How to Help Your Child After Exam Failure

It makes perfect sense that parents would want the best for their children. This is particularly true for their examinations, as they are one of the most important things that can guarantee a child’s academic success and assist them in realizing their dreams of a bright future. Parents experience the same disappointment that their children do when they receive poor exam scores. However, due to the pressure on parents in Singapore to perform well academically, many parents often respond negatively to their child’s performance, which increases anxiety and, in some cases, even traumatizes the child.

If we want children to do better and perform better next time around, this isn’t the way to go. When this happens, parents should understand that their child is also thinking negatively about their grades and that it won’t benefit either side if they continue to be critical of them. When parents react poorly, it can make children feel worse and deepen their emotions of disappointment, humiliation, and possibly even self-doubt.

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Why do students fail in exams?

There are situations in which a child may fail an exam even when they have indicated that they were able to study for it. Even with all of the preparation steps they took, many bright and typically diligent students have experienced test blues, or red grades for that matter. This raises the question of why they failed if they were ready for the examinations. This may be due to several circumstances, including exam anxiety, inadequate exam strategies, low or too much self-confidence, and even the wrong lesson materials.

Anybody, including adults, can have performance anxiety. This may manifest as “butterflies in the stomach” or other symptoms like nausea, migraines, fast heartbeat, or fast heartbeat. Exam anxiety can make students lose focus, which hinders their performance and sometimes prevents them from finishing their tests completely.

If we talk about exam strategies, some students may also incorporate poor exam strategies. In answering exams, students shouldn’t only focus on memorization alone and should be able to incorporate other techniques, especially with time management as it’s common for students to fail because they haven’t finished their exams.

Another variable that might cause worry in students and lead to worse grades is the issue of their confidence in themselves. Remember that the first step in taking an exam is to relax, and the second is realizing that you know more than you are letting on. Some students can be terrorized by their fear of failing their exams or not having enough confidence in their knowledge and skills and doubt themselves. At the far end of the spectrum, some students have way too much confidence in their skills which borderlines on arrogance. Because of this, they will think that they already will get the best scores in their exams and will not take the measures to ensure they can actually achieve them.

There are situations when external variables contribute to a student’s failure as well. When studying using the incorrect resources or methods, some students may end up failing their tests. When a child is an auditory learner, this can involve using flashcards to help with memorization. It can also involve having disorganized or unreadable study notes. Although it might sound silly, a lot of students fail to recognize the right response because they read their notes incorrectly.

What to do when a child fails an exam?

Seeing a child struggle to cope with the pressure of failing tests and skipping a vital step on the path to academic success is upsetting. Parents should be there to assist in putting their children back on the path to success since there are a lot of lessons they may learn from failure.

1. Don’t blame the child

First and foremost, parents ought to abstain from giving blame or pointing fingers at their children when they perform poorly on tests. It makes sense that parents would be furious over the exam results. This may lead them to identify the behaviors of their child that they believe have led to this, such as staying up late playing sports, watching TV, or not getting up as early as they would have liked.

Students don’t take tests hoping to fail just for kicks. It’s critical to realize that students don’t intentionally fail. As a result, parents should be the ones to start moving past this and providing their children with positive support rather than placing the blame on the child.

Since the child has already failed, it is pointless to criticize them and heap insults upon them for things they could have done. By doing this to the child, you run the risk of increasing their stress level and making them anxious. Instead of making the child feel bad about what has already happened, parents should assist them in getting back on their feet.

2. Never compare to other students

In response to a child’s academic setback, parents frequently compare their child to other students or even their siblings who have excelled academically or received higher test scores. Why wouldn’t a child benefit from this? When parents compare their children to others, it undermines the already damaged self-confidence that results from their exam failures. In addition to feeling depressed over their exam results, the child can imagine that their parents are humiliated by them and that they are a letdown since they aren’t living up to their expectations.

All children are unique individuals with distinct talents and shortcomings. Making comparisons between children will simply worsen their already poor self-esteem and agitate them further. Serious mental health problems may potentially result from this.

3. Talk with the child about the failure

Speaking with the child can be quite beneficial, particularly if they have experienced setbacks. In addition to helping students, this also benefits the parents. Engaging in an unbiased dialogue can help parents gain insight into the challenges their children are encountering. Assuming that the child is not putting in enough effort for the test will get the child into more difficulty than it will help. There can be other factors that contribute to children not doing well in the exams and in some way, through communication, the parents can be made aware of these.

The child can talk to their parents about how they feel or why they believe they failed the exam. Parents need to hear what their children have to say and not jump to conclusions. This may even prompt the student to discuss additional topics like bullying or learning challenges. Find out from the child how you as parents may assist them in making things better. In times like these, children require their parents’ support even more, and a parent-child bond is crucial to assisting students in meeting their academic goals.

4. Get additional help

There is no scarcity of academic support available in Singapore. The parent can get professional support from home tuition if they don’t have the time to constantly monitor their child’s study habits. Students who receive home tuition can benefit from individualized instruction that targets their areas of weakness. Therefore, in order to ensure that students can optimize their answers and the most effective manner to approach them, home tutors can also teach students exam-taking tactics.


It’s understandable that failing exams can be disheartening and difficult for parents, but you have to remember that it’s twice as much for the students themselves. Instead of bombarding them, as parents, you should be the first in the support system and help them get back on track. Help them realize that failures are inevitable but something they can use as a lesson to score better in their next exams.


Carelle is a teacher who has been through the ups and downs of the teacher and learner life. She wishes for every learner to gain educational satisfaction that will help embody the people they want to be in the future.

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