When it comes to students not getting the results that they want, you can see reoccurring patterns. Generally, there are three different types of students when it comes to exams:
- Those who work hard and still don’t get the results that they want
- Those who don’t do nearly enough work
- Those who are doing quite well in all areas but something is still missing
Lots Of Effort, No Reward
The first types of students are those that put in a lot of hours and still don’t get the results that they want.
This problem is usually down to how they study not being effective and that they tend to lack self-belief. Around exam time, they often spend 7 hours a day revising but don’t get the grade that effort merits. Unfortunately, lots of hours alone do not guarantee success.
I have seen students go through past paper after past paper frantically to try to cover all bases. The problem is that they don’t believe in their own ability to work out answers.
However, these students should do well as they are likely to know everything inside out. As exams are based on your notes 100%, there should be no problem! They are actually quite close to jumping one or even two grades, without doing too much extra, just a push in the right direction and adding a bit of structure/method to their study.
Not Working Hard Enough
Students who did well at GCSE and then not so well at AS level typically fall into this category. The jump from GCSE to A-level is very big. Those that underestimate the transition often don’t realise until their first exam result.
This problem was especially prominent when the January exams were around.
Some students are in comfort zones. It happens with very clever students who know that they are clever think they can wait until the last minute to sort it all out.
This is a dangerous strategy as they might never get out of that comfort zone. At some point, they are going to have to start doing hard work no matter who they are. I have seen it many times; these students nearly always underachieve, even very clever ones.
They probably waltzed through GCSE’s, but A-levels are harder, and University is harder again. It will catch up with them, and the longer it is left, the worse this problem becomes. Even when they are aware of it, they won’t get out of the rut. I knew people at university blessed with incredible natural ability who were getting 85% in 1st year and dropped to 35% in 3rd year due to complacency.
Doing Well But Could Still Be Better
These types of students need a little bit of guidance to aid their understanding, help with study and exam technique, and to be challenged. There’s not much wrong, maybe nothing wrong at all; they just need to be shown how to improve further.
A lot of students in this category won’t have a tutor as they are doing well enough, and they might never know how good they could have been.
Even sitting with someone who has been there and done it for an hour can transform them. They can see that maybe they could work a bit harder, perhaps they are too comfortable, or maybe they could do something they hadn’t thought of.
The Three Different Types Of Students – Conclusion
No matter which type of student someone is, nearly everyone needs help with how to translate their knowledge into exam results. This is where working with an experienced tutor can really improve grades. Once you develop the skills to master exams in one subject, you can use these techniques across every subject.
About the Author
Kevin Boyle is a full-time A-level Chemistry Tutor with 15 years experience and a proven track record with students of all abilities. As an online chemistry tutor, he works with students across the UK, equipping them with the skills they need to excel in their exams.