Can You Retake Your 3rd Year at University?

In University by Think Student EditorLeave a Comment

In the midst of a global pandemic, it’s completely understandable as to why a student may not pass their final year at university. Not only are there so many different things going on in different parts of the world, but students may also have their own personal problems that they’re dealing with. Although mental health is a big topic now, sadly some people don’t speak up enough about how they feel which in turn could have a negative impact on their education. University is hard enough as it is, especially the 3rd year which academically tends to be the most challenging. Students already put pressure on themselves to do well, then there is the added pressure from family because you would want to do them proud. But sometimes things can take a turn that you’re not expecting that can unfortunately lead to having to retake your 3rd year at university. 

Yes, it is possible to retake your final year at university but it’s important to go in with the right mindset and you’re prepared as you can generally only retake it once. While doing your retake all your grades will be capped at 40% and you would also have to pay a fee for each retake. 

If you or someone you know finds yourself in a situation where you fear you may need to retake your 3rd year at university and you’re not sure on the next steps please keep reading. 

How Would You Know if You Need to Retake Your 3rd Year at University?

At the end of your time at university, and even at the end of every semester in an academic year each student will receive their Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR). The HEAR details all your modules, their percentage weighting, the number of credits each module is worth and your grade. Generally, 120 credits are required to pass each academic year, so failure to achieve a total of 120 credits by the end of your 3rd year means you will not pass the year. If you would like further information on university credits or you’re not entirely sure on what they are and how they work, please read this article. When you receive your HEAR this is when you would be able to see what modules you failed and what specific assessments you may need to do again. 

Depending on how the year went it might not come as a surprise that you need to retake the year if you had already failed some modules during that academic year. For example, if you failed a piece of coursework at the start of semester 2, you would already be aware that you would need to retake this coursework in the summer.  

Your university would also formally contact you by email to inform you that you failed your 3rd year and some possible next steps to takeThey would also inform you that you would have to pay a fee for a retake, and if you need to retake the whole year you would need to contact Student Finance England. Read this article from student writer that has further insight into considering potential options if you find yourself in a position whereby you have failed your 3rd year at university. 

What Happens if You Fail the Year You are Retaking?

Retakes are generally capped at 40%, so when you retake an assignment or exam the highest grade you can possibly achieve is 40% regardless of the quality of your work. This is done to ensure its fair to those who would have done the assignment or exam before and those doing the retake don’t have an upper hand as they would have already done the exam or assignment so would be familiar with it. Although the questions will be different, it’s still topics you would have covered before and covered in your lectures. The cap is also put in place to ensure a student doesn’t fail again as 40% is the minimum pass grade, so although you won’t have the opportunity to get 70%, as long as you put in the effort you shouldn’t fail! 

It’s highly unlikely you will fail the year you are retaking unless you physically can’t do the exam due to an extenuating circumstance. In this case you may be compensated and you may be allowed to do your retakes at a later date. 

How Many Retakes are You Allowed During the Final Year of Your Degree?

In the final year of your degree, you can only repeat it once, unless you have a serious extenuating circumstance that results in having to retake twice. However, in 1st year you tend to have the opportunity to retake it twice, whereas in the 2nd year similar to the 3rd year you can only retake it once. 

It’s also not possible to retake a year in an attempt to get a better grade if you passed already. For example, if a student achieved 58% overall at the end of their time in university, which is equal to a 2:2, even if they wanted to finish university with a 1st they are not able to retake the year in hopes to get a 1st. Retakes are also capped at 40% anyway so this would not be possible.  

Some universities have introduced a safety net policy during the current COVID-19 pandemic as they are aware of how the current climate can affect students, especially their wellbeing. For example, in semester 1 if a student achieved 68% overall, as a result of the safety net imposed their average grade at the end of that academic year will not fall below 68%. So essentially the student is confident that their grade at the end of that specific academic year will not be below 68%.  

Also due to disruptions to education some students have signed petitions, for example this article was written last year about students from the University of Cambridge who signed a letter stating that students in their final year of university should be allowed to retake their exams or have their exams postponed as they felt they were at an unfair advantage, especially due to the fact that most lectures are online.  

What are Some Tips for Retaking Your 3rd Year Exams?

1 – Just remember that you’re not actually learning anything new as you’re doing something you’ve already done beforeMake sure you’re well prepared this time and you put in the hard work. 

2 – Try to not think so much about failing as this could lead to self-sabotage. The stress caused by the anxiety of fear of failure can be really overwhelming and distract your mind from focusing on the work you need to do. This would make it harder to retain the information that you know you already know. 

3 – Don’t be afraid to reach out to people if you feel you need help or guidance. No one should suffer in silence and remember that there are people around you to help you. Ask your personal tutor, head of department, your lecturers, literally anyone who you think can help you pass you exams and assignments. 

4 – Think about the end result. Think about how you would feel after doing your last exam and the freedom that would come with that. Keep this picture in mind while revising as a way of having something to look forward to. You could even think of a way to reward yourself after doing your exam, for example a cheeky get away to somewhere sunny!

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