Thursday, 30 May 2013

University – what to do when you don’t pass an assessment

This week I have been so down, last night I jumped online to look at what marks I received for my economics essay. The whole essay was marked out of 50, and I received 19.5…yep, you read that right, I didn’t even pass the assignment.

Now, in my whole academic career I have not failed an assignment. I joked with friends about how when I go to pick up my assignment, they could just look in the pile labelled ‘Fail’ to find mine. Well that joke came back to bite me, I really didn’t pass.

Devastated and embarrassed ( the marks were released publicly to anyone sitting in the unit – with our student numbers and marks) I took to Facebook – in hindsight this isn’t the best idea, wrote a depressive status about how ‘although you have no doubt it is coming, it is still upsetting’.

So after that, the panic set in. This is the train of thought that generally comes with this sort of panic - What if this means I don’t pass this unit, I am going to get a fail mark, and have to pay $1,500 for something I failed, what if I just withdraw from the unit?,  how did this happen? Why do I suck? (insert continuous depressive and panic stricken thoughts in here).

So what happens now? Well my first port of call was too look at how much the assignment weighting was in the whole unit. It turns out that the assignment was only worth 15%. Which doesn’t sound like much, but when it comes down to it that 15% could be the difference in passing or not.

I’m not too sure how many points or marks I have for this subject, (I think most teachers don’t like giving them out as it spurs students to study hard for the exams.) My next thought was to form a list of questions for the unit convenor and swallow my broken pride and call. I called the teacher looking for some guidance as to whether I should sit the exam or withdraw from the unit, which was a drastic move, but one I considered.

He advised me to stick with the class and sit the exam, and if it didn’t work out in the end speak with him after my marks are released. To see what my next options are.

I have two options as my contingency plan. I can look at the areas I struggled with and sit the unit again on top of the other units I will have next semester.  Being a normal semester I will have roughly 12 weeks to learn the content again and it might just be a case of understanding it better the second time round.

Now, this is a route that I would rather not go down as it means I would have to sit an extra exam and still have the same amount of workload that I do now plus this one again.

The second option is one I am hoping to action if I don’t scrape into the passing stage which is summer school. Summer school at my uni is offered and limit to 2 subjects per summer semester. It is an intensive semester with the content only spanning roughly 8 weeks. (perfect for my concentration level). It would also be the only class I would take therefore focusing all my energy on that one. Which means I could excel or I could crumble. So with that in mind, my study period begins this weekend. I am hoping to boost my marks by doing the exam, but if I don’t quite get there I have a plan to fall back on.

Bottom line is, don’t panic if you don’t pass there is almost always a back up plan. If you feel like you are struggling and not going to pass reach out for some advice, don’t be embarrassed to ask, I wish I had of done it sooner during the semester.

For anyone who is reading who has exam season approaching, I wish you the best of luck!

1 comment:

  1. I can definitely relate to this. My exam season just passed a couple of weeks ago and, thankfully, it went well this semester. But the semester before that I was in the same situation as you in two of my courses. Not a fun place to be. I hope summer school goes well for you! I am also taking one summer class in July :)