20 Reasons Why Students Fail And Solutions - Explicit Success (2023)

20 Reasons Why Students Fail And Solutions

When you are asked why you failed, I can guess what your response will be.

You will probably say “the lecturer failed me, or the exam was too hard or we were not taught”.

This and many more reasons are excuses students give. However, the common causes of failure are interrelated and consequential. You might not have even considered it to be a source of failure but it is.

Besides, there is a lot of activities going on within the school environment which, if not well controlled and carefully chosen, are capable of taking up the entire time of an undisciplined student.

I will show you some subtle causes of failure that you probably haven’t been paying attention to. You will also find some recommended solutions to keep failure at bay.

A combination of your knowledge of what leads to failure and how to avoid it should give you that desired leap of academic excellence.

Ready? Let’s go…

20 Reasons Why Students Fail And Solutions - Explicit Success (1)


This is one of the major reasons for failure.

When you’re lazy as a student, you will find it hard to get up to do important things like reading the notes given by the teacher, doing assignments and carrying out some research to expand your knowledge about that particular subject. Some students even find it hard to attend classes.


Get up and do the needful at the right time.


Most lecturers know it when you rush your project or essay. If you have the habit of waiting until the dying minute to complete your assignments, you will always end up with little or no quality. I need not tell you that this usually results in poor performance and grades.

In the heart of this habit is procrastination. When you keep shifting the time to read forward until there’s absolutely no time to read again, it will lead to rush hour preparations.

Even if you are able to create some time, you will read only be able to read a few portions well.

Read: Why You Need To Have A Good GPA As A Student


Plan your time well. Do your assignments early enough, read as much as you can, carry out appropriate research and write your essays almost immediately.


As much as confidence is good, a student must be very careful not to cross the thin line from confidence to overconfidence. It is one of the common attributes that make students fail. The reason for this is you might become so full of yourself and miss out tiny details that are crucial.

Overconfident students sometimes think they know more than their lecturers. While this might be true in some cases, an overly confident student will not believe he is wrong when he is. Just because you are a brilliant student doesn’t mean you will notice every twist to a particular question or topic. You need to be open to new things.

The opposite of this is what some students possess – Low self-esteem. These students don’t believe in themselves at all.

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Such students already have a mindset towards a particular subject, and thus, they close their minds to whatever important information will be given on the topic or subject.


If you’re overconfident, take time to relearn whatever you might have known so well or seem to have figured out yourself. On the other hand, If you have low self-esteem, try to believe that you can understand whatever you are taught. Be open-minded to new things. It doesn’t hurt to learn new things.

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If you don’t know how to study or what works for you, it’s simply because you haven’t taken sufficient time to study yourself and your capacity. Some students read at wrong times and in the wrong way.

If you have always been trained to sleep early in your home, it might be a struggle to wake up really early to read. However, with determination and consistency, you can relearn and get used to it.

Similarly, if you are engaged during the most part of the day, you might not read efficiently at night.

Even if you’ve slept well in the day, a dim light in the night might not make you read and assimilate properly.


It’s your duty to study how your body system works and read accordingly. You may also inculcate reading habits at some specific times, but this will take a lot of discipline.

Practice makes perfect. Try as much as possible to avoid a disorganized reading habit. Start reading early enough to get used to it and recall better.


Another reason for the failure of students is a total lack of interest in a particular subject or topic in school. This could be caused by several reasons like being lackadaisical and unconcerned.

There is absolutely no way a student who lacks interest in a particular course will pass the examinations.


Focus on the moment. Take that course as serious as you do to other interesting subjects. Learn all that is needed in that course. Do you know that developing an interest in something is a thing of the mind? Try to readjust your mind as regards that course too.


20 Reasons Why Students Fail And Solutions - Explicit Success (4)

It’s what you make up your mind to do or believe in that will work for you. If a student has a mindset of always failing, there is almost no way he will succeed in that examination. Why? He has given up before writing it.

This also works for a person who has the mindset of success, no matter how hard a course is, he will pass the examination. Even if there’s a mass failure, there’s a probability that he will slightly pass.


