Failed Dissertation, coursework, report or exam?

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October 14, 2014

Failed Dissertation, coursework, report or exam?

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Each year several hundreds of university students end up failing their dissertation, coursework, exam or assignment.  Receipt of a failing mark can be the most devastating experience for students in the UK. Have you recently failed your dissertation, assignment, exam or coursework? If YES then be calm because you are not alone. There are several ways of tackling such a situation. This article presents several options for students who have failed an exam, dissertation or assignment. So bit back and relax because it’s not the end of the world.
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Possible Reasons of Failure

Often students do not get enough help from their tutors to pass an exam, dissertation or coursework, which results in a situation where they start to wait until their problems become too large. Fortunately, failing mark is not the end of the world and students can change their circumstances.

There could be numerous reasons as to why you may have failed your dissertation, exam, essay or report. Some students are unable to keep up with course reading during semester, while others just do not have sufficient understanding of the subject theories. The inability to understand key concepts, missing lectures on a regular basis and lack of understanding of course content are some of the most common reasons that result in a failing mark. A sensible thing to do would be to have your paper edited and proofread by an expert to eliminate any grammatical, structural and spelling errors.

Avoiding Failure Before You Even Begin

If you want to avoid failure before it happens then it is advised that you take some pre-emptive actions before your problems become too large. Achieving a graduate or postgraduate degree is not a walk in the park, and therefore it is vitally important for students to make sure that they deal with the challenges head on to prevent them from turning into potential failures.

  • If you know that you are struggling with your dissertation, coursework or assignment then simply discuss your problems with your academic supervisor. An academic supervisor or mentor is a member of faculty assigned to you at the start of your degree course. Meet with them on a regular basis and let them know of any problems you are facing so they can help you to address them in a timely manner.
  • Meet the challenges head on. Don’t wait for your problems to become too large. A small issue can turn into a major crisis if you keep on ignoring it for too long. For example, if you are struggling to collect primary data for your dissertation, it will be appropriate to consult with your mentor to avoid falling behind on deadline.
  • Most universities understand that every now and then students may face unforeseen challenges due to their financial issues, family problems, personal limitations and prolonged sickness. Therefore, it is possible to minimise the damage by filing for extenuating circumstances. By completing and submitting the extenuating circumstances form, you will be formally notifying your university that you are lagging behind on your dissertation or coursework. And do not forget to attach a formal plan to let them know how you would proceed further so you could be granted extensions to your coursework, exam or dissertation deadline.

Opportunities for Reassessment

Even if you end up receiving a failing mark, you will have several options to choose from to clean the mess. However, before taking any decisions you must understand whether you have failed the entire module, just an element of a module or the dissertation.

Failing Dissertation

Do not worry if you have failed your dissertation because you will be given the opportunity to resubmit it by the deadline agreed upon by yourself and the university.  However, the marks awarded for a resubmitted dissertation are usually caped to a minimum passing mark as a penalty to your failure in the first place. A complete dissertation failure in UK universities will only occur if you are unable to achieve the minimum passing mark even in your second attempt. To improve your situation, you should regularly meet with your supervisor and avoid overlooking mandatory draft submissions.

Failing Module

You will be required to either re-sit an exam or re-submit the coursework (in some cases) if you have failed an entire module. Each module that you take exam for usually has unique set of module guidelines associated with it and the decision on how you will be reassessed is taken by the board of examiners and the lecturers only after taking these guidelines into consideration. Again, the maximum obtainable mark is usually capped to a bare pass level if you are re-siting an exam or resubmitting a coursework.

Failing Element of Module

If you only failed one piece of an exam or coursework and managed to achieve high marks for other elements of the module then you may not need at all to resubmit that element. The bottom line is that if your average coursework mark is above the bare minimum passing mark, you will pass that module even if you failed one piece of it.  For example, if you receive a failing mark of 35 in one essay coursework that counts for 25% of the overall module mark but pass the remaining 75% module assessment (which can be in the form of an exam or coursework), you can still pass the entire module. However, depending on your university’s regulations, you may have the opportunity to resubmit the failed coursework to improve your overall course grade.

Plagiarism A Serious Offence – So Avoid It

All UK universities have strict rules and penalties against students who are caught plagiarizing. In the event when you receive a failing mark due to plagiarism, you may not be able to resubmit your dissertation/coursework or re-sit an exam. So make sure that you are citing the ideas and others in an appropriate manner and avoiding copying work from other academic sources to prevent your case being sent to the University Ethics Board which usually has the power to take a range of measures against you. In most cases you will not be able to appeal the decision being taken if you are found guilty of plagiarizing. So please refrain from it.

How to Appeal

If you believe that you have been disadvantaged in some way or your university did not take your financial or family problems into consideration at the time of awarding you a failing mark then you may have the grounds to appeal against the mark awarded to you. All UK universities have their own set of rules for lodging student academic appeals. Generally, this is a very lengthy procedure. Make sure that you provide documentary evidence along with the appropriate forms to justify your appeal. The university exam board will review your case, and you will be allowed to resubmit your work or resit the exam if your application is successful. Detailed information on appealing procedures is usually available on university’s website and is also provided to students before the start of the degree programme. While no student ever wants to fail an exam, coursework, assignment or dissertation, the unthinkable sometimes can happen. But you should not get discouraged by the disastrous situation because most universities do offer another chance to students who have genuine reasons.

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