Why study for an exam if you have a resit?


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Students spend less time preparing for exams if they have the opportunity to retake them. But there are ways to reduce this ‘perverse incentive’, research by PhD student Rob Nijenkamp shows. Using questionnaires, he analysed the study strategies of first-year psychology students. And indeed: while learning, they already sort out the possibility of a resit and put less time and effort into preparing for the first exam.


Minimum grade
This ‘perverse incentive’ cannot be entirely eliminated, but there are ways to reduce it, Nijenkamp discovered. It helps if students are only given a resit if they have to achieve a minimum grade for their first exam, for example a 4. This encourages serious preparation for the first exam.


Another possibility is to allow more time between the exam and the re-examination. By the time of the resit, the study material has subsided to such an extent that students know that they will have to study all over again in order to pass the exam. This also makes a resit less attractive. (HOP, JvE)