Have an incredible mindset that believes that no matter what the circumstances around you may be, you will pass an examination and succeed. It is also helpful to have an academic goal per semester. You might even have the aim of maximizing graduate opportunities abroad at the end of your studies. This video below will give you some insights.

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Some students are just too engaged in so many activities and can’t get to decline people’s requests when asked to do something. Some others may not be at fault in this regard. Your guardians or parents might have placed you in charge of activities leaving you with little or no choice.

This might make you have little time for yourself and studies. A situation like this can make you very tired and unmotivated to read. The truth is, the body will always demand rest after a long time of misuse. If you don’t rest at the right time or create time to rest, your body might breakdown.


The best solution for this problem is for you to reduce your involvement in activities and divert that time into reading your course notes and make more research.

, if you have no choice, you have to go the extra mile by getting the required work done on time then you can have the rest of the time to read effectively without distractions. Try as much as possible to avoid frivolities and irrelevant groups, clubs or gatherings.

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Friends can either make or mar you. This has been proved from time to time and remains relevant. The kind of company you keep will, in a way, affect the way you value your academics.

Your friends have the power to either discourage or motivate you. If your friends don’t care whether you pass or fail your exams, you will care less about your grades too.


Therefore, ensure you choose friends with the same values and goals as yours. They will motivate you to become better and improve your success level. This kind of friends will help you to read and will put you through difficult topics and courses.


20 Reasons Why Students Fail And Solutions - Explicit Success (5)

One of the reasons students fail in school is due to poor financial status. A financially unstable student might not be able to buy the necessary materials, gadgets that will enhance research and may also feed poorly.

Another problem that may arise from poor finance is that the student might have to look for other alternatives to meet their financial needs, and that already is a great deal of distraction.


You might have to get a part-time job and be more diligent in reading than others. You have a limited time than others so you can’t afford to compare yourself to your colleagues.

You can also start saving when you get cash gifts from people. You never can tell when it will be a lifesaver. Piggyvest is a reliable way to save automatically or manually.

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Some students, as a result of laziness, don’t have an order of things. No plan, no goals. They usually don’t have a plan of carrying out certain activities.

If you do things haphazardly in no order at all, it is most likely you will only address matters when consequences are so glaring – WHEN YOU FAIL.


Plan your activities in an order of preference and importance. You need to also work on your handwriting. If your handwriting doesn’t give a good impression or makes your lecturer strain his eyes each time he wants to mark your scripts, you might be at his mercy to get your required scores.

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Support systems are important factors for succeeding in every aspect of life. Most students don’t have anyone to look up to for guidance with respect to their academics. Having no one who has passed through the system to put you through some difficulties might be tough.

There is a need for you to have an adult to guide you through your academics. It’s called academic mentorship. This will help you to have a sense of responsibility to report to someone who is looking out for your success.


Open up to a trusted adult who can listen to you and help you with difficulties in any of your courses. This same person can direct you to others if he has no idea of your problematic areas.

Most schools have course advisors or a guidance and counselling unit to encourage students to be successful in their academic pursuits and help them manage school-related stress.


To be sincere, most examiners are not after failing students. Ask me why. It’s simply because examinations, in the first place, are prepared to test the understanding and the knowledge acquisition level of a student. If you failed, it is most likely you were not prepared, not because your lecturer wants to fail you.


Observe the trend of how examinations are set by a particular examiner. This will help you to know what is expected by him. You will also know exactly what to prepare for. However, no student should totally rely on trends of how examinations have been set because there could be a change.


20 Reasons Why Students Fail And Solutions - Explicit Success (6)

Many students have a problem with reading further. They prefer to stick to what the lecturer gives to them as notes. However, the teacher’s notes are not sufficient for outstanding excellence. If you rely so much on your lecturer’s notes, without moving further to know more, you might be stuck during exams


Excellent students go the extra mile to study beyond the notes given in the class.


Most students prefer to read for examination purpose only and not for the sake of knowledge.


The knowledge is as important as the examination. Don’t be so much concerned with reading alone, but focus and study to know every part of the course. Know how it applies to everyday activities. It will be nice to know both the practical as you’ve known the theory.


For every question asked in an examination, there is a right way to answer such. Most of the time, students don’t get to read the questions well to answer appropriately.

