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Ds I'll in last exam - please reassure me its not a disaster

(23 Posts)
Redfluffysocks Tue 16-May-17 13:49:21

Ds had last uni exam today (2nd year) and had a migraine attack during it so had to leave. He is devastated and even more so because the same thing happened last year. He has medication for it but I think stress sets it off. He's off to the doctor today and will do all the necessary reporting etc but I feel so bad for him. He got 94% in the assignment bit of it so hopefully that will help.
Please if you have any words of encouragement or advice it would be appreciated. BTW he just got enough marks to pass when it happened last year so didn't have to resit.

Allthebestnamesareused Tue 16-May-17 14:06:59

I assume he told the invigilator at the time why he had to leave and they noted it down etc to report to the examiners.

GoatsFeet Tue 16-May-17 16:04:28

Medical certificate and a rapid submission of it.

Also - I had a student a couple of years ago who had regular & debilitating migraines, and she had support from our disability service. It wasn't much - simply a formal assessment of likely triggers for the migraines and an outline of the "reasonable adjustment" needed - it wasn't particularly complicated (unlike some statements we get), but it was a formal alert to us (her tutors) that this was a chronic illness.

Might be worth looking into. Then everyone knows that this is a thing, and he's not under any suspicion of faking.

(And I'm sorry to say, but yes they do ... sometimes. A minority but it makes us have to be quite formal about these things).

Redfluffysocks Tue 16-May-17 17:45:47

Yes he advised them straight away what had happened and has got the necessary form from his doctors today. I cannot believe it has happened again but he has got evidence from when it occurred last year and his results have been excellent so far so I'm hoping they take that into consideration and surely they know what a good student he is.
I will get him to look into that Goatsfeet for the future. Thanks.
Trying to be hopeful but at the worst he will just have to resit this one exam.

EduCated Tue 16-May-17 17:47:29

Universities set and mark their own exams, and do have more discretion than, for example, A Levels.

See if you can find the policy for mitigating/extenuating on the university's website. It should cover 'on the day' issues, and give an overview of the process, timelines and the options the university might take.

Redfluffysocks Tue 16-May-17 18:21:36

Thanks Edu. I think he knows the process as far as submitting evidence etc as unfortunately the same thing happened last year. However, a few of his lecturers know about his migraines so that might help his case. It's so sad coz he has worked so hard 😢

Purplecarpet Tue 16-May-17 18:58:40

Ah that's a shame. I don't know much about this but surely they would look at his overall performance/attendance/results over the year and in the other exams and take this into consideration as well. He has extenuating circumstances and a good case I think. (Just trying to make you feel better)

Redfluffysocks Tue 16-May-17 20:20:09

Thanks Purple. Hearing ds upset on the phone has upset me a lot and I've been tearful all day. (Your post set me off again) Doesn't matter how old they are you still want to make things better for them and there is nothing I can do. I appreciate the replies.

PeachyPip Wed 17-May-17 00:38:30

Gosh that awful. Migraines are bad enough in their own right without messing up exams. I know resetting is a huge pain but if they at least let him resist without a cap on the mark hopefully it wouldn't be too bad.

Redfluffysocks Wed 17-May-17 08:12:46

I know resitting would not be a problem for him. He knows his stuff but what are the chances of it happening again? Surely not. As I said earlier I can't believe this has happened two years in a row but as usual my mind has gone into overdrive with the "what its". Sorry I seem to be making this all about me when it isn't but just need someone to talk to as dh is a bit fed up with me whinging.

GoatsFeet Wed 17-May-17 09:41:29

Look, the best thing you can do for him is to be upbeat, supportive, and optimistic. Children can bear a heavy burden of parental emotions ...

Can you help yourself feel better by taking action?

Go on the university website (you won't generally need a password) and see if you can find the exam regulations, so if he needs advice about how to appeal, or present after-the-fact mitigation, you can help him.

Advise him to contact his Department and his personal tutor. THey will help.

Is he receiving medical treatment for migraines? For them to happen like this suggests that there is a chronic problem there. He should contact the student health service. YOU can advise him of this.

You could also get the information about how he could make an application to have the chronic illness (migraine) noted in his student records, and help him to organise a discussion with his university's student services to look at whether there's a need & a case for 'reasonable accommodation' of his chronic condition at exam time.

You can't contact the university directly about these things, but you can guide him towards learning how to represent himself effectively. You can lead him towards resilience & confidence. To do that would be a marvellous thing to do for him.

PeachyPip Wed 17-May-17 10:43:21

I'm not surprised your mind has gone into overdrive mine would have too. It's natural for you to be worrying about this. I'm sure he has worked incredibly hard to get where he is and anything that gets in his way of succeeding is a worry and it's much worse when it's something he has no control over.

How are his modules for next year? Can he chose modules with more coursework than exams? Perhaps even ones with 100% coursework. Also what about spacing out his exams so that he has then spaced between Jan exams and summer.

