Why I Failed An EASY English Exam

A few years ago, I failed the easiest English exam I had ever taken because of a silly mistake

Here's the story.

I wanted to study translation at a national university in Argentina and to be accepted to the program, I had to pass a few exams that were designed to test my fluency and English ability.

Needless to say, they were all very easy.

For example, the assignment on the writing exam was to create a short 150-word story, which I could have done in 5 minutes.

I thought that was too easy...

So, instead, I decided to spend two hours writing a clever little tale with a surprising twist of events.

My final draft was over 2 pages long, and I proudly turned it in before marching out the door to catch the train home.

The next week, while the teacher passed back the graded tests, I could hardly contain my excitement. I was sure I had greatly impressed her with my fantastic writing ability.

But I couldn't have been more wrong.

Seconds later, I was holding my exam and staring down at a big, fat 3 written on the front.

Yup, I had failed.

It didn't matter that my story was cool or that my grammar was perfect. It didn't matter that it was FUNNY or that I had spent two hours writing it. What mattered was that the test had very specific requirements, and I didn't follow them.

So, when all the non-native English speakers who had failed were re-taking that test, guess who was in the room retaking it with them.


I'm sure you can imagine how embarrassing that was... lesson learned... Sometimes it's OK to break the rules, but not on tests.

So, when you take tests, make sure to read the instructions carefully and follow them. Don't try to be clever or creative. Tests are designed to examine your abilities in very specific ways. And as long as you give the examiners what they want, you will PASS every single time.

Shortly after failing this exam I realized that translation wasn't for me, although my decision had nothing to do with this exam. I think this anecdote is funny, but I also cringe every time I remember my silly mistake. 

Hopefully, this never happens to you!

Anyhow, have you ever made a big mistake on an exam, project, or assignment? What happened? What lesson did you learn? 

Feel free to share your response in the comments. :) 


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