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About us Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences Psychology Research Units Experimental Psychology

The psychology of having a second chance: How the opportunity to resit an exam affects study effort and learning processes

Experimental Psychology

How does the prospect of having a second chance influence people’s decisions and behavior? In this project, we will address this important but unexplored question by examining how the opportunity to resit an exam affects the investment of time and effort in preparing for the first attempt. We have found, using an investment game, that the availability of a second chance (i.e. a resit) leads to more risky investments on a first chance, and that this effect can be diminished by restricting access to the second chance and by increasing the depreciation of investments on the first chance (i.e. increasing forgetting of knowledge between exam opportunities). Upcoming experiments will investigate whether the above-mentioned results will generalize to a learning task. Furthermore, the possible psychological mechanisms for this effect will be investigated. Thus, this project will not only elucidate the psychological impact of having a second chance but it will also provide a much-needed scientific foundation for resit policies.

Researchers and partners

Behavioural and Social Sciences, Psychology


  • Nijenkamp, R., Nieuwenstein, M. R., de Jong, R., & Lorist, M. M. (2016). Do Resit Exams Promote Lower Investments of Study Time? Theory and Data from a Laboratory Study. PloS one, 11(10), e0161708.
Last modified:29 March 2021 10.18 a.m.
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