For instance, when the question says you should list and explain, if you don’t list before addressing each of the points, you will surely lose some marks. There is always a command of instruction which you must strictly adhere to.


Reading and understanding the questions and the instructions are very crucial.


As earlier mentioned in the point above, there is a way to address and answer every question to get the question right. If you do not do this appropriately, then the student will miss out on some details.

Articulating answers well range from following a particular flow of expression to writing legibly and clearly, and the student being specific about answering the questions asked – Task achievement.

If the answers to the questions asked by the examiner are not well articulated by the student, it might be hard for an examiner to award marks especially if he is an impatient person.



Learn how to answer questions appropriately and make your handwriting legible enough for the lecturer to read. Go straight to the point when answering any question with little or no meandering

Read – How to ask questions the smart way


20 Reasons Why Students Fail And Solutions - Explicit Success (7)

A study has shown that a good hour of sleep helps to relax the brain and make the brain rejuvenated. If you spent the whole night reading, you will need to sleep during the day. If you also read the whole day, you should sleep at night. You can’t stay awake for 24 hours. If you do, you might end up sleeping on your exam sheets.


Any student who doesn’t want to fail his examinations must have a good sleeping habit. You must learn to sleep well and early enough. The reason for this is because, sleeping or resting has a way of improving the memory and retention capacity, plus it makes the brain alert to take in new information.


Eating the right food has a great impact on our health and how the body functions during the day. It also helps to boost the proper functioning of the brain. Most students don’t eat the right food, and when they do, they eat it at the wrong time. A poor diet will affect the way a student is able to function academically and physically.


Eat the right food needed to help the brain and body function properly. Eat at the right time too.

20 Reasons Why Students Fail And Solutions - Explicit Success (8)


Students must give every task their best shot. There are lots of sites that talk about a particular topic. You can take your time to read, understand and put it down in your own words. Avoid plagiarism. This will help you to build the creative side of you. When you are diligent in your everyday task, passing your examinations will be a walkover.


Do thorough and proper research on the assignment and tasks given to you. When you come across any question on that topic, you will confidently answer the question appropriately.


There is a habit that is so common amongst students – relying on each other in the examination hall. A group of students might share the topics of a course amongst themselves, with a plan to give each other answers whenever a question on that topic comes up in the examination question.

And there have been times when the appointed person to read a particular topic isn’t able to read it, and then you go blank in the examination hall, and thus, fail the examination. The school might end up suspending or expelling such students.

There are many forms of exam malpractice. An example is when students rely on teachers to provide them with answers during an external examination. Situations might go awry when that particular teacher ends up not showing up for the exam. As a result, the student fails.

The only solution to avoid the numerous consequences of exam malpractice is to prepare adequately for examinations and not expect to be helped by anyone.

In conclusion, the failure or success of an examination is mostly dependent on the student, rather than circumstances or the teachers. Therefore, it is ideal for every student that doesn’t want to fail to prepare adequately for examinations.

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(Video) How to Never Fail an Exam Again



What is the main reason that students fail school? ›

Fear of Failure

Fear of failure is one among the top reasons why many students fail. They tend to have a negative attitude towards progress and they never take a step to better their grades once they fail in life. That is why it is important to teach them to learn from failures and quickly move on in life.

What are examples of failures in life as a student? ›

Here are some common examples of failures: Receiving poor or failing test grades. Not getting accepted into a degree or certification program. Interviewing for a position but not securing a job offer.

What are the reasons students don't succeed? ›

The Top Six Reasons Why Students Fail to Succeed in School
  • Poor Time Management Skills and Procrastination. ...
  • An Inability to Complete Tasks. ...
  • Fear of Failure and Lack of Self-Confidence. ...
  • Too Much Reliance on Others. ...
  • Lack of Desire. ...
  • Not Knowing How to Learn.
Feb 14, 2012

What causes children to fail? ›

Holt deals with three reasons why children fail. They fail because of fear, boredom, and confusion. For fear of disappointing what Holt calls, “anxious adults”, children are afraid to fall below adults high expectations. Many children become bored because much of the curriculum is irrelevant, trivial, and dull.

