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Why students Do Poorly in Examinations

May 2, 2008, 7:57 AM | Article By: By Salieu John

Students do poorly or fail examinations for several reasons. Cardinal among them is inadequate preparation. They do not read their books or practise their Mathematics or Technical Drawing. They would wait until the Eleventh hour before they start to prepare. What they do not seem to realise is that time flies. One thing that we cannot do is to turn back the clock.

Attempting to fatten your pig on the market day is a foolish thing to do.

2. Over confidence

3. Choosing certain topics to study instead of studying all the topics treated. Some students rely on past paper questions. Although it does work some times, it is a big risk. What about if none of the questions you anticipated do not appear? It would be disastrous.

4. Incompetence in English. This generally affects student performance in examinations. Students generally do not understand the questions and cannot write to express themselves. Some cannot even spell correctly. For example grade twelve students write 'rote' for 'road', 'computition' for 'competition', 'sorprise' for 'surprise', 'distop' for 'disturb'.

In attempting to answer this question. "High light five difference between the Nok and Ife terracotta heads."  A grade twelve student writes:-

The difference between Nok and Ife is that because the nok people are Yuroba in Northern Nigeria and the Ife are a group of people in Ghana that means they different in language and they are different people, they did not even come to the same country. The Nok are under ancient and the Ife are under weight stone. Their country is having lot of gold they also want to be rich". Apart from the inaccuracies in the facts, this student did not understand the question. He or she derailed and wrote out of context whereas he or she was asked to highlight five differences between Nok and Ife Terracotta heads, he or she wrote a comparison between the people of Nok and Ife.

5. Non compliance with instructions also affects student performance in examinations as they may spend invaluable time doing the wrong thing. For example the instructions may require candidates to answer one question from section one and any three from sections two and three making four questions altogether. But because of the inability to interpret this question, a candidate may instead of attempting 1 question from section one, two from section two, and one question in three, or vice versa, may answer one question from section one and three questions from either section two or three.

6., Poor time management also affects student performance in examinations. They are unable to use the time allocated to different papers in spending too much time writing unnecessary matters.

Some candidates feel and or believe that the more they write is the more they will impress the examiner. They do not know that it's the sense you write and not the length that matters. In fact the more you write the more mistakes you are likely to commit.

7. Examination fright, being the fear and panic for examinations, is believed to affect student performance in examinations. This in my view happens because of lack of confidence in candidates.

As we fast approach the Gambia Basic Education Certificate examination (GABECE) and the West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), teachers should spend some time helping their candidates to build up self confidence.