Report card with poor grades in red pen, with B as the highest grade

6 Fail-Safe Ways to Flunk Your High School Classes

Bringing your grades back up is a lot harder than letting them tank, so don't fall into any of these sure-fire traps to fail your high school classes.

There are plenty of articles that offer tips and tricks on how to survive high school and even how to get an A+, but what about advice on how to fail? There are those among us who have no aspirations other than working at a fast food restaurant their whole life. If that’s you, then you’re in luck. Here is a simple and easy formula to fail high school and fulfill your dreams. If you follow these six simple guidelines, not only will you not have to stress about finishing high school, but you won’t have to worry about filling out those pesky college applications, much less going to college. Here it is, the easiest way to reach your goal of having no goals:

1. Don’t pay attention 

If you want to fail high school, don’t pay attention in class. Doze off, daydream, doodle, cut class—anything will work. Class is when the teacher will tell you what you have to know for tests and quizzes and inform you of homework. So if you don’t pay attention in class, the logical conclusion is you will fail the tests and quizzes and not do your homework, which will ultimately help fulfill your goal of flunking out.

2. Procrastinate on everything

This is a big one. The best way to do a horrible job in anything is procrastination (trust me, I know). Leaving your big essay for the night before it’s due is the absolute best way to lower your grades. Not only will it be splattered with grammar and spelling mistakes—making it sound like a second grader wrote it—but after a sleepless all-nighter, you will be exhausted the next day too. This will lead you to not paying attention in class, sending you back to the first fail-proof way to fail. One might call it a vicious cycle. And speaking of things that lead to vicious cycles... 

Related: Procrastination: Your Top Secret Solution to Better Schoolwork and Creativity

3. Stay up late

This goes hand-in-hand with procrastination, as procrastination leads to late or even sleepless nights. It’s common knowledge that your body and brain need sleep to function. If you don’t sleep at night, your exhaustion will take over in the day, and you will likely fall asleep in class whether you like it or not. Even if you manage to fight the sleep off, you’ll still be groggy, grumpy, and in no mood to take notes or study—but that's your objective, right?

4. Don’t do your homework or study

Only the most determined to fail high school (and the very lazy) do this one. It’s a step above procrastination because it's simply not trying at all. This ties in with #1. The difference is that this is a purposeful neglect of homework and studying, whereas the first is an accidental yet willed ignorance. If you don’t do your homework at all, then you will eventually get a zero, plus whatever disciplinary action your school has in place. Not studying will lead to bad grades, unless you know everything, but if you do, then why would you be failing?

Related: Our Best Advice for Homework, Studying, and Tests

5. Fall into the technology black hole 

Without a doubt, technology is the best way for even well-meaning students to fail. It's a trap that every single person falls into. How many times have you opened your laptop to email an essay to your teacher and two hours later found yourself watching YouTube videos and the assignment deadline has passed? Mindless, time-consuming activities oftentimes lead to staying up till 2:00 in the morning, not starting homework till 4:00 in the morning (if at all), and not paying attention in class due to lack of sleep. And we're right back to all the steps before. Technology is certainly a good way to fail.

6. Wait until it's too late to save your grade

Imagine this: You’ve been following these guidelines, and it’s working great—you’re failing your classes. But then, suddenly, you realize you need good grades to get into a good college, and you need to get into a good college to get a good job, and you need to get a good job to live a good life. Failing high school doesn't seem like the way to go anymore, does it? You could try running to all your teachers begging for extra credit. Maybe they’ll be nice and give you some, but by then it'll be too late. Congratulations, you have failed high school.

Related: 5 Important Steps to Take If You’re Unsatisfied With a Subject Average

There are so many other things that can be added to this list, but all your problems mainly boil down to a lack of sleep and a lack of focus on school. If you fall under the category of those who want to pass high school with a good GPA so that you can get into a good college and have a good life, then this is also the list for you. Simply do the exact opposite of these six steps and you will breeze through high school and be prepared for college. I mean let's be honest... we've really been trying to persuade you not to do any of this the whole time, but you knew that. 

Your grades don't have to be perfect to get into college. Start searching for colleges that meet you where you're at, even if your best isn't straight As! 

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now


About Mariel Ortega

Mariel Ortega is a Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences major (a true mouthful) from San Antonio, Texas. But more importantly, she is the loudest and proudest member of the Fightin' Texas Aggie Class of 2021. From the time she first went birding with cardboard “camouflage” to doing mad-sciencey things, Mariel’s amassed quite the arsenal of bird facts. (Did you know a peacock is a male peafowl?) Her goal is to change the world one person at a time—or more likely, one bird at a time.


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Nikole Dixon

Nikole Dixon

$500 Refer-a-Friend Scholarship Winner

Toward the beginning of last year, I was searching for scholarships to apply to through my school, town, websites online, and anything else I could find. I asked tons of questions [online] about scholarships and the best places to find them because I was desperate and needed as many as I could find. I came across a ton of bogus websites, but as soon as I found CollegeXpress, I knew I had to tell other people about it. It was definitely the most helpful site I came across, so I told my friends about it. CollegeXpress is definitely a website worth giving as a source.

Makiyah Murray

Makiyah Murray

High School Class of 2021

The college application process has been a stressful one, but CollegeXpress has eased some of that stress with its readily available college resources. At the beginning of the process, I frequently used the college search feature, and now that I’m almost done applying, I’ve started using the scholarship search. Both of these resources have made it easier to find relevant information.

Rayan Hamdan

Rayan Hamdan

High School Student

I joined CollegeXpress just a few months ago. I had been struggling with severe anxiety, causing me to not be able to tour schools and make sure a college would be perfect for me. I came across CollegeXpress one day when I was searching for colleges online, and it completely changed the game. I was easily able to choose colleges that would suit me, and I also entered a few giveaways! Thank you so much!

Casey Kammeyer

Casey Kammeyer

$500 Refer-A-Friend Scholarship Winner

I love the site CollegeXpress; it has been very helpful finding colleges and getting them to send me information. It has also been very, very helpful with finding tons of scholarships. Also, I told many of my friends about it and they love it as well!

Jeannie Borin, MEd

Jeannie Borin, MEd

President and Founder, College Connections

I frequently visit CollegeXpress to answer questions from students and parents. There are countless hot topics in admissions that need to be addressed. I enjoy reading what my colleagues post and gain additional insight from different perspectives.

College Matches

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Coe College

Cedar Rapids, IA

New York University

New York, NY

St. John's University

Jamaica, NY

Merrimack College

North Andover, MA