31 Reasons Students Get an F Grade

31 Reasons Students Get an F Grade

Smartness doesn’t always translate to good grades. Being intelligent isn’t the only factor that determines what grades you can achieve. So, what else do students such as yourself need?

There are an endless number of reasons why students may get poor grades. It is quite normal to be unsure of how to achieve better marks, especially when you have received better grades before. More often than not, low grades are a sign of something much more important than just academics. Knowing why you get poor grades is the first step towards solving the problem. That’s where we come in. Here is a list of reasons why you might be getting poor grades:

A Lack Of Challenge

Poor grades don’t always occur because you do not comprehend the material clearly. Sometimes, when students aren’t tested enough by the material it can very well result in bad marks. A student may find class boring, if they aren’t challenged to their desired level. This may well result in a lack of attention in the classroom that invariably leads to a low level of performance and decreasing marks.

Classroom Dynamics

Classrooms have quite a lot of distractions that make learning pretty hard for students and endangers their focus. Such distractions are quite tough to tune out in some cases, which of course, results in students overlooking crucial facts and information they would require later on for future tests and even higher classes.

bad grades in college

Test Anxiety

Regardless of their intelligence, many students do not test well. This is because of a condition known as test anxiety. You might be very much aware of the syllabus and know every answer out of the book, but the mere thought of a test causes ridiculous stress. This, of course, renders any exam quite hard for them and hinders academic performance.

Ineffective Learning Habits

Many students receive bad marks because of unproductive learning practices. Such habits can range from waiting until the very last day to prepare for an improper grasp of the material. These habits naturally have a huge effect on a student’s academic performance.

A Lack Of Confidence

There is a tendency among several intelligent students towards becoming perfectionists as they want to attain the highest possible grades. Such high levels of pressure, however, can only result in more anxiety. Resultant, they may take less part in class activities and retreat into a shell—a concoction for further stress and lower marks.

Issues In Communication

There are quite a few students who find it hard to convey their thoughts in actual words and speech. It may well be that you have a firm understanding of the syllabus, but that isn’t coming across on your assignments and tests, because of lapses in communicating your worries and other issues.

Issues In Organization

Bad skills in organization can result in more annoyance, anxiety, and of course, lesser marks. Great organization skills are a must, as even really smart students will find it difficult to prepare and plan for upcoming projects and tests without them.

A Lack Of Preparation

Attaining high marks requires ample effort as well as patience. Tying in with organizational skills above, there are quite a fair number of students who get poor marks on exams simply because they did not prepare for them cleverly and properly. Preparatory skills are crucial for a student throughout their career. Even talented students may see their marks fall if they do not plan out their studying and stick to a feasible schedule that maximizes their effort.

Presence Of Learning Difficulties

A high number of otherwise smart children have been seen to have learning difficulties. This is not limited to a particular subject. Students can have such difficulties in reading, math, writing, or any other subject area. Low marks in one subject and/or area does not have to imply that you possess a learning difficulty. However, if you struggle with some level of consistency and there is barely any improvement to be seen, the possibility of a learning difficulty should be strongly considered, which needs to be followed up by clinical diagnosis and treatment.

Inability To Manage Time

Time is a valuable asset and even more so for students. Non-academic distractions and procrastination often consume a lot of time of students. Because of a large amount of commitments, students are often not able to prioritize their academics and therefore lose precious time.

Low Perseverance

Knowing the significance of dedication leads to a successful all-round career. Every hardship needs to be taken as a challenge and worked upon to achieve success. However, having a low tolerance for such challenges can result in low grades at school.

A Negative Attitude

Having a negative outlook towards life and all of its challenges is very damaging. If small hiccups and mishaps in life lead to students being in despair, they are likely to harbor a negative attitude for everything in general. This results in them being demotivated to study, which leads to low grades.


Just as a negative attitude is undesirable, so is an overtly positive one. Being excessively sure about your skills and assuming that you know everything can render you unable to prepare at your optimum level. Such an attitude will ultimately bring about low marks.

A Lack Of Critical Thinking

High school tests require every student to have a certain level of critical thinking and reasoning. Students who have not been trained to deal with tests in such an all-encompassing, yet nuanced manner find it tough to perform at their best in such examinations.

Fear Of Failure

If a student gets daunted with the sheer thought of failure, they are highly likely to develop a permanent fear of tests and exams. As such, they will be unable to perform at their best.


A careless mindset can be the downfall of any student. It is paramount that students give their due diligence to their academics. More often than not, you may find yourself struggling simply because you did not note down an exam date or missed a few lecture notes or even overlooked an important part of the syllabus that was mentioned in class.