Why are students struggling in school? ›

Common Causes for Academic Struggles

These might include learning or developmental disorders or mental health conditions like anxiety, social anxiety, or depression. Kids who are ill, who have difficulty sleeping, or who are experiencing stress or trauma at home may all struggle academically.

What is the reason of fail? ›

Ill-discipline, lack of trust or negligence

The root causes vary and might be about organisational problems, individual relationships with supervisors or lack of motivation as a whole. Thus, offering a turnkey solution is impossible but being aware of these issues is always the beginning.

What are 4 famous failures? ›

Albert Einstein had the label "mentally slow" put on his permanent school record. Henry Ford's first two automobile companies failed. Oprah Winfrey was fired from an early job as a television news anchor. Jerry Seinfeld was booed off stage in his first stand-up comedy appearance.

What is your biggest failure example answers for students? ›

I was responsible for interacting with big clients and understanding the requirements. Being a fresher, I did not pay much attention to the details of the project. Instead, I focused only on my ethics and discipline. My poor listening skills led me to lose one of the most significant projects of the organization.

What is the biggest failure of the life as a student? ›

Lack of self-discipline

This is probably one of the biggest causes of failure for students. The ability to put “work before play” is often times what separates the A students from the B students.

What are the reason for student success? ›

In sum, student success is more likely to be experienced and evidenced when students: (1) feel personally validated and they matter to the college, (2) believe that their effort matters and that they can influence or control the prospects for success, (3) develop a sense of purpose and perceive the college experience ...

What makes a student successful? ›

Successful students take advantage of extra credit opportunities when offered. They demonstrate that they care about their grades and are willing to work to improve them. They often do the optional (and frequently challenging) assignments that many students avoid. Successful students are attentive in class.

What students need to do to be successful? ›

Strategies for Successful Students
  1. Attending class regularly is essential! ...
  2. Always be prepared for class. ...
  3. Don't be afraid to ask questions! ...
  4. Practice time management! ...
  5. Always save your draft in multiple places. ...
  6. Understand the importance of the syllabus, and refer back to it throughout the semester.

What are the five causes of failure? ›

Five Common Causes of Business Failure
  • Poor cash flow management. ...
  • Losing control of the finances. ...
  • Bad planning and a lack of strategy. ...
  • Weak leadership. ...
  • Overdependence on a few big customers.

What is failure as a student? ›

Failure can be an unpleasant and unwanted experience. It can come in different forms - not achieving the academic grades you hoped for, being unsuccessful in a job application, a relationship breakdown, or a general setback.

Why do some children succeed while others fail? ›

It all has to do with what Tough and others tend to call noncognitive skills, or soft skills, or social skills or character. There are 20 or 30 of these skills, depending on who you ask. They include things like grit, curiosity, self-confidence, optimism, persistence, resilience, and the willingness to try new things.

What problems do most students have? ›

What is the biggest challenge faced by students today? Students' top three difficulties are finding housing, handling money, and managing their time.

Why do students lose motivation in school? ›

Students are demotivated by the structure and allocation of rewards. Students do not perceive the classroom climate as supportive. Students have other priorities that compete for their time and attention. Individual students may suffer from physical, mental, or other personal problems that affect motivation.

Why failure is the key to success? ›

It is part of the road to success. Failure is life's greatest teacher. It builds your character and humbles you. Failure is suspended success until the right moment, but in the meantime, you must work hard, think hard and be consistent.

Why do people fail grades? ›

There are a number of possible reasons that students get poor grades. Some are external factors, such as the subject matter is too difficult, the teacher is hard to understand, and problems at home. Other reasons have to do with student attitudes, such as didn't do homework and goofed off in class.

What are the three failures? ›

These are preventable, unavoidable/complexity-related, and innovative or intelligent failures.

What are some examples of failure? ›

Failing an assignment. Not getting a job. Not getting into a club or making a team. Losing a customer.

What are the major failures? ›

Major Failure: a system failure that disables the entire system or major part of the system, or an individual critical piece of equipment that prevents the proper operation of more than one system component.

What is an example of failure to success? ›

Many notable success stories began in failure: Henry Ford went bankrupt before starting the Ford Motor Company; Thomas Edison and his colleagues tested thousands of materials before creating the carbon-filament lightbulb; J. K. Rowling received twelve rejections before the first Harry Potter book was published.

