No student wants to fail a module at university. However, for reasons in or outside of your control, it may happen. The most important thing to do is not to panic, but you might not know what happens academically if you fail a module. There are a lot of complicated university processes that can make even simple things appear confusing – don’t panic, this article is here to help!
If you fail a module for the first time, you will be asked to resit it. In the event that you pass a resit module, it will be used to calculate your overall grade as normal. However, if you fail a module and a resit module, you may be asked to repeat the entire module from scratch. You can still pass your course even with a failed module, so speak to your personal or senior tutor about any concerns you may have.
Don’t worry if you’re still confused about the processes surrounding failing a university module. This article is here to provide you with the information you might need to get through failing a module at university!
Table of Contents
What should you do if you fail a module at university?
The first thing to do is to speak to your personal or senior tutor, or your university assessment board. They will be your main point of contact if you fail a module. They will organise for you to resit the failed module. However, you can only do this once, so you should make your best effort.
If you failed the module due to mental health related issues or personal issues, you should reach out to your personal tutor. Similarly, you can talk to your university counselling service. This Think Student article has good advice on how to deal with university stress.
The most important thing is not to panic if you fail a module. There will be ways of resolving it and, even if you fail a resit module, you won’t necessarily fail your degree. Your university will try and help you as much as possible.
What counts as failing a module?
A module is considered failed if you score less than 40%. This is because 40% is the minimum pass mark required to get a 3rd – the lowest undergraduate grade. For a master’s degree, a failure is any score below 50%. To read more about the university grading system, check out this Think Student article.
Another reason for a failure may be because of academic misconduct, which essentially means cheating. Obviously, even if you feel you can’t pass a module without cheating, it’s very important that you follow academic regulations at all times.
What is the process of resitting a university module?
As mentioned earlier, if you fail a university module for the first time, you will be asked to resit. Don’t worry if you’re unsure about what this means. A resit involves retaking the assessments for the parts of the module that you failed. At most universities, you can only achieve 40% on a resit module, even if you would have scored higher.
When you pass a resit module, it is considered a part of your passed modules. Your overall grade will still be calculated as normal, including modules passed first time and those that were resit.
What happens if you fail a resit module?
If you fail a resit module, there are generally two courses of action your university may take. In most cases, your university will ask you to repeat the entire module as if you had not studied it. However, in more extreme cases, your university may not permit you to continue your studies if they don’t think you will pass in future.
For example, the University of Portsmouth states in their policy that if you fail your resit module, “you may be excluded from further study and you may not continue”. However, this differs university by university and case by case. Make sure to communicate with your university frequently.
How many times can you fail a module at university?
You can only fail the same module once before significant action is taken. The first time you fail a module, you will, in most cases, simply be asked to resit the parts you failed, known as “refer” exams. However, if you fail again the university will step in. As mentioned earlier, you might be asked to resit the entire module again.
If you fail several of your modules, even if only once, the university may act. Depending on the reasons for your failure, you may be asked to suspend your studies temporarily.
How many modules can you fail in first year?
Most first year courses will have “core” modules that need to be passed, and weaker modules that you can ‘risk’ failing. For example, if you fail a weak module, you will be asked to resit the parts of the module you failed. However, if you fail a core module, you might resit the entire module.
There is no set number of modules that you can pass or fail. You should try to pass all your modules, but this isn’t always possible. The most important thing is that you don’t fail all your modules, otherwise you may be removed from your course.
How many times can you resit a module?
You can only resit specific sections of a module once, in your “refer” exams. If you fail your resit assessments, you might be asked to resit the entire module. In this way, you may end up resitting the same module twice. If you fail this module again, you may not be allowed to continue your course.
If you’re in 3rd year, check out this Think Student article about whether you can retake your third year at university.
How many modules can you fail in 3rd year?
You can fail modules in third year. Like first year, there is no set number, but if you fail more than one module your university might intervene. You may still be able to graduate even if you fail a module, but you should contact your university about this.
In the event that you do fail your 3rd year due to failed modules, you should read this Think Student article.