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Dealing with university re-sits this summer

So you/your child worked incredibly hard at GCSE and then A level, to achieve the grades to get into University only to struggle to get through the course?  (As a parent you may not actually realise your child is struggling – I know I did at least once during my undergraduate degree and certainly didn’t admit it! There are no end of term reports so be prepared to probe deeper.) Going to University is a huge learning curve for students – as undergraduates they must learn to stand on their own two feet and take responsibility for themselves and also their learning. They must learn to organise their time effectively – which may mean time managing a part time job with studies. University is not regimented like school/college and it is all too easy to become distracted by University life itself and as a result, studies often suffer. Even the most academic and brightest students can struggle – a child used to being top of his/her class at school is not necessarily going to be top of the class at Uni and students can struggle for many reasons; course content may be tough to understand and or they have struggled with time management and/or organisation.

Unlike at school/college where poor end of year results translate to unfavourable reports, at University, failure to make the required standard means failing the year. Students must pass the year to graduate to the next.  Failing a year can have a devastating effect on students and can knock their confidence and/or  cause panic/stress or it can be a necessary wake up call if not enough study was done first time round! However, failing a year is not usually as final as it sounds and most courses offer opportunities to re-sit failed modules / courses.  Re-sits are usually in August or September. Course tutors and other University staff are there to help students – but again students must take responsibility for themselves and ask for help and for students that have a re-sit exam this summer we have a few tips…

  • First, don’t panic – panicking doesn’t lead to constructive study.   
  • Be honest about the problem – why did you fail the original exam/module? Was it lack of understanding, lack of knowledge and/or not enough commitment to study? Was it a personal/medical problem?
    • Lack of understanding: course tutors are often more than happy to explain things – we’d advise asking a course tutor, or maybe a postgraduate student, if they are willing to help and if you can book an appointment with them. It is best to book an appointment as, contrary to popular belief, academics are very busy and have plenty work to do outside of formal teaching time!
    • Lack of knowledge: if this was because not enough time was spent studying, take this as a useful wake up call! Timetable in more study time and get more organised! Again, if organising your time is a problem there are University support staff available – student counseling services, student unions and careers offices may be sources of help on this.
    • A personal/medical problem: don’t worry you are not alone. Many students find it difficult to cope with university life and study and for numerous reasons. Hopefully you have already discussed this with University staff and have been given some dispensation and/or a plan to move forward but if not, again Student Counseling services, Student Unions, Careers Service can point you in the direction as can course tutors. Get help
  • Get organised and get down to work! One of the transferable skills acquired at Uni is being organised, self motivated and able to work independently. If you need help with revision you may find our posts on revision tips and making the most of study leave helpful; though the posts address GCSE and A level students, the tips are applicable to students of all ages.
  • Ask for help if you need it and it’s advisable to be upfront with friends and family who will no doubt provide much needed support.

As a parent, there are several ways you can help:

  • Understand that your ‘child’ is a young adult learning to juggle life, work, play and study and this is not easy.
  • Remember your young adult ‘child’ is no longer bound by school rules and there are no teachers to report back on their progress so make them feel comfortable and encourage them to be upfront about their studies – many students will not want to admit they can’t cope. If they are struggling try to probe why and see if/how you can help.
  • Be supportive – even if you think they should be working harder or doing things differently!
  • Consider hiring a tutor.   

If you live in the Greater Manchester or East Cheshire area and you’d like to find out more about how tutoring can help with degree re-sit exams, dissertations and theses – don’t hesitate to get in touch with 121 Home Tutors. We’ll be very happy to advise you, and, if you wish, put you in touch with tutors relevant to the student’s needs.

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