July 4, 2011

Poor resit results? Why?

When one of my colleagues said that students usually perform very poorly during the resit period, I thought it was an exaggeration, but when I finished grading the resit exam of one of my subjects today, where the passing rate was 20% I had to agree. It made me wonder, what happened? Even the bright students, did not do well. Ok, they passed, but that is not what I have expected.

Have students started their summer holiday even before the resit exam? Or are they taking the chance and hoping to pass without putting a sufficient amount of study hours into the exam preparation?

I also came across students who state that during the exam they had a total black out, although they studied really hard for the test. Is it also nerves? I can understand the stress and emotions like that, but if one has studied hard, weeks in advance, self-confidence will help you get through.

When grading I can see straight away who studied hard from what they write on the exam. Those are able to reproduce the textbook and apply the theory to practice. Those who did not study much try to write some common sense sentences and hope that it will be good enough to answer a question on motivational theory or leadership grid. This also brings me to the conclusion that sometimes students underestimate certain subjects, especially conceptual ones like management or marketing. What they forget is that those disciplines can also be very precise and very specific and that you need to know the theory to answer open ended questions and case questions too.

I realize that with the sun that is not a frequent guest in Holland, it is super difficult to motivate yourself to study, but some things just have to be done. To be able to enjoy the rest of the summer with a sense of accomplishment, one has to put it a considerable amount of study hours. An expectancy motivational theory, remember? Expected amount of performance and its outcome based on the amount of effort…Does make sense after all.


  1. Funny though - with some subjects - students do improve with the resits. In languages for example. And the simple reason being - the more you are exposed to English - especially in our International Dept. - the more you learn the language.... So funnily enough - my advice to students of the first year English course would be to do the first tests on time, but if you don't pass right away, especially for the writing test, then wait until the last resit period - by then you will have learned a lot more about writing... then do the 2nd resit (since you can only do 2 exams per subject a year).

  2. I agree with you, different subjects require different approach to taking exams and resits.
    IBL Insider