Why Do You Get Bad Grades After Studying Hard?

why do I get bad grades after studying hard

Do you ever find yourself asking the questions “why do I do bad on tests even though I study” or “why do I fail after studying for long hours?”

It can be frustrating to put in so much effort and not see the results you were hoping for. And it’s very difficult to explain to someone that you study hard but still get bad grades. Isn’t it?

In this article, we will help you understand why you may be struggling to get good grades despite studying hard. We will also provide you with tips on how to overcome these obstacles and achieve better grades on your next test.

In fact, these are the tips that I shared with my classmates who used to study harder than me but still got low marks.

(If you find this article helpful, please don’t forget to leave your feedback in the comments section.)

9 Unknown Reasons for Bad Grades After Studying Hard:

1: Take it easy

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If you have failed a test and received bad grades, it’s important to first accept it and acknowledge that there may be certain areas where you need to improve. If your classmates or friends did well, they may know or have done something that you didn’t.

While it’s difficult to accept bad grades after studying hard, it’s important to avoid overconfidence and focus on identifying your mistakes and how to improve them.

In case, if you’re feeling tense or upset about your grades, remember that “Exams are not designed to fail you, but rather to assess your knowledge and skills.”

Read more: 20+ Study Motivational Quotes to study hard.

2: Lack of understanding of the material

Many students focus solely on studying for exams and often overlook the importance of understanding the concepts and theories, sometimes even skipping the fundamentals.

It’s important to remember that if your foundation in a subject is weak and you attempt to study at an advanced level, you may still struggle to get good grades no matter how much you study. Memorizing information is not enough; you must also strive to understand the material.

For example, I had a classmate who worked hard but still received bad grades because he didn’t have a strong grasp of the fundamentals. Instead of building a strong foundation, he tried to memorize advanced material.

To improve your grades, start by strengthening your basics and reviewing your previous class notes if necessary. Keep in mind that success in long hours of study depends on having a strong foundation, understanding the material, and being able to explain it to others.

If you already have a good understanding of the material and can teach it to others, look at other reasons why you may be struggling to get good grades.

3: You study hard not smart

I understand that you may study for 10-12 hours at a time for your exams, but are you truly studying effectively and productively? I don’t think so.

It’s important to study in a way that ensures you won’t forget or become confused during the exam. Here are some tips to help you study smart, not just hard.

1. Establish a Routine and Practice Time Management

When exams are approaching, it can be challenging to maintain a routine and practice proper time management. However, we cannot overlook the importance of these two factors in a student’s life.

To stay on track, consider taking note of your available study time and the amount of syllabus you need to cover for the day before going to bed or after waking up. If you make this a daily practice and follow through with it, it can help you maintain a proper schedule.

2. Familiarize Yourself with the Learning Pyramid

The Learning Pyramid is a valuable theory that every student or learner should be aware of.

But first, do you know what the Learning Pyramid is?

The Learning Pyramid illustrates the various teaching and learning methodologies and the corresponding retention rates of information from these methodologies. For example, if a teacher only employs a lecture method of instruction, their students will only retain 5% of the information while the teacher retains 90%.

source: educationcorner.com

Take a look at the above image and you’ll understand better how you can study smartly and retain more information. This measurement of retention rate might not be accurate but I hope you’ve understood the theory behind it.

Read also: Online Vs Offline Classes – Which is better for learning?

3. SQ3R Study Technique

why do I get bad marks

The SQ3R Study Technique is a five-step reading comprehension technique that is considered one of the best ways to study, as it helps you to read and retain the material effectively.

The steps involved in SQ3R are Survey, Question, Read, Recite, and Review. If you’re interested in learning more about the SQ3R technique and other study techniques, you should definitely check out this article: 15 Study Techniques that are worth using this year.

4. Study in small chunks

If you plan to study for long hours, it is better to break it down into small chunks. One effective way is to follow the Pomodoro technique, which helps to increase productivity.

Remember, while studying in small chunks, keep your phone aside and take 10-20 minute breaks after each chunk to refresh your mind. During the break, you can either use your phone or take a short nap.

4: You might be using the wrong study material

If you want to go to London, you must take a flight to London, right? If you take any other flight, you won’t end up where you want to be. I don’t know if you want to go to London, but you get my point.

Similarly, make sure you study only with the material you have prepared (i.e. notes) and that your professor provides. Don’t prepare and study for exams with alternative books, or you’ll likely get bad grades even after studying hard. Sometimes the content and theory can vary in alternative books.

One more mistake that my classmate made was relying solely on previous years’ question papers (i.e. 10 years’ question bank) to prepare for the board exam, without using notes and books. That’s why he got low marks in the board exam.

