Home Lifestyle What to do if you fail an essay, exam, module or dissertation this summer

What to do if you fail an essay, exam, module or dissertation this summer

What to do if you fail an essay, exam, module or dissertation this summer

One of the hardest things to deal with during your time as a student is the possibility that you could fail a university exam. Whether it be on an essay, exam, module or even on your dissertation, the whole idea of it all can be quite scary.

Try not to worry too much, as with everything, there are always steps to take and a process to put into action if this ever happens, here are a few tips on how to stay calm and work through that mark.

Some common reasons for failure

Students fail for all sorts of reasons, ranging from failure to attend lectures or to keep up with course readings, general confusion around the course, health issues or personal struggles.

How to avoid it

As with many aspects of life, you can usually avoid the worst by taking steps to combat the issue in the first place, here are a few tips on how to avoid failing at university:

-Speak to your tutor. Academic tutors have personal office hours which you can attend. Make the most of them! Head along to chat through anything that you might be struggling with.

-Don’t wait until problems become too big to deal with. If you are aware that certain aspects of your degree just don’t seem to be clicking, then take steps to change this. Do not wait until the problem becomes too large, the reading becomes too backlogged or your general understanding of the course really takes a plummet.

-If you are going through health problems or personal issues that you are aware will impact considerably on your end university result, then you can always file for extenuating circumstances.

Once these circumstances have been assessed, your tutor will sign the form and a plan will be worked out concerning extensions; meaning that you will have more time to complete your work.

What to do if it happens

Failed certain aspect of module/failed the whole module

If you have failed one aspect of a module, then it may not always be necessary to re-submit. If your combined mark is higher than a 40 pass, then you will be fine- however, if it is not, then you will be asked to re-submit the coursework on a chosen date. This procedure varies over certain institutions, so it’s best to look into what your university offer.

If you fail the entire module then you will be required to re-sit it all- including the exam, all of which will be capped at a pass level.

Failed Dissertation

Keep in mind, students very rarely fail their dissertation. If it does happen, it’s usually due to failure to turn up to meetings or to submit chapters/bibliographies. If you do fail, then you will be given a new date to submit it on, your mark, however, will be capped at a pass level.


If it is found that you have copied work from an online source or a book, then you will receive a fail, you will also not be given the option to re-sit and in serious cases, it can be brought in front of the University Ethics Board. Essentially, don’t do it!


If you feel that you have been unjustly marked then you can always appeal the mark that you have been given if you do not agree with it. You will usually have the most success with this decision if the university has failed to take into account your extenuating circumstances. Every university have their own process with appeals and the whole activity can be very lengthy, however, it is worth it! Make sure that you file all of the correct forms and any evidence before all of the appropriate deadlines to make sure that you have the best chance. All there is left to do then is to wait whilst the university board looks into your case.

Although failing can be a hard pill to swallow, it does happen to the best of us and should not be something that you should chastise yourself too severely for. All universities have steps in place to make sure that you get all the opportunities and all the information that you need.

Good luck!

Elizabeth Whittingham Elizabeth is a history graduate currently working in content and communications.