Why Students Fail Examinations: All around the world Education is seen as being the bedrock of civilization. A good education equips one with the right knowledge, skill and exposure to navigate society and be successful in the future. Parents, guardians and even individuals go out of their way to get their children, wards and themselves the best education money could offer. A lot of importance is placed on educational performance for growth and advancement in society. Therefore, it is not a surprise that tests or exams play a huge role in the goings on in the lives of people and society at large; it is a deciding factor to the schools, course of study and even dream jobs one can gain access to. It is therefore a nightmare to so many when they are faced with failure at any level in their pursuit of educational success.
Failure is a stumbling block most people dread running into on their way to meeting personal or societal expectations. Many individuals have ready answers for why they perform poorly on their exam result booklets; most of them due to both internal and external factors, which are very much interrelated. Factors that are almost the same across all school class and age grade strata.
In recent times, all across the globe, statistics have shown the decline in performances of students during examinations to be on the rise, as such, we will be exploring some of the numerous reasons why students fail in their Examinations.
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8 Major Reasons Why Students Fail Examinations
Here are a few Reasons why students fail Examinations:
1. Poor or No Preparation: Simply put, preparation is what you do in readiness for an occurrence or event. Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”, and Confucius was also credited to have said that, “success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure”. This issue of lack of preparation usually happens to students just venturing into a new class or field.
They most times lack the psychological, emotional and academic preparedness required for the new phase, and so, they typically go into an examination without the required inspiration and diligence to make good grades. A student can still falter in an exam despite having all the requisite knowledge and educational facilities available to them. Lack of preparation incudes: not reading class or lecture notes, not doing all necessary research broad reading needed for a particular subject or course, lack of good revisions, not studying past questions, etc. Preparation gives one a level of assuredness needed to get the job done.
2. Lack Of Interest or No Interest At All: Having an interest in a particular subject, course or field of study is an added advantage for a student intending to do well in their exams. When one is not interested in a thing, they tend to hardly ever give it time or attention which translates to poor performances on exam day. Once an individual’s heart is not in a venture, they seldom give their best and this builds a castle that failure most certainly lives in.
3. Procrastination: Procrastination is putting off tasks meant to be carried out today or now for tomorrow or later. It is not strange to hear students, especially those in tertiary institutions say things like, “the deadline for that assignment is still afar off, I’ll relax today and do it some other time.”
Students postpone studying, writing papers and doing assignments to times when it becomes too overwhelming for them to practically give their best or do at all.
It becomes a very big challenge when a student is then a chronic procrastinator as procrastination goes a long way to affect ones performance in exams that contain questions requiring a knowledge included in these put-off assignments, papers and projects.
4. Lack Of Good Management of Time: In the West African Examination Council (WAEC) exams written by Secondary School students to certify their eligibility to go on to university in West Africa, it is reported that 15% of failures recorded every year is as a result of the students inability to maximize the time allocated them.
Most students do not realize part of the test is also to see how much their brains can analyze and compute information within an allocated time. So, it is possible for a student might be prepared and still fail due to working slowly or answering questions at one’s own slow pace. Instead of answering the easier questions, some students tend to settle on a hard or ambiguous question for a large chunk of the time apportioned for an exam.
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5. Wrong Reading Practices: A student that studies inefficiently will most definitely end up with bad grades. When one sleeps easily and then goes to their beds to study, that’s an arrangement for failure on the long run.
Another scenario is when one has not studied him/herself to learn how their body functions and try to study only at night when they are busy all day long, they are also concocting a recipe for failure in future. It is then pertinent to state that one needs to develop healthy reading habits that work overtime, and change any practices that have been discovered not to give the wanted outcome.
6. Going To the Exam Overconfident: Being confident is a good trait to have, but having an overdose of it can be self-destructive. In thinking one knows more than enough, they may not see the little details that make the much difference.
In a bid to show they are smarter than the examiner, an overconfident person might ignore instructions and do things their own way. An overconfident student will almost never agree they don’t know how to go about a thing or that they are wrong when they are.
7. Indecisiveness: You know these category of student when you see the amount of cancelled work or answers on their answer booklets. They always find a way to confuse themselves about a question even after answering correctly the first time.
They are usually not able to decide which of the multiple answers they come up with is the correct answer. These confusion and indecisiveness usually leads to bad time management, bad use of answer booklet space, not articulating answers the right way, confusing answers that never get the full mark, etc.
8. Being Distracted: Technology have become increasingly available and affordable. So, a student might prefer to be engaged on Social media, play computer games or do a ton of other leisurely things that the technology of now can help a person do rather than study their books, work on assignments or even attend classes.
Students may prefer a night out partying than sitting in their dorm rooms going through their notes for the day. Distractions of many colours bedevil an undisciplined student and create a sure path to exam failure.
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9. Examination fear/Exam Phobia: Fear is one of the factors that kills great people even before they notice it. Usually, examination fear is caused by the fact that; you don’t know what to expect in the examination. Another reason why people are afraid during exams is because they probably don’t want to face the consequences that comes with failing the examination.
Accordingly to research, 10% – 40% of students fail their examinations because of examination fear. Trust me, it is one factor you don’t want to joke with. You must look for ways to deal with examination fear if you want to pass your exams excellently.
Some of the ways to successfully deal with examination fear has been carefully discussed in my video below. So make sure you watch it and apply the tips i shared there.
The above are just a few of the many reasons students get bad grades in their educational pursuits. There are other reasons like: Poor diet, Poor class attendance, financial problems, the group of friends one keeps, lack of support and help, laziness, a wrong mindset, etc. The silver lining is that, one can avoid these reasons for failing by knowing them and taking the right steps to correct what needs to be corrected and replacing bad habits with god ones.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka, ACMC, is a lawyer and a certified mediator/conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a developer with knowledge in various programming languages. Samuel is determined to leverage his skills in technology, SEO, and legal practice to revolutionize the legal profession worldwide by creating web and mobile applications that simplify legal research. Sam is also passionate about educating and providing valuable information to people.