I suppose otherwise you just have to approach it from all angles - make sure he looks after the basics - food, sleep and hydration, making sure he is as well prepared as possible to keep the stress levels down, maybe see a doctor about taking some medication ahead of time to ward off any migraine. Hopefully next year he might feel less stressed - he will be older and more used to exams and it's possible by that stage that he will already have a good idea how his marks are going so the exams 'may' feel slightly less important. Iyswim. I think year 2yr exams can feels more important than year three (sometimes)

I get migraines that only rarely get bad as I think I've got better at spotting the signs and taking precautions (drugs and fresh air) to ward them off. It would be awful to have one during an exam.

Foureyesarebetterthantwo Wed 17-May-17 10:49:31

I would allow a student a resit in this situation (it's always a bit discretionary if they have done half the paper). The exam board will sort it out though.

I suggest that you do review how his migraines are treated, perhaps get a neurologist referral if it is impacting this badly. I have them, they are awful, but much improved by propranolol as a preventive, and lots of people on here also swear by it. I also read that magnesium is a good thing to take. Others use drugs when the migraine onsets, but for me, that's too late, and can end up with 2/3 days out of action which isn't good for work/exam situations!

Don't cry though, this is not the end of the world and to be honest, he will get stressed when at work as well, so he is going to have to get the migraines treated as best he can in the future, this exam has highlighted that but it was a second year one and there are a lot more marks to come yet, so really don't panic, be reassuring as this is not a complete disaster at all, just a blip that needs to be sorted out.

LillyBugg Wed 17-May-17 10:53:54

This happened to me. I came down with a stomach bug and literally couldn't stand up to get to my exam. My uni gave me the same mark I got in my dissertation for the exam that I hadn't sat. They were very understanding. I think previous marks and the type of student you are is definitely taken into account not blowing my own trumpet

Gannet123 Wed 17-May-17 10:54:51

I can understand why you're stressed - this is a really tough situation for both of you. Absolutely second the advice to get this looked at properly - if stress setting off migraines is a regular thing, there are things that can be done to help and accommodate, - and final year is likely to more stressful than 2nd year (although possibly less exam focused).

One thing to say, however, is to bear in mind what is possible for the University to do. It's very unlikely (and I would say bad practice) to change a mark for an assessment based on medical evidence - you have to mark against criteria and learning outcomes, and it's not possible for an examiner to speculate on what the student might have done had xxx not happened. Papers are marked anonymously, so the marker will have no knowledge of who the person is (although there may be a mark on the script that the he left the exam, the marker won't know why and won't see any medical evidence). If a mitigation case (or whatever they call it - special factors etc) is accepted (usually by a separate committee, not the marker), the likely outcomes are either permission for a resit as first sit (i.e. with no cap on the mark, which will only help if the migraine doesn't recur during the resit, or consideration when the student comes to be classified, if the exam mark brings them down below a degree classification threshold.

So that's why I would support the recommendation to help him focus on the future - why is this happening and is there anything that can be done medically or in terms of exam arrangements to improve things next year. Quite often, students are unwilling to discuss this, but are keen instead that the marker 'take their illness into account in marking' (i.e. give a higher mark than the work deserves) , which isn't possible to do objectively.

greedygorb Wed 17-May-17 11:08:54

He should be alright. Happened me and they just gave me an avaerage of my essays- which was fine. I'd done half a paper. It was my last exam as well. I get bad migraines after a period of high stress is over- like a relief thing. So half way through a last exam is a classic situation.

Redfluffysocks Wed 17-May-17 14:00:02

Can I just say that you are all bloody marvellous taking the time to reply and trying to make me feel better.
He doesn't get migraines as much as he used to. This all started in the run up to A levels and he was given pitozifen or something and told to take them a few months before exams then taper off if things improved. So that's what he did and started back on them a few months ago but maybe a change of meds would be in order.
He has his original letter that the gp did at 6th form as evidence that he is not making this up and of course it happened last year too so he knows what to do, I hope.
He is doing a year abroad for his 3rd year which does not count towards his degree so the pressure will be off but he will still want to do well. I am being positive and encouraging towards him as I dont want to upset him further and yes its just a blip. Some great advice given.
Thanks a million once again lovely mnetters x

Redfluffysocks Tue 01-Aug-17 07:44:04

Just wanted to update for all the people kind enough to respond to my post. Ds passed his exam. Partly due to one of the questions being unanswerable so they were compensated for that and also the extenuating circumstances. Big relief all round.

Thanks again to everyone x

PeachyPip Tue 01-Aug-17 08:50:03

That's a good update! Well done to your son.

mumeeee Tue 01-Aug-17 11:49:21

That's great well done to your son

WeyHay Tue 01-Aug-17 13:23:34

THat's great! Must be a relief for both of you.

Top of his "To DO" list for the start of the next academic year in 6 weeks' time is for him to see his university's student support service with his medical history, and see what reasonable accommodation he can be offered for exams - which seem to be a stress-migraine trigger for him.

hellsbells99 Tue 01-Aug-17 23:00:37

Well done!

Redfluffysocks Wed 02-Aug-17 07:36:03

Thanks everyone. I'm so pleased for him as he worked so hard.
He's off to the states for his next year and yes Weyhay I'll tell him to get straight onto student support to make them aware over there and also when he gets back.

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