If you’re currently at university you’ll have probably noticed that one of the big differences between undergraduate exams and the ones you did at GCSE or A-Level is that you get your results back much more quickly. Whereas sixteen and eighteen year-olds will be sweating on their grades all the way until August, most universities will send you your summer exam results in less than two months, and in some cases in just a couple of weeks. This happens largely because unlike GCSEs and A-Levels university exams are all marked internally, meaning the whole process can be carried out much more quickly. That said, a small part of us does also wonder whether it could also be that the lecturers are just as eager to get marking out the way so they can go off on holiday as you were to get the exams over with.

While the upside to getting your results more quickly is that you don’t need to spend the summer fretting about them, the downside is that in the event that you failed anything the chances are that you’ll have to take resits, which typically take place in August and which you’ll need to pass in order to be able to progress onto the next year of your course or be awarded your degree.

While some students–typically the ones who knew the fail was coming due to their “lifestyles”–are relaxed about the whole thing, other people find the prospect of resits quite stressful. But while this is a completely understandable response, if you take these steps you should be able to approach the ordeal calmly and with the confidence that you’ll pass second time round.

1) Get in touch with lecturers for feedback

Although not all universities or departments will be prepared to give you feedback, it’s certainly worth asking for some from your lecturers in case you do. Hopefully they’ll be happy to talk you through what went wrong last time, giving you a real head-start in preparing yourself for the resits.

2) Ask your coursemates for help

Talking things over with your coursemates will also make the process less stressful, both baecause they’ll be able to help you to put things into perspective and give you tips about the way they successfully handled the exams. If you think that you’re lacking in terms of the materials you need to prepare for your exams, they may also be able to lend you books or revision notes.

3) Plan for next year based on what went wrong last time

Unless your resit is for a final exam, then you’re going to be returning to your course next year, and that’ll mean more exams on the same or similar subjects in the future. Assuming–not unreasonably–that you’d prefer not to have to do resits again, take this opportunity to think about what might have caused you to fail this time round. Was it that you took a module in something you’re not suited to? Then consider changing your course options for next year. Did you find when you came to revise your notes weren’t very good? Then take more care over your lecture and seminar notes next year. Could your failure have been the result of too many late nights and not enough time in the lecture hall and library? For this last one, we probably don’t need to tell you what you need to do next year…

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