Why do most students fail? (Hint: It has nothing to do with reading)

  • Every year, millions of students enroll in Colleges and Universities, but only a handful of these students make it to the second year.

    Most students fail. While many factors are attributed to these mass failures, ranging from poor teachers and student’s lack of interest, there are other silent, important factors that led to the mass failure of students.

    Let’s discuss these factors more closely.

    Poor comprehension skill

    The ability to understand lectures and course materials is one of the major reasons most students fail their exams, quit the formal education, and move onto another career.

    Teachers and tutors want to make sure that you understand their course before they grade you with a pass mark. Unfortunately, most students lack comprehension skills. That result to exam failure.

    To have full knowledge or comprehension of a subject, you must understand its core theme – the one central point it discusses and then deconstructs its topics so that you fully understand the questions asks during the exams.

    Poor understanding of exams questions

    Your ability to pass or fail, as a student, relies heavily on how well you understand your exams questions.

    Forget about the fact that you cram every word of your material or filled out your booklet with texts. If you don’t understand what your lecturer is asking, you’re doomed to fail.

    To avoid that, do the following:

    • Understand the one point, theme, or augment of your course material.
    • Master 1-7 topics in the course material.
    • Use past question papers to have a feel as to what to expect in your exam.

    And ensure that you have good writing skill.

    Poor writing skill

    A poor writing skill is one of the major factors or reasons many students fail.

    When it comes to making a point, persuading your lecturer that you understand their question, and proving your points, writing makes all these things happen.

    I have had many experiences in this. When I was an undergraduate student, I sat for many exams that I knew less but scored high grades. And I attribute my successes to my writing skills. Here’s a caveat: I’m not boasting that I’m a masterful writer or anything.

    But I love the skill and practice every day. And when you commit to one thing, you see an improvement with time.

    When answering a question for an exam, begin with:

    • A clear introduction (stating what you’ll write in the body of your answer).
    • Structure your points (by outlining them in subheads).

    Your answers should always be written in coherent, logical manner the way a good article is written.


    While reading is one of the most important things that facilitate success for students, other important factors can crush students’ academic career. No matter how you read, if your understanding of the topic is wrong, it will affect your answers in the exams.

    If you don’t understand a question, your teacher will definitely fail you. If you’re a genius but lack writing skill, your points will jumble; your Prof. will get confused; you won’t excel in your academic career. So, master these three things – comprehension skill, a better understanding of exam questions, and writing skills – if you want to excel in your academic endeavor.

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