We have entered 2018, and semester two, with exam results now revealed for most. Congratulations to all, and if you failed a module or two, or didn’t manage to get your assignments in on time you should be proud that you got through the extremely stressful exam season and lived to tell the tale. Also, know that you are not alone. UCD does not boast about the number of people failing their modules, for some reason. Our front page article highlights just how common it is to fail a module at this university and how it occurs more in some subject areas than others. The SU has published a post-exam guide that you can check out on their Facebook page.
Repeats are a frustratingly costly affair and UCD has the highest repeat fees of any Irish university, with currently no cap on fees. It is currently free to resit an exam in Trinity but the university is proposing introducing fees. UCC charges €35 per repeat with a cap of €245. This means that to repeat two exams in UCD would cost more than repeating all your modules in UCC (provided you managed to do this without doing an extra year of college). Resits in UL cost €171 per module.
The possibility of repeat fees can be a cloud over some students’ heads where others have the privilege of not having to think about it. Those who are working long hours to get themselves through college or are studying courses with high fail rates are more likely to have to resit an exam.
Failing an exam can mean that you have to repeat that entire module the following year or semester on top of the modules for that semester. This can put undue pressure on students and lower their overall results for that year. If outside pressures are affecting those students’ grades, these may only continue to interfere with their grades as they attempt to do more modules than is usually required in a year. The student may then have to repeat even more modules the following year, or semester, which could force them to take a year out. Some students end up being unable to graduate with their class as they have to repeat more modules.
The cost of each €230 exam resit adds up and extra years of study are not covered by so-called ‘free fees.’ Furthermore, if the module that was failed is not a core module, the student can take on a different module of the same stage and credits. This would be most common in Arts as Arts courses offer the most possibilities for this. However, this costs a lot more than a simple repeat. According to the UCD website, taking a substitute module starts at €468.84 for students of Arts, Social Science, Law, and Business. The cost is higher for students of Engineering, Architecture, Science, and Agricultural and Food Science, higher again for students of Health Sciences, and highest for students of Veterinary Medicine at a maximum of €812.50 per module. Some courses have so few optional modules that students would not have this option.
While the emotional cost of repeats is difficult for the university to adjust, the university can make resit fees cheaper so that a student only has to consider if they would be able to pass a module the second time and not if they can afford it. It is not fair to have students who are working extra jobs and doing longer courses (which already cost more) supplying the university with over a million euro in resit fees while it could not seem to muster up enough money to build its own running track.