I would rather fail this test willingly, knowing it was my choice not to study hard or use my time more wisely over the last week, than to suffer the pain of trying really hard and failing anyway.
I think that illusion of control is a much more powerful driver than ambition or success is. I want to be successful, or at least more successful than I am. I have ambition to move on from my job, my lifestyle, and move up in the business and social world. Yet the lack of control of trying really hard and failing at this test is more fear-inducing than not reaching any other goal I may have set. We are strange and bad animals.