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A young Black male student sitting an exam at university, smiling as he gazes out of the window

A university student’s guide to resit exams

This article will outline why a student might need to take resit exams and explain how resit exams occur — including when the exams will happen, when results are published, and how many times a student can resit.

Also, the article will include what happens if a student misses or fails a resit exam.

Most university students know nothing about resit exams until they’re in the position of needing to take one, so this article is designed to answer all of the questions you might have at any stage of your university course.

We’ll begin by outlining what a resit exam is and when you might take one, followed by further details you need to know.

What is a resit exam?

Close-up of a university exam desk, while a female student sits the exam

A resit exam is an opportunity to sit an assessment again; in most cases (unless stated otherwise when you sign up for it), the mark you achieve in your resit exam will automatically replace the mark in your first attempt — even if it’s lower.

Resist exams tend to be offered only to students who have failed an assessment.

For this reason, you must try your best in the first exam, as you will often not be able to retake it unless you fail it completely.

For example, if you achieve 50/100 but wanted 60/100, you won’t be offered a resit if 50/100 is still a pass.

If you had mitigating circumstances when you first sat the exam — for example, personal problems that affected your exam performance — you might also be entitled to resit your exam. Still, this decision will be made by your school of study on a case-by-case basis.

How do I organise a resit exam?

If you have failed an exam or assessment, your school will usually contact you, offering you the opportunity to resit.

If your school doesn’t contact you, you must contact them as soon as possible to let them know you would like to sit the exam again.

What happens when you resit an exam?

Once you have booked a resit, the university will contact you with the date of your examination. The dates aren’t usually released before you book, unfortunately, although your school may tell you the month in advance.

So, it is best not to make any plans that involve leaving Leeds until you have been given your resit date.

If the resit is for a final module of your degree, then the university may delay your graduation until your final results are received.

On the exam day, you turn up as usual to the exam location and sit your exam in test conditions.

You will then receive your results in due course.

How much does a resit cost?

A close-up view of a student's desk while they sit an exam at university

Unlike your initial exams, you will need to pay to sit a resit exam.

The cost will vary between universities, but, as an example, the University of Leeds currently charges £2 per credit and an administration fee of £50 per resit.

If you miss the deadline to apply for your resit, there will be an additional fee to pay on top of the standard resit fees.

What happens if you fail a resit exam at university?

Each university and department differs on its resit rules, but often you can only resit an exam once at university.

This can vary depending on the year you began your course, so check this with your school.

If you fail a resit, you will need to speak to your school of study immediately to find out what can be done regarding your degree progress.

If the module is compulsory, you will need a pass to progress — so, if you fail the resit, you may not be able to continue with your course. If you want to discuss this with someone externally, your student union will be happy to help.

If the module is elective, you may complete the year without a pass in that module as long as you have a certain number of credits overall. Please bear in mind, though, that this could affect your final degree classification.

Again, if there were mitigating circumstances when you took the exam (for example, illness that affected your performance), you should bring that up with your school of study. Please note that you will be expected to provide proof, though.

What happens if you miss a resit exam?

Missing a resit exam isn’t recommended, but sometimes it can’t be helped — if you are unwell, for example, or if you’ve been bereaved.

Whatever the reason behind you missing your resit exam, you must contact your school of study as soon as possible (before the exam, ideally) and provide proof — such as a Fit Note from a doctor or a copy of a death certificate.

If you don’t have an acceptable reason for missing your resit exam — you forgot to set your alarm for that morning, for example — your school of study may not be as understanding.

Information specific to your university

An Asian female student studying for her exams at home with her laptop and notepad

Follow the links below to learn more about resits at your university.

The University of Leeds

Information on resits at the University of Leeds.

Leeds Beckett University

Information on resits at Leeds Beckett University.

Leeds Trinity University

Please speak to your school of study for further information.

For more information on university examinations and assessments, please take a look at our top tips for exam season and our blog post on plagiarism.

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