General Laziness

One of the most prominent reasons for students’ low grades can be laziness. This can be seen in their unwillingness to attend classes, take down all class notes, and finish all of their homework on a daily basis.

Poor Learning Techniques

While students are unique in how they learn, some techniques lead to worse results than others. For instance, some students are perfectly able to store information in their minds long after they have read about it while others find it more difficult. Skimming through the pages is an excellent way to revise a lot in a short span of time but you are more likely to forget the information as well. Knowing what learning method works for you is very important. 

Poor Course/School Selection

It is quite common for students to select courses and even schools that are not perfectly suited to them. This can be due to parental dictum or a lack of awareness. Either way, such a lack of synchronization can make preparation quite difficult for students, especially when the course gets tougher.

Mental Perceptions

Students can have a number of negative perceptions about themselves, their way of studying, and their fellow classmates as well. If they are not guided properly on how to navigate such unfounded perceptions and focus on themselves, their mental health can be affected and as a result, their grades will bear the effect too.

Peer Pressure

The behaviors and preferences of those around us can influence us at all times. For students, this is even more valid. Friends and classmates can affect how we study, what we study, and how much we study. If you are surrounded by friends who have a constant inclination towards non-academic activities, then it is likely that you will too.

Financial Issues

Financial problems are a detriment to education in countries all over the world, whether it be escalating student loans in the US or the increasing income gap between the rich and the poor in developing countries. On a more personal level, any kind of financial burden can lead to sub-optimal study conditions and the need to attend to other important responsibilities. This leaves little to no attention towards academics, leading to low grades.

Influence Of Teachers/Tutors

Teachers and tutors are among the most important guides a student can have in their academic career. If the people in such important positions abandon their responsibility and act ineptly and/or irresponsibly, then students will certainly be in an unfavorable position. Their academic interest can wane, they may not know the proper learning methods, or their understanding of the subject can be skewed.


One of the eternal dilemmas any student has to face is deciding when to study. And then studying exactly 100 years after that moment. Procrastination affects more students than we can count. Postponing your preparation till the end of time may grant you a temporary reprieve but it is not the solution to getting better results.

Emotional Stress

Students can face all kinds of emotional stress, whether it be family issues or problems with friends. If such stress remains in any student’s life for prolonged periods of time, then their academic performance will be undoubtedly affected for the worse.

Mismatch Between Subjects And Skills

It is a common sight to see students studying courses and pursuing streams that are not suited to their skills. Parental influence is a prime factor when it comes to this but there is also an awareness that spans across many layers. Such mismatching is not just because of a single course or institution, but also the unawareness about alternate careers. There is also the issue of personal growth, wherein most students are not aware of what their skills and talents are truly made for.

A Lack Of Information

Extending from the point above, there is an abysmal lack of information amongst students with regards to alternate careers, varied employment options within their existing field, and career backup options. Most students stick to mainstream career options because they have the most readily available information and resources. Not exploring careers beyond the regular will keep you limited to the few mainstream options, where your particular skills may not be a perfect fit.

Personal Hygiene

An underrated point of academic success is keeping the body healthy. More students than ever are committed to the rat-race of studies and are bogged down by parental pressure and/or personal ambition to commit more and more time to bookish learning. This leads to a gross neglect of personal hygiene, which renders your body unfit in the long run, leading inevitably to poor academic performance.


Today’s day and age is full of distractions for people of all ages, and impressionable students are no different. From the everyday joys of social media to the heart-pumping excitement of video games, there is no lack of entertainment. These are all great in moderation, but when taken in excess, can certainly affect your studies for the worse. Some discipline in this regard is essential to achieve better results.

Physical Frailty

While maintaining personal hygiene depends on our choice, there are students who might be physically weak, perhaps from a pre-existing condition or something brought about by demanding circumstances that a student typically has to go through. In such cases, extensive treatment is the most important thing, followed by a proper diet and plenty of rest. While grades will be affected by one’s poor health, they are not the most important thing in the world. And if, in the process of getting better, the grades get better too, then that is a win-win situation for all.

Poor Reading Habits

Most students do not read extensively outside of their syllabus. This is understandable, as the pressures of studying are too much to accommodate extra reading for pleasure. However, such limited reading limits students’ knowledge as well, which impacts their grades. Reading up on nature, technology, the arts and sciences, world heritage, and so on, will expand your outlook and allow you to approach your exams with a fresh perspective.

Therefore, to conclude, we made a comprehensive list of reasons as to why students might possibly fail and get that F grade. It is important to know that there are reasons behind your failure, but these are reasons that you can easily overcome. So look back at your failure, only to learn a lesson from it, and move ahead in life. All the best!

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