Although I've come across all of them, I think to fail in the exam is better. Thus, the second one is the best choice. However, may be, the last one would be as pretty good as the second.

The exam is tommorow. You haven't practiced at all. You are going to:

  1. fail in the exam.
  2. fail with the exam.
  3. fail the exam.
  4. fail.
  5. fail exam.

2 Answers 2


You are going to fail the exam.

is the idiomatic version.

You are going to fail.

is fine if it is understood from context what you are going to fail.

  • 1
    Thank you all who voted, but I don't think I'll ever understand how votes/rep work on S.E. I get 240 rep for a trivial answer with no research, while answers that quote corpora, cgel and research get 20-30 rep. Strange.8-)
    – DRF
    Commented Jun 24, 2017 at 20:14

@DRF already addressed the correct answer. Since you didn't understand why the other answers were wrong and even preferred some of them, it's worth noting

You are going to fail exam.

is wrong because exams are countable. You need a number, article, possessive pronoun, &c. to make it work;

You are going to fail with the exam.

is wrong because you aren't failing alongside the exam or by using the exam;

You are going to fail in the exam.

is wrong because, aside from being the wrong preposition, it's unnecessary. It's a little murky since examination can also refer to the act of examining or being examined, but things are on written tests and you pass or fail the test itself, not the paper or anything on it.

  • 7
    Yes, saying "to fail in the exam" doesn't mean to fail the exam itself, rather it means you made an error in a part of the exam. E.g. you made a stupid mistake and so got one question wrong: you failed in the exam.
    – minseong
    Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 17:56
  • Thank you for you attention to this matter. I am grateful to you for having pointed out the reasons those choices boil down to. Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 22:22
  • I agree with both answers.  That said, simple words like “with” have many meanings; “alongside” and “by using” are not the only things “with” can mean.  For example, you could have difficulty with the exam.  Similarly, while “fail in the exam” is incorrect (at least for the meaning that’s implicit in the question),  you can fail in the attempt to do something (e.g., fail in the attempt to get a college degree). Commented Jun 24, 2017 at 1:54
  • "Fail in the exam" could also mean to fail at something while in the room where the exam is taking place, such as a proctor who fails to monitor properly during an exam.
    – barbecue
    Commented Jun 24, 2017 at 17:03

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