Failing University exams

(12 Posts)
TinklyLittleLaugh Wed 20-Jul-16 17:26:18

One of my DS's old school mates has had exam resits every summer; it's accepted practice that the group don't make any holiday plans until he has his resist dates through. He has just got a 2ii.

Another of DS's college buddies has just failed two modules in his final year, and therefore his degree. He is now transferring to another Uni and seems perfectly confident that with a bit of effort he will come out with a 2ii.

Now I know all about grade inflation, but when I was at Uni, apart from a 2ii being perfectly respectable, if you failed exams, especially finals, you failed, or got a third, or an ordinary degree. No constant retakes. I had course mates who worked hard for three years, messed up one final exam and got thirds and ordainaries.

I'm not convinced by this culture of everyone achieving, it doesn't seem to reward effort or ability if everyone gets there in the end.

OP’s posts: |
esornep Wed 20-Jul-16 17:42:13

But most UK universities actually have pretty strict rules about retaking (compared to elsewhere in the world).

Typically if you fail more than a quarter of your modules you have to retake the whole year and you can only retake a year once. If you fail modules with too low marks you can automatically be thrown out. If you have to retake modules your marks are capped at 40% (usually) so your overall average is brought down.

It is also not usual to fail your final year and then transfer into another university to retake it.

I had course mates who worked hard for three years, messed up one final exam and got thirds and ordainaries.

Does this seem fair to you? Work hard for three years, mess up in one 3 hour exam and come away with a low degree?

mumeeee Wed 20-Jul-16 21:05:02

DD3 failed a module in 3rd year as she had some mental health problems. She is going back next year to repeat it as she was granted mitigating circumstances.
You can't usually just keep on repeating things until you pass.

mumeeee Wed 20-Jul-16 21:08:05

I forgot to say as DD3 was granted mitigating circumstances. When she repeats the module next year it will just count as a first attempt so won't be capped.
However repeats are usually capped at 40% if there aren't any mitigating circumstances

Oldprof Thu 21-Jul-16 15:25:13

Unis don't let students resit to improve their results.
Students will normally get a resit in one of 2 situations
-if their first attempt was a fail, a lot of unis will let the student resit, but the highest mark awarded is a bare pass (40%) OR
-if they can prove they were so badly ill or otherwise affected by circumstances (eg bereavement) that the first attempt was not a reflection of their real ability, students will get a chance to take the resit and get the actual mark, ie not just a pass.
If friend is pretending to have been ill etc in order to resit for a better mark, friend is cheating.

timeforabrewnow Thu 21-Jul-16 15:34:38

Good for your DS that it's not him doing the resits. Why are you bothered about his friends getting an okay mark?

It almost reads like you want them to do more badly confused

BengalCatMum Thu 21-Jul-16 15:42:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.


stonecircle Thu 21-Jul-16 17:32:46

I was at a very good uni from 1977-1981. I had a good friend doing medicine who did resits every summer. Not sure what degree he ended up with but he's a consultant paediatrician so he must have got reasonable results in the end.

LittleHoHum Thu 21-Jul-16 17:39:56

Well I have one 'head in the clouds' child. She may be frustrating but at least I can console myself that she has the qualities of kindness and sensitivity.

esornep Thu 21-Jul-16 18:26:49

Medicine tends to have stricter marking and higher pass marks, though.

Most other countries allow more resits but also don't set the pass mark at 40% - 50% or 55% is more common.

Bunnyjo Thu 21-Jul-16 20:02:01

Your DS's friends' experiences do not tally with mine. I've recently graduated and there were very few situations where uncapped resits would be allowed and it would have to be accompanied by a lot of independent evidence to be considered. For all other fails you were allowed to resit in 1st and 2nd year, but we're capped at 40% for that module. All modules had to be passed in order to proceed to next stage.

In the final year you could fail up to 20 credits and would still be awarded an honours degree. However, if you failed more than 20 credits you would only be awarded a pass degree, even if your average was high enough for an honours. This year one of our cohort failed more than 20 credits and, despite getting an average of 2:ii, he only received a pass degree.

I know, from minuted exam board meetings, that most external moderators believe this to be particularly harsh.

notamummy10 Thu 21-Jul-16 20:05:30

At my uni, you only get one chance at referral but that's only for you to pass the module- unless you deferred the exam/assessment!

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