Question banks or previous years’ papers are helpful only when you have already prepared for your exam. They’re just a way to check your preparation. So, don’t use previous years’ papers as learning material.

Read also: 11 Bad Study Habits You Must Avoid

5: You don’t have a study plan for exams

Do you have a study plan for your exams?

To study effectively for exams and get good grades, you need to have a study plan. First, make a list of the topics or subjects you need to cover for your exams. If you already have a syllabus, that’s great.

Start your preparation with the subject that you find most difficult or boring. For example, if you find math challenging, start by studying math.

After completing a subject or topic, mark it off your list. This will show you that you have completed one subject and motivate you to complete the remaining topics. Keep marking off topics as you complete them.

Having a study plan will help you stay organized and focused, and ensure that you cover all the necessary material before your exams.

study for exams

Simply studying notes and books for your exams is not sufficient. It’s essential to test yourself by taking practice tests and solving the previous year’s question papers. These things will boost your confidence and help you ace the exam.

If you have a study plan that includes these components, you will be less likely to fail or get poor grades after studying hard.

6: Lack of confidence and disbelief in yourself

If you lack confidence and don’t believe in yourself, giving your best in exams can be tough. You may unconsciously make many mistakes that lead to bad grades despite studying hard.

What do you think about it?

It has been observed that students who know the material and prepare a lot for the exam get bad grades or fail because they lack confidence and don’t trust their answers and preparation.

So, be confident in your answers and believe in yourself. Remind yourself that you have prepared well and can ace the exam. Even if your friends distract or demotivate you, avoid them with a positive attitude.

7: You may suffer from Test Anxiety

Approximately, 25–40% of US students suffer from test anxiety. Many college students experience academic-related anxiety during their collegiate careers. Researchers have found that students with test anxiety often get bad grades despite studying hard.

Do you suffer from test anxiety? If yes, here are some symptoms that you may experience:

  • Chronic feelings of worry or nervousness
  • Fear related to exams
  • Headaches and stomachaches
  • Inability to relax or feelings of restlessness

If you have confirmed that you have a high level of test anxiety, then you may need psychotherapy treatment. Otherwise, you can follow these tips for minor test anxiety.

  1. Have perfect time management and routine
  2. Don’t take any kind of family and other pressure
  3. Share your feelings with your teacher or parents
  4. Take a good amount of sleep
  5. Eat properly and stay healthy.

8: Your handwriting in exams isn’t clean and clear

Your handwriting plays a vital role in your exam. Even if you know the material and write answers to your exam papers, make sure you have good handwriting.

Good handwriting doesn’t necessarily mean that your writing should impress everyone. Your writing should be clean and clear so that the person who checks your paper can easily understand what you have written.

Many times, when students write fast to complete the paper on time, they make many mistakes and their handwriting isn’t sufficient to read, which is why they get bad grades despite studying hard.

So write neatly and legibly; I know your handwriting is good enough.

9: Cramming doesn’t work

As I mentioned before, many students study only for exams and still manage to get good grades. They don’t study throughout the session but cram the day before the exam.

Despite there being techniques for cramming and studying for 12 hours a day, cramming doesn’t work. With cramming, you can’t expect to get good grades. In fact, research has shown that cramming always increases stress levels and can lead to panic and anxiety, making it a lot harder to take in information.

So, if you rely solely on cramming, you may end up getting bad grades despite studying hard.

Instead of cramming or studying a lot the day before the exam, it is better to study throughout the session. And whether you agree or not, students who study throughout the session do not need to cram.


In this article, I have explained 9 reasons for failing a test you studied hard for. I have also provided guidance on how to overcome these issues.

I hope you found these reasons helpful and informative.

Now, I would like to hear from you:

Which of these reasons do you relate to, and are you planning to follow my guidance to improve your situation?

12 thoughts on “Why Do You Get Bad Grades After Studying Hard?”

  1. I really enjoyed reading this blog post. It was very informative and I learned a lot. I think that the author did a great job of explaining the reasons for bad grades and how to prevent them from happening in the future.

  2. I just loved it
    At least there are some teachers who understand what students go through
    this information is really informative which made me aware how to exactly score good and how to improve in our studying skills
    thank you so much for the best tips

  3. Hi, I’m studying for the ASCP Chemistry exam and I have already failed twice because of my anxiety and it’s a test where you don’t know what’s gonna be on it and you have to pretty much study everything. I only have 3 more tries left. I’m not sure how to make a study plan for this or how long I should study for each chapter. It’s very discouraging to keep studying and not know what I’m doing wrong. Any tips? Anything would be helpful.


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