Second Chances in Learning: Does a Resit Prospect Lower Study-Time Investments on a First Test?

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Previous studies have shown that the prospect of a resit opportunity lowers hypothetical study-time investments for a first exam, as compared to a single-chance exam (i.e., the resit effect). The present paper describes a first experiment in which we aimed to generalize this effect from hypothetical study-time investments to a learning task allowing for the optimization of actual study-time investments while participants studied pairs of pseudowords for a subsequent multiple-choice test, given either a single chance or two chances to pass. Against our expectations, the results of the experiment showed no resit effect for the amount of actual time participants spent studying the materials in the experimental learning task. To better allow for the optimization of study-time investments, the learning task was adapted for a second experiment to include an indication of passing probability. These results, however, also did not show a resit effect. A third experiment addressed whether it was the investment of actual time that led to this absence of a resit effect with the learning task. The results suggested, however, that it was most likely the lack of a priori deliberation that caused this absence of the effect. Taken together with findings from a fourth questionnaire study showing that students seem to take a resit prospect into account by indicating they would have studied more for an exam if the option to resit would not have been available, these findings lead us to argue that a resit prospect may primarily affect advance study-time allocation decisions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Cognition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6-Jan-2022


  • Advance study-time planning
  • Exam taking
  • Learning
  • Resit exams
  • Study-time allocation


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