The Two Biggest Reasons Why Kids Fail At School

We want to stop unnecessary failing!

We want to stop unnecessary failing!

When learning something new it can be incredibly useful to find out what works from people who are already successful in that field.

Conversely, you can also learn a lot from people who haven’t done so well…

Success (or not) at school is a great example of this.

Not surprisingly, kids who do well at school normally have very similar attitudes towards studying and doing their schoolwork. While kids who don’t do so well also have a number of things in common.

Over the years, we’ve noticed two common attributes of students who achieve poor results at school.

We want to share these with you, so if your child has one or both of these attributes you can nip them in the bud as soon as possible.

1. They have no confidence in their ability at school

If a student has an underlying belief that they aren’t all that good at school, it’s going to be quite difficult for them to get an A.

Their subconscious minds will stop them from trying hard, they’ll stop themselves from putting their hands up in case they’re wrong, and they’ll often second guess themselves when trying to answer something.

As a tutor, I constantly see students who know the answers but are afraid to write them down. They always ask, “Do I do this next? And then this? I’m not sure…” They need assurance that they’re not about to make a mistake before they attempt to answer.

Is that the answer? What if I’m wrong? Panic! Give up…

This lack of confidence can be a hard obstacle to overcome, but it can be done.
  • First, your child may just need a bit of encouragement.

    It’s amazing how much of an effect knowing someone believes in you has. When your child knows that you’re totally rooting for them, they’ll become more confident in their own abilities and be more likely to give it their all.

    This encouragement should be more constructive than a simple, “you can do it!”. You taking a genuine interest in their subjects and actively helping them with homework and assignments will be proof of your support, and give them an invaluable boost to your child’s confidence.

  • Second – practice makes perfect.

    Anyone can succeed at high school if they put their minds to it. As we’ve said time and time again, studying is a learnt skill that anyone can master.

    Your child may simply need to put in more time and effort into school; practice their math problems, write mock essays, and get comfortable with what they have to do.

    Maybe they just need to get the ball rolling, then they’ll see that in fact they are capable of studying and getting good grades when they put the work in.

And this leads us nicely onto attribute number two…

2. They think all that studying involves is staring at textbooks

But in fact there are an endless number of techniques that a student can use to help them memorize and recall information. Your child’s goal should be to figure out what techniques work for them.

They may not remember much when they read a bland textbook, but they can easily recall the exact same information when it’s presented differently, say in a video or audio format.

Understanding what learning styles help your child study most effectively will help them figure out what study techniques they should be utilizing.

If they haven’t already, get your child to find out their learning style via our learning styles quiz.

This could transform your child’s attitude towards school and studying from unmotivated and disheartened to encouraged and hard-working. Studying may no longer be perceived as a pointless task, but an important part of your child’s overall success at school.

As you can see, these two common attributes of high school students who aren’t reaching their academic potential have absolutely nothing to do with intellectual capacity. Whilst it is frustrating that there are so many students who lack confidence in their ability at school, we should all be looking at positive side of this; that something can be done about it!

There’s absolutely no need for your child to achieve anything but their best at school. A confidence boost and some smart study techniques could be all that’s needed to turn your child into a straight A student.

Image Credit: Hanz Gerwitz


  1. Teachers should help more needed kids to learn

  2. I think the main reason why kids fail at school is because they sometimes feel pressured at something they need to memorize or study. Or sometimes they think they are ” too cool for school”. From my experiences, I over hear kids saying they rather be cool than care about their grades, I told asked them what they wanted to be when they grow up, one girl said ” I want to be a hair stylist!” I told her ” A lot of hair stylists are really good at science and math. They have to now what chemicals to mix and when they cut hair, they have to know what angles to cut, etc.” She is now a strait A student in 9th grade.

  3. Its also not really up to the teachers to decide if the child id struggling or not, the parents should be responsible, and say to their child ” Hey, I see that your struggling, is something wrong? why aren’t you asking for help?” . My teacher told me if you give 100% to me I’ll give 100% back. If you only give me 10% i’ll give only 10% back.” Meaning she doesn’t give the child more than they give her. Yes she taught us all the same thing but when it came to turning in your homework and you didn’t turn it in and two months went by she won’t remind you to turn it in, because it’s your responsibility, she doesn’t need to watch your every move.

  4. Hi there well where do I start? I am right now very worried about my teenage son who seems highly demotivated at school, doesn’t enjoy going to school well actually hates school and I am not sure what to do to help him enjoy school. He says school is boring and I am having discussions with his teachers in ways to help him but I am really worried.
    I feel I should consult a professional to gain some advice.
    What do you think? Thanks

    • Hi Hema. It’s hard to say what you should do, particularly when I don’t know you personally. I see no harm in getting expert advice. What I would say though, is if your son has non-academic interests – sport/art/music/whatever – perhaps you can try and encourage and support these as well. Not everyone is destined to do well academically at high school, but this doesn’t mean that they should give up or that they won’t end up doing OK after high school. Best of luck.

  5. George DeMarse says:

    Maybe some kids are just lousy at school. I was. In that case–they need to build different talents like music, sports or acting. They’ll probably end up just as well specializing in a specific talent.


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