Exam and assessment tips, Exam tips, Supporting your study

5 steps for students who have failed their exams

Einir from the Advice and Money Team shares 5 steps for students who have failed their exams… 

The exam board has met and you will have received an email to say your results are available to be viewed on SIMS.  When you viewed your results did you find a dreaded F, or a lower classification or pass mark than you expected? No doubt you have lots of questions and things to consider, but rest assured support is available to you so please consider the following steps from our Advice and Money Team

Step 1: Check your result codes 

With your transcript there should have been a page which explains the Result Codes. It’s important that you read this to know what the exam board has decided you need to do next. 

If you are unclear about your results, please contact the Advice and Money Team and we can help you understand your position. Alternatively, you can contact your School office who will also be able to support you. 

Step 2: Are you permitted to re-sit your exams or assessments in August? 

Two possible examples on your result letter could be: 

“FF” Failed: To be re-assessed in the module/unit of study prior to the start of the following session.   


“AF” or “MF” Failed or recorded as absent from one or more assessments due to reasonable medical or compassionate grounds that affected performance in assessment. Permitted to be re-assessed in module/unit of study prior to the start of the following session.  

These two examples  mean that the exam board is giving you the opportunity to re-sit the assessment.  “AF” or “MF”, means that extenuating circumstances may have been accepted for the failed assessment. 

The resit period this year is Monday 12 August – Friday 23 August 2019

If you have been permitted to repeat your exams in the resit period, you must make yourself available during this period to do so. Being absent without extenuating circumstances will lead to another fail. 

If you will be taking assessments in the resit period you will need to think about: 

  • Where will you stay? 
  • Can you stay in your rented property? 
  • Will you have to pay full rent if you’re staying there? 
  • Can you afford to stay there? 
  • If you are working over the summer, do you need to book leave? 
  • Will you travel down the day before the exam? 
  • Can you afford the extra cost of travel? 

Above are all things that need to be considered and planned.  If you do need accommodation for a few nights, University Residences offer short-term summer lets. 

If the unexpected cost of having to return to Cardiff to re-sit your exams will put a strain on your budget then applying to the Financial Assistance Programme may help to relieve some of that pressure. 

Step 3: Do you have to repeat the year? 

Both the Student Funding and Advice Team (for home and EU students) and International Student Support (for international students) will be available throughout the whole of the summer period so please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about your results. 

If you have failed more than 60 credits, most schools will not allow you to resit your exams/ assessments in August as it will be too much work for you to do in a short amount of time. In these circumstances you might be given the opportunity to repeat your modules over the next academic year and you must pass them to progress to the next stage of your course. 

There are two types of repeat years: repeating as an internal student or repeating as an external student. There are different academic requirement to these two options and also financial implications. We would advise you to check the information on the intranet or if you are a home or EU student, contact the Advice and Money Team if you require further clarification. 

If you are an international student, repeating modules as an internal or external student will also affect your visa status. Guidance is available on the International Student Support intranet pages or please speak to a member of the International Student Support Team

Step 4: Consider if this is the right course for you 

You might start to question is this the right course for you or it may have even confirmed your doubts that it isn’t the right course for you. 

We would advise you to discuss course options with a careers advisor at Cardiff University. 

If you have decided that this isn’t the course for you and you want to transfer to another course or a different institution, more information on transferring can be found on the intranet. 

Transferring can affect funding eligibility so please make sure you have all the facts before transferring.  If you need to double check something or want something clarified and you are a home or EU student, please contact us in the Advice and Money Team 

For international students, transferring to a different course will in most cases affect your immigration status, so please make sure you have all the facts before transferring.  Please take a look at the information on the intranet pages if you plan to make any changes to your course or contact a member of the International Student Support Team for advice. Transferring without first seeking advice from ISS could mean that you cannot complete your studies in the UK. 

Step 5: Have you got grounds to Appeal? 

If you have decided it is the right course for you, but there were factors that affected your performance that the exam board weren’t aware of, in order to report them now, you will need to appeal the exams board decision.  Further information on the Academic Appeal process can be found on the intranet.  If you require support with your appeal, Student Advice in your Students’ Union will be able to support you through this process. Please be aware that time limits apply to the appeals procedure and students are required to start an appeal within 28 days of publication of results. 

Get in touch 

Student Funding and Advice: 
Tel: 029 2251 8888 Email: adviceandmoney@cardiff.ac.uk 

International Student Support: 
Tel: 029 2251 8888  Email: ISS@cardiff.ac.uk 

Best wishes, 
Einir, Acting Student Funding and Advice Manager

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