learning style.

Be extremely careful when listening to everyone’s suggestions; as what might work for others will not necessarily work for you- the aim is to try and find what suits your unique learning styles and abilities.

Some individuals may be considered more ‘visual’ learners while others may more appreciate the tutelage of an experienced forerunner, and others yet may be able to sit quietly by themselves and review entire texts at a time.

Know what type of learner you are and follow on the best path that suits you.


Tracking your progress

In preparing for the test, find ways and means to keep track of how you prepare yourself for an exam so that next time around you can eliminate those strategies that did not work.

Keeping a simple journal of what was done and how often this particular strategy was done can be quite a useful activity.

Others may prefer writing on a large white board that will be present in their study environment to constantly remind them on their study path and progress.


Overdoing it

All work and no play…Yes, your exam will be stressful enough, but do not try to study all the time as this action can actually saturate and cloud your memory, thus causing more harm than good.

The brain needs its own time to unwind and rest. Do not over indulge your studying activities but take time out go for a stroll, watch a light fulfilling movie, meditate, cook up a storm etc.

You will be amazed at how helpful taking breaks will help in re-focusing your mental efforts. Find time to laugh; the saying goes “laughter is good medicine!”

Take time out to hang with friends that are productive and exude positive attitudes.


Food for thought

In everything you do in life, diet will certainly be one of the extremely important factors so make sure you take time out to eat balance meals throughout your days.

If you are hungry your brain will fail to function adequately so be sure to eat substantially before your FRM examinations.

It I also useful to avoid high-sugar content foods that will simply create a short-term rush (the dreaded sugar rush) which will only inevitably end in a crash quickly after.

Having foods that will release sugar slowly over time (such as oats or bananas) will serve you much better in your study efforts.



Failing a task does not make you a failure; instead what it does for you, like success, is to teach you valuable life-lessons. One such lesson is that; “because of a mistake made under adverse pressure, you are not failing at life.”

So dealing with this failure in an amicable way and moving on will only make you a stronger, less complacent and a more resilient individual.

This is no joke- Failure does make you stronger. It takes you out of your comfort zone, and makes you try harder…but you will have to decide to try harder and be better.

As a student, you need to realize that coping with failure is as important, if not more so, as dealing with success.

Therefore it is essential that you put mechanisms in place to help you if you do not find success right away, as lack of adequate coping strategies can lead to nervous breakdown, other stress related illnesses, unrealized dreams or even self-harming thoughts.

Enjoy your studies, pace yourself well and achieve your goals.

We sincerely hope that you enjoyed reading this article and learnt some valuable lessons from it and how to better deal with another possible aspect of the financial risk manager examination.

Be sure to visit our article section for many more useful insights.



The QuestionBank Family