DS very anxious about re-sitting an exam: implications for graduating?

(22 Posts)
Anwen11 Sun 27-May-18 16:10:20

DS3 in final year. Should be re-sitting a second year core module exam early next week, I think for what would be the third time. Highest mark recorded for this module so far is 39%. The course work element had gone bettter so the exam element was very, very low.

DS didn't appeal at the time ie to raise it by 1% to a pass. He has suffered over the 3 years, from a great deal of anxiety - he's had panic attacks and has been very stressed. Apart from seeing a GP, he hasn't sought any help from the university, though we did advise him that would be a good idea as there is such a range of support available.

He's written several times to an undergrad manager to ask about the implications of not sitting it or failing it again. Response: Hhs 39 would stand but if he fails a third year module (which he says is unlikely), he risks being unable to sit this second year exam yet again & therefore graduating.

I worry, especially, that as graduating isn't really an automatic thing because of progression/exam boards, it's not going to look good for him if he doesn't turn up at all. But DS is adament - he would fail it badly, he hasn't time to cram so many lectures worth of revision into two days and, again, he says he's very stressed by the prospect (and I can hear that in his voice).

I can't push this anymore. I'm sort of tired of worrying about it and, ultimately, he has to make the decision. The stakes are high but might graduating (or not) rest on whether he shows willing, irrespective of how he does? Any advice welcome.

OP’s posts: |
BubblesBuddy Sun 27-May-18 16:28:36

Where my DDs went to university failing after resits was the end. A university doesn’t normally offer resit after resit. Just showing up and repeatedly failing isn’t going to result in a degree. You and he need to look at the universities rules on resits. They should be in his handbook.

On a wider point, if the degree isn’t right for him, it’s not what he should be doing. Why are the stakes so high? I know time and money has been invested but there other things in life that might make him happy. This course doesn’t seem to.

I don’t understand your reference to exam boards. The university sets and marks the exams and awards the degree. Also, why does he have only two days to revise? Are you sure he’s really telling you what is going on?

Anwen11 Sun 27-May-18 17:02:03

Thanks for your response. He has two days as the re-sit is on Tuesday and his last final year module exam was on Friday.

I suppose different universities have different approaches to re-sits and I don't imagine that he'd have this re-sit scheduled if he wasn't able to take it. Maybe it's a first re-sit, not a second - oddly, he seems unsure about this.

The progression/exam board - my understanding was that they take place, however briefly, to consider each final year student. Either way, I'm concerned about him simply not turning up but he's very stressed about the prospect of doing so.

There are aspects of the course he's enjoyed and done well in - and he wanted to go to this university to study the subject. But I think, at the same time, that it's overwhelmed him rather and he certainly hasn't helped himself by poor time management.

I don't want DS to loose more sleep - he says he barely slept because of worry during the final year exam period. He knows he has my back, whatever he decides to do. I maybe have to let go now but I'm worried for him.

OP’s posts: |
RedHelenB Sun 27-May-18 17:14:59

Well surely if he doesn't sit this resit he will fail his degree?

thesandwich Sun 27-May-18 17:22:51

With two days of focus he could get quite a bit done. It is worth encouraging him to go for it and do his best- he has obviously passed other exams. There is so much material of all sorts available on YouTube etc on anything.... going through past papers etc and maybe asking coursemates who have passed it?
I do understand your worry- if you can encourage him to sit it or otherwise go to see his gp for extenuating circs letter before the exam. He should contact his tutor.

IsDaveThere Mon 28-May-18 15:17:43

Is that 39 the overall module mark or just the exam? If the overall module mark, the system at my Uni would automatically round up a 39 to a 40 (the pass mark) but only after all his re-sit attempts had been used.

So where I am, whether he actually turns up and sits the exam or nor wouldn't make a difference. If he didn't show then a zero would be entered which would finalise his mark and the 39 would go to a 40. If he did sit the exam and end up with a lower mark than for his previous attempts, the highest mark achieved would stand. We don't check at exam boards whether the student turned up out not, we just look at the mark.

Does he definitely need to pass both the exam and the coursework element? Our modules are usually weighted 50/50 coursework/exam or similar and a high mark in one component would mean you could still pass the module even if you failed the other part.

Failing a 2nd year core middle at my Uni would unfortunately prevent a student from graduating.

Anwen11 Mon 28-May-18 17:53:14

Thank you, all.

DS has been told that irrespective of how he does in the re-sit, or whether he turns up or not, the 39% (a combination of course work and exam) would stand. Unfortunately, nothing to indicate that it would go to a 40.

IsDave - I'm slightly surprised that he could still graduate having (just) failed a second year core module but apparently he can, provided he passes all his third year modules.
I've tried all I can to encourage him to turn up and sit the exam but he won't. He's generally anxious and the prospect of taking an exam for which he is woefully ill-prepared is making him even more so.

I think he's got to think long and hard about whether further study is appropriate for him (assuming he graduates) - at least for the while until he can learn to pace himself, manage his time and deal with his anxieties. Thank you again. Your suggestions were very helpful in my conversations with DS. I'll update when we know anything.

