You go to college. You choose subjects, you study, you attend lectures, you do homework, you write essays. Later, the day comes, and you need to attend an exam. Sounds doable, right? Then why do so many students around the world fail exams? Of course, there is a certain percentage of those who just don’t care and don’t study, but we are not talking about that, as there is no mystery. Here, we will try to discuss the top reasons why American students fail exams in college and think of what can be done about it. Read it to know whether you are in a risk group!
Reason #1 Choosing the wrong subject
It often happens this way — when you need to pick up subjects to study, you don’t do it based only on your academic preferences and inspiration, but on secondary things, such as “what do my friends study,” “which professor seems nicer,” “which subjects would look cooler on my CV,” etc. These are valuable points, but they should not be fundamental when choosing a subject to study. If you get bored or find that the chosen discipline is for now too difficult for you because you don’t have sufficient background, you will have an elevated risk-rate to fail the upcoming exam.
- Probable solution: If you find out that you have chosen the wrong subject and you already cannot change it, you need a strategy not to fail in the exam. First, relax and accept that you won’t get a good grade. You just need to pass. Second, understand what you need to learn just to pass it. Third, plan extra 20 minutes per day for this subject. Twenty minutes are nothing, but in a month, it will add up to 10 hours of extra studies.
Reason #2 Fear and anxiety
Lots of students fail college exams because they cannot concentrate. They are afraid and anxious. Anxiety critically affects our cognitive functions, which makes it impossible to concentrate and solve complex problems. Even if you have studied well all semester, you can get anxious right before the exam and forget everything you know. Not only students have this problem — young specialists complain that they feel the same during job interviews or important presentations. In short — emotional instability leads to problems both with education employment. Even if you are normally very calm and confident in your abilities, an extra stress situation can become a game-changer, and not in a positive way.
- Probable solution: First, you need to accept that this can happen to you because denial only makes things worse. Once you accept it, it will be easier for you to fight it. Also, if during the exam you start feeling anxious, you will not be surprised — you will be ready, and it will help you to calm down. Second, try relaxing practices like meditation and breathing exercises. Third, if your problems with anxiety continue, you may need to see a doctor — light medication often helps and doesn’t have side effects.
Reason #3 Poor study habits
Again, we are not talking about students who don’t study at all or don’t care about the results. Here, we talk about poor study habits which waste your time but don’t help with getting better in a particular subject. There are many options: studying not in the period suitable for your chronotype, not having enough sleep, having too much screen time, not being attentive at lectures and later studying using someone else’s notes of questionable quality, not using additional information, just leaning on textbooks, postponing writing essays to the last moment, and doing poor research later, etc. All this sums up into the inability to pass the exam.
- Probable solution: You need to clear your schedule a bit. If you have essays in clutter, you will never be able to concentrate on studying for exams. Diversify the tasks, decide which of them you can delegate, and address a professional writing service like Write My Paper Hub paying someone to have your papers written. A team of essay experts will help do your essays from scratch if you need fast help writing a paper online.
Reason #4 Overconfidence or low confidence
It may sound surprising, but both can strongly harm your academic results. Overconfidence is often not based on anything, in particular, you just feel like if most of the students pass exams, you will too. Also, you can be good in several other disciplines and decide that it will help you strongly on every exam, even if it is in a different field of study. Low confidence makes you question every solution to the problems you need to deal with during the exam — and it is a huge loss of time. It is difficult to define what can be called a “middle way” in terms of confidence, unfortunately.
- Probable solution: Pay attention to the facts, not to your emotions. Though it is popular to link your success to emotions, your success is defined by what you actually do. The pill against low confidence and overconfidence is the same — you make a plan for getting ready for a particular exam and track the progress. This way, you will know exactly how confident you should be.
Reason #5 Lack of time-management skills
Everything is simple in this case — you are good with studies, you are smart, you have chosen the right subjects, but you just cannot make a good studying plan that will fit into your life. You start writing an essay, and it takes 6 hours instead of three. You plan a call with a peer-student to discuss a group project at the same hour you have a workout in a gym. There are many examples and only one solution — to get to know more about time-management principles and use them in daily life.
- Probable solution: Time management should be a part of every high-school and college program, as it really helps with studies, preparation for exams, etc. This is not something you can learn in one day, but it is a good idea to at least get started. We offer to start with a Pomodoro technique and once you employ it, add some more methods.