The results from various faculties and departments in Ahmadu Bello University were recently released. Why many many records were broken including in the Arabic department and faculty of law who produced their first-ever first-class graduates, politically Science produced double first class for the first time and second ever in the history of the department.
But it wasn’t all positive as some departments, especially in the faculty of life and physical science, produced their worst-ever results in their history with some failure rates going as high as 95%. But what exactly is the cause of this failure?
When you are asked an ABU Student why he or she failed, you can guess what their response will be. They 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…
This is one of the major reasons why some ABU Students fail. 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 lecturer, 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.
2. PROCRASTINATION AND LACK OF TIME MANAGEMENT
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 only be able to read a few portions well.
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, an ABU 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 on 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.
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The opposite of this is what some students possess – Low self-esteem. These students don’t believe in themselves at all. 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.
4. BAD READING HABITS
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.
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.
5. LACK OF INTEREST
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 seriously 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.
6. A WRONG MINDSET
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.
7. TOO MANY ENGAGEMENTS
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. However, 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.
8. GROUP OF FRIENDS
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.
9. POOR FINANCE
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.
10. SO DISORGANIZED
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.
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.
12. INABILITY TO STUDY THE TREND OF EXAM PAST QUESTIONS
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.
13. INABILITY TO READ WIDELY
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.
14. INABILITY TO APPLY THE KNOWLEDGE
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.
15. NOT FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS
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.
16. NOT ARTICULATING ANSWERS WELL
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
17. BAD SLEEPING HABITS
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.
18. POOR DIET
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.
19. INABILITY TO COMPLETE TASKS
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.
20. RELYING ON OTHERS/EXAM MALPRACTICE
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 numberous 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.
Are you a diligent student? Be one today
Credit to Olagundoye Kehinde