OP’s posts: |


EduCated Tue 29-May-18 18:25:40

Progression works on credits. I believe it’s generally standardised in the UK that an undergraduate bachelors requires 360 credits. Often universities will build additional modules into the first/second year so that students can fail a module and still pick up enough credits across the three years, with particular rules about how many must come from the final year. I know when o was studying I essentially could have failed up to 20 credits (1 main module or two smaller ones).

His university should have all this information available. Does he have a programme handbook?

BubblesBuddy Wed 30-May-18 12:41:10

My DDs couldn’t fail anything! Yes it’s credits for modules but no fails.

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 30-May-18 15:31:48

Sorry, but that is absolute nonsense, edu. None of the universities I've studied at or worked at have a credit system. There is no standardisation.

OP, if you possibly can, see if your DS will talk to his student services representatives, or to his pastoral tutor. He needs support with this. Universities all have different rules, as you say, but there will be people who've navigated difficult situations before, and they should be able to help and advise him. He shouldn't presume everything is cut and dried unless he's really checked with everyone possible what his options are.

Anwen11 Wed 30-May-18 19:50:44

Thank you all - helpful responses. LRD - I was so relieved when DS told me that he's now, finally, spoken to his personal tutor (on the morning of the exam which he didn't, in the end, sit). I don't know how much he told her about his anxieties but I think she's fairly aware.

Beyond that meeting, he won't look at other options/services. Obdurate, he is - but that's been the case for years. Now, all I can do is gently encourage him to be positive and to see all of this as lessons for the future. I'll update - and thank you again.

OP’s posts: |
EduCated Wed 30-May-18 23:24:07

Eh, what are you on about? The QAA have got a whole booklet about it. I recognise you as a knowledgable HE poster, LRD, but I really don’t think it’s fair to say I’m spouting nonsense.

Indeed it’s not universal, hence the comment about programme handbooks or similar, as it should be explained and it’s important to understand the university and course-specific setup. And of course teaching arrangements will vary. I was specifically addressing OP’s confusion over how her DS could seemingly fail a module but pass the degree as a whole.

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 30-May-18 23:32:11

But it is nonsense. It is not standardised. It is utter misleading rubbish to claim it is.

There are many contexts in which a student might pass a degree despite failing a module. It's possible in all of the universities I've studied and/or worked at. Yet none of them have a credit system. That's why I don't think it was helpful or fair to tell the OP this is a standardised system. It is just confusing the issue. She - or rather her son - needs to check what this university says and how it organises things. Not to listen to suggestions that might be completely mistaken, made by people like us who don't know the situation properly.

EduCated Wed 30-May-18 23:45:38

Absolutely agree that her DS needs to find out about his situation. I’m not sure why you think explaining that it is entirely possible to fail a module but pass overall, with some information about the general approach within the English HE sector is confusing, but clearly you do and I don’t. The OP had express surprise that this was possible in the post immediately before mine.

It is generally standardised. Not fully, not universally, not in every context, but enough to be considered a framework.

I didn’t make any suggestions other than checking the handbook for his programme for information, to find out how it is organised in his situation.

I am somewhat taken aback by your insistence that it is nonsense.

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 30-May-18 23:52:27

A thing cannot be generally standardised, though, can it? confused

Standardisation is a concept that applies across the board.

This isn't standardised.

I don't quite see where the miscommunication is here, but I guess there must be one, because I still think you are being very misleading. There's no standardisation whatsoever, and it is wrong to suggest to the OP that there might be.

EduCated Thu 31-May-18 00:08:31

I’m not sure I see the miscommunication either, and am losing the thread of this conversation somewhat. Whatever it is, I was addressing a minor point of the OP’s post and discussing it further isn’t really going to add anything of use to her (or her DS).

I think the one clear thing we are agreed on is that her DS needs to find out exactly how it works on his programme, and it sounds like he is hopefully now accessing that support through his personal tutor.

titchy Thu 31-May-18 16:29:30

LRD most DO have a credit system. I know OX and Cam don't but the vast majority expect 120 per year for full time UG. The regulations as to how many credits are required to pass will change from institution to institution (some allow 3rd or more attempts, some allow compensated credit etc), but 120 credits a year is pretty normal. Shall I mention the expectation that this equals 1200 learning hours as well grin (ha ha.)

LRDtheFeministDragon Thu 31-May-18 16:49:41


Ok, I'm clearly having some kind of malfunction between my brain and my keyboard. I keep thinking I'm writing that you can't generalise because institutions differ. And you, and others, seem also to be agreeing institutions differ? So, can't we just go with that?

The point is that the OP, or rather her son, need to talk to the actual university people involved, not randomers on the internet, and especially not randomers with helpful speculations about how it might work at some other university or it might not.

titchy Thu 31-May-18 17:02:45

Regulations can't be generalised. The credit system can!

titchy Thu 31-May-18 17:03:32

But agree with your point that the ds needs to know what his regs are.

LRDtheFeministDragon Thu 31-May-18 17:06:59

No, I really don't think it's sensible to generalise about the credit system. The fact is that not everywhere uses it, and we don't know enough to know if it's helpful to the OP.

BubblesBuddy Thu 31-May-18 18:52:07

So does the op’s DS have his degree? I’m none the wiser.

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