What are common responses to failure? ›

Here's how they turn the biggest setbacks into their best comebacks:
  • They Keep Failure in Proper Perspective. ...
  • They Practice Self-Compassion. ...
  • They Choose to Be Grateful. ...
  • They Respect Their Vulnerabilities. ...
  • They Acknowledge Their Strengths. ...
  • They Create a Plan to Become Better. ...
  • They Maintain a Healthy Self-Worth.

What is the best answer for biggest failure? ›

How to answer “What is your biggest failure?”
  1. Choose a specific failure. Pick a real failure that happened in the workplace, specifically a failure related to the work you're doing now. ...
  2. Share your story. Share with the interviewer the story you chose. ...
  3. Focus on what you learned.
Oct 27, 2022

Why do youth fail in life? ›

Common teenage problems (such as lack of discipline, antisocial behaviour, missing school, underage drinking, drug abuse, and other issues) sometimes occur for the simple reason that too many young people haven't taken time to consider what they really want their life to be about.

What are your weaknesses and failures as a student? ›

Student weaknesses can vary considerably from person to person, but some common examples include difficulty concentrating, procrastination, poor time management skills and a lack of motivation. Many students also have difficulty staying organized, studying efficiently or managing their emotions effectively.

What are the 5 keys to success for students? ›

  • continuing to try even when something is hard.
  • not being distracted by others.
  • checking work when it's finished to make sure it's correct.

What are the six student success factors? ›

Success Factors Framework (Six Success Factors)

This research also demonstrates that students are more likely to succeed when they are directed, focused, nurtured, engaged, connected, and valued.

What are three causes of success in study? ›

* I am putting "academic" in brackets because I think these factors have wider applicability.
  • 1) Natural Ability. We all have things that we are naturally good at. ...
  • 2) Motivation. This is a factor I think educational institutions need to address more. ...
  • 3) Resources. ...
  • 4) Learning Skills.
Sep 15, 2017

What are the 10 good habits for students? ›

10 Habits of Successful Students
  • Get Organized. Making a plan for what you're going to do and when you're going to do it will make sure you're always ahead of the curve - literally.
  • Don't multitask. ...
  • Divide it up. ...
  • Sleep. ...
  • Set a schedule. ...
  • Take notes. ...
  • Study. ...
  • Manage your study space.

What are the 8 habits of successful students? ›

8 Habits Synopsis
  • Habit 1: Be Proactive. I am a responsible person. ...
  • Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind. I plan ahead and set goals. ...
  • Habit 3: Put First Things First. ...
  • Habit 4: Think Win-Win. ...
  • Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood. ...
  • Habit 6: Synergize. ...
  • Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw. ...
  • Habit 8: Find Your Voice.

What are the three greatest needs of a student? ›

Basic needs refer to the most essential resources required to thrive as a student including safety, food, housing, financial health and overall wellness (physical, psychological, and spiritual).

What 3 things students must have to be successful in high school? ›

10 Tips for High School Success
  • Keep a Calendar. High school means more assignments, extracurriculars and other responsibilities. ...
  • Get Involved with the Community. ...
  • Participate in Class. ...
  • Find Your Passions. ...
  • Learn to Say No. ...
  • Cultivate a Support Network. ...
  • Learn to Be Ok with Criticism. ...
  • Discover Your Learning Style.
Apr 14, 2021

Whose fault is it if a child is failing in school? ›

We hope they will report to the parents and work with students when they notice slipping grades or bad behavior. But, it is ultimately the child's responsibility to maintain their grades and academic responsibilities. This is part of the maturing process and the preparation to live away from home.

What successful people failed in school? ›

In fact, some of the most successful people in the world dropped out of school, including Walt Disney, Elton John, James Cameron, Frank Lloyd Wright, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs. Others had tumultuous school experiences or were at the bottom of their class, never quite making the cut grade-wise.

Is it the teachers fault if a student fails? ›

If one or a few students fail, but the majority pass, then it's the student(s) fault. If the entire class doesn't understand the material, or only one or two do, then it's the teacher's fault.


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