Why Students Fail in History: A Minor Case Study in Malaysia and Solutions from Cognitive Psychology Perspective

Chee-Huay Chong, Kee-Jiar Yeo


The importance of History in fostering effective citizenship is beyond question. Hard as students study History, some of them fail to achieve higher grades. Hence, History seems to create problems for many students. The current research is a minor case study aimed to examine the causal factors that induce to a poor achievement in History and provide study strategies accordingly to enhance students’ achievement in the subject. The sample consisted of 2 participants from government secondary schools. The participants obtained poor grades in History. After interviewing the participants, the findings shows that: (i) pay less attention, (ii) poor study skills, and (iii) poor time management were the causal factors of poor performance in History. Therefore, five learning strategies – (i) paying attention, (ii) rehearsal (revision), (iii) elaboration-based learning techniques, (iv) mnemonics, and (v) comprehensive approach – are recommended as remedies for the low History achievement. The applications of the above-mentioned remedies are discussed across a variety of History topics.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2016.v7n1p517

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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