Background: Physics Major (3.5 physics gpa), college graduate, pursuing PhD, PGRE: 700 52% I have seen a couple of threads on test taking, but I have a slight different direction. I don't have problems with tests in general. I have done well on many many exams ( physics, math, chemistry, Italian, whatever). I have even done well on standardized exams. However, I royally messed up the pgre ( took it 3 times improved score by 100 points from last time and by 200 points from the first time i took it). I also don't do well on time -pressured exams. For example the prof will hand out an exam that basically looks like a problem set but we have 1 hour sometimes 1.5 hours to do it. My problem is that I run out of time and don't end up finishing. I know how to do the problems and the prof sees that I do, but I didn't figure out the short cut. To fix this, I have gone to office hours and I spent a lot of time studying. I work on lots and lots of physics problems to get a deeper understanding. This shows through in class and my research, but not through my some of my exams. Lastly, I am in this huge huge limbo. I thought because I don't do well exams, I will never make into grad school. My research experiences are in particle theory and I was very good. My advisors were happy and I was pretty happy. Despite facing lots of road blocks in my research, I still love it. I am always motivated and overall my research experiences have taught me lots of things, physics, maths, problem solving, dealing with road blocks etc. I am sad that I will probably never make it as a particle theorist and it simply hurts. I feel very sad, broken heart sad, and it seems pathetic. I don't want to give up, but should I? Is there no other road to theoretical physics? Previous thread that I saw indicates that a masters in physics isn't useful. My advisors are beyond the most encouraging people. They still say that I can make it and motivate me. I feel like I will regret and always wonder what if? if I don't go after something I am passionate about. How long will it take me to find something else I am passionate about? I have done several job applications and interviews for finance and engineering industry. I make it to the final round, but the person with the degree in those respective fields gets chosen (makes sense). I feel like I would have to go through more schooling :/ Even high school teaching requires additional schooling... Main question: How have you overcome a struggle? What did you do to reach your goal? How did you figure it all out?