Smart Students: Why They Fail?

It is generally believed that once a student fails an exam it is because that student is not smart or had failed to prepare well.

This is a widely believed fallacy because there are several reasons why a student may fail an exam, the above two being a part of it. However, there are other reasons why a really smart student may fail an exam. In this article, let’s highlight 5 reasons why a smart student can fail an exam.

1. OVER-CONFIDENCE: One may ask, over-confidence? How does this hinder a smart student from excelling in an exam? Shouldn’t it be an advantage to be confident about an exam? That should mean you were well prepared. So many such questions would naturally jump to mind, but the truth is over-confidence is mostly a disadvantage. Why is it a disadvantage? When a student goes into an exam with the notion that he/she knows it all several things would happen that may contribute to that student failing. The course might be a simple course that everyone expects to pass; you may also feel that since you excel at really difficult courses this should be easy for you. That is a wrong mentality to take into an exam hall.

The first thing that would happen is the student would be in a hurry to start the exam. He/she would not pause to read the instructions. Where an instructor might have said answer 2 out of 3 questions, a student can proceed to answer all questions because he/she thinks they know it all. He/she may deduct marks for not following instructions if an instructor is strict.

Over-confidence can also cause a student not cross-checking their work. Sometimes students feel that the first person to leave an exam hall is the smartest. They wrongly believe that those who stay the longest in an exam hall are the ones who are dumb, did not prepare well, or are looking for means to cheat on the exam. This mentality makes students to hurriedly rush through an exam and submit, especially when someone has already submitted. We forget that our strengths are different, and that the student who submitted first might have actually done the proper thing. He/she may have read instructions, answered questions, cross-checked the answers etc before submitting. Due to competition and over-confidence a student may fail to go through these due processes before submitting. The consequence of this action is that you may not have answered all the questions, there may be some minor mistakes that the student would have corrected had the student taken the time to go through the exam a second time. This is another path to loose marks.

2. FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN: This is one of the most common reasons why students fail. When a student enters an exam hall with fear or anxiousness, things lead to go wrong. For one, the brain cells are unsettled, the student cannot think straight, he/she spends so much time reading through a question before actually understanding what the question is asking him/her to do. After comprehension, due to fear that student may totally space out; in the sense that he/she may go blank thus forgetting the answer to that particular question or worse, forgetting all that has been prior studied.

Fear can cripple one temporary, in the sense that a student may not be able to hold a pen, or handle a calculator due to body shakes or numbness. This may diminish a student’s morale, cause a waste in time or lead to frustration. This would affect the performance of that student in said exam.

3. AN INABILITY TO PERFORM DEDUCTIVE REASONING: Deduction is the act of taking out from an equation. When you remove from something till a particular thing is left, you are being deductive. In some scenarios during an exam, especially a multiple choice exam the answer may not be glaring but the question can still be answered correctly using deductive reasoning. For instance a question is given and you have no idea what the answer is, the best thing to do is look at the options given. It is common knowledge that only one is correct and the rest are wrong, so you begin to remove the options that you are certain to be wrong until you have reduced your options to at least two. It is easier to make a smart choice through this, rather than through blind guess work.

4. NOT ADHERING TO EXAM CONDUCTS: When in an exam hall it is paramount to follow the set down rules and regulations. If it is prohibited to look around, it is important to concentrate on your paper and not be twisting and turning as it sends the wrong message and could get one in trouble. You shouldn’t borrow pencil or erasers or what have you from a fellow exam taker. If at the worst the need is pressing, you should call the attention of your supervisor rather than be caught in violation of an exam conduct. Points could be taken off for scenarios such as this.

5. PRIVATE EMOTIONAL PROBLEMS: This could be one of the most prominent reasons why otherwise smart students flunk out on an exam. The brain is such that ample concentration and attentiveness is required for maximal function. In the situation where a student’s mind is clouded by relationship problems, a cheating boyfriend, a crush who doesn’t feel the same about you, or worse family crisis, there would be a shift in brain balance as your mind struggles between two things. Such a student cannot perform very well. These are only some of the reasons, several other factors come in to play when it has to do with a smart student failing or performing below standard on an exam.

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