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Retaking Exams

(6 Posts)
CBrowney68 Fri 19-May-17 17:48:20

My DS2 is in the first year of an engineering degree; WWhen DH or I have spoken to him about his course he has made a point of mentioning that his first year doesn't count towards his final year. We in response have kept highlighting how important getting a good grade is as this is the base knowledge he will need for his next two years. If he does poorly in his first year, he is putting himself at a huge disadvantage for the rest of his time at university.

He has now finished most of his exams, and he has begun making noises about how difficult the exams are, and I am worried that he is going to have to resit some exams in summer. I really don't know what to do with him; I'm hoping this has been a wake-up call for him. Has anyone had experience with similar situations? What did you do?

Becca19962014 Sun 21-May-17 18:32:44

It depends on his department/if there's professional recognition involved. Some courses don't allow progression to the second year with bare passes for the first year (resits are usually capped at the pass mark) in core modules - I did engineering and bare passes wouldn't mean being allowed to progress due to lack of understanding of key principles.

It's all well and good for unis to say the first year doesn't count because it doesn't count to the over all classification but in some courses the marks in the first year decide if they get to progress. It's not always explicitly stated, it's assumed students read the course handbook and know this.

All he can do now is sit and wait to see what happens.

GoatsFeet Mon 22-May-17 11:47:07

It's all well and good for unis to say the first year doesn't count because it doesn't count to the over all classification but in some courses the marks in the first year decide if they get to progress. It's not always explicitly stated, it's assumed students read the course handbook and know this

We don't say "first year doesn't count". We say that the marks you receive in first will not count to the overall classification of your degree. But you have to do well enough to progress from first to second year. Please don't try to shift responsibility away from students to take responsibility for completing the required work for their degree!

This is why transfer between different degree programmes or subjects between 1st and 2nd year usually very difficult or impossible.

And we do assume that students read the course handbook, so they are fully informed about the conditions of the course for which (as many of them sometimes quite rudely remind us) they are paying. It is the student's responsibility to read the handbook, and know what they're supposed to be doing. It's not school. In 3 or 4 years, undergraduates are expected to be able to work as professionals.

Sounds to me, OP ., as if your DS has had a bit of an adjustment problem between school and university. It happens. Particularly if school & A levels were relatively easy. And Engineering is a notoriously heavy course. If he gets through, he's learned a valuable lesson about consistent and diligent work.

If he ploughs one exam, but overall passes the year, with passes in the right modules to maintain progression and satisfy external certification bodies, then he's likely not to have to resit in the summer.

If, however, he hasn't done the work, and can't progress, he'll be offered re-sits in August, generally capped at 40% (which is the bottom pass mark for an Honours degree). Some degree programmes allow students to fail (or not complete) up to 20 credit points in a year, as long as their total credit point load over the whole undergraduate degree does not go below a specified threshold. The standard UK credit point load for an undergraduate year of study for an Honours degree is 120 credit points (an Honours degree totals 360 cp).

But it may be different for an Engineering degree, especially if it's an MEng (as opposed to BEng).

All of this will be set out in your DS's course handbook and/or the University examination & progression regulations.

hellsbells99 Mon 22-May-17 11:54:17

Hi op. My DD is in the middle of her exams at the moment (also 1st year engineering) and is finding them difficult. I do keep reminding her that she just needs to pass and on top of January exams and assessments, I hope she will be okay. With A levels they were all trying to get 80% plus to get an A or 90% for an A* - with degrees the percentages required is lower e.g. 60% is a 2.1 and 40% a pass.

Becca19962014 Mon 22-May-17 16:59:00

I didn't mean it was the unis responsibility, I didn't explain myself properly. I'll try again!

Basically it's a personal annoyance with the uni I taught in, in no way did I mean to suggest that the uni were responsible. All students should always read the department handbook as well as general rules and that general rule is not enough for someone to appeal, our handbook is clear, despite that students would appeal citing that general rule. It simply didn't apply. Our students needed to get a good 2:1 in all core subjects (which was most of the modules they took, there was room for one from another department) or they didn't get on the second year. Resits wouldn't get them a high enough mark to continue.

All students must check course handbooks and requirements and not assume reading general information is enough, it isn't.

Hopefully that explains it better.

Gannet123 Mon 22-May-17 17:15:47

OP - if it is the case that your DS is having a bit of a wake-up call, this is very common. One of the reasons why first year marks don't count in the classification is because students need the chance to learn from first year - sure, that's about skills and knowledge, but also about discipline and commitment - exactly what you have to do to do well. Plenty of students underperform in year 1, including having to resit, learn lessons and then go on to do fine. Of course, some don't, and they are often the chronic cases of students who just won't apply themselves for whatever reason, but more common is for students to get a wake up call and then pull themselves together.

The great thing is that if he hasn't worked as hard as he should, and, as a consequence does less well than he wants to (even if he passes), that's a very concrete experience for him to learn from, and he may well learn from it more effectively than he's learned from your, and his tutors, advice. It is always irritating when students/offspring discover for themselves that the thing you've been going on at them about for ages is in fact true (why can't you just listen, you cry as you resist throttling them) but it's how some people work. If I were you, tough as it is, I would just back off a bit and let him learn the lesson for himself.

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