The Unofficial Guide to Repeat Exams
1. So, you’ve just received some disappointing news, but try not to be too heartbroken. It’s going to be okay. 1 in 3 people in the course will have a repeat exam at some point so it’s nothing to be worried or embarrassed about. As the great Kanye West once said “That ,that don’t kill me can only make me stronger” . Most people do fine in the repeats and it’s all forgotten about come September, but even if it’s not- its important just to consider the whole situation as a minor setback in the journey to becoming a doctor. It’s happened many people before, and will happen many again. Try to accept it, learn from it and use it to make you a better student. (All much easier said than done, but the sun will still rise the next day whether you pass or not).
2. Figure out where you went wrong. Is there some aspect of the module you didn't understand? Fall off your bike on the way to the exam? Spend too much time in Electric this semester? This is important to sort out now, so you can avoid making the same mistake again. Spend a day or two figuring out what you need to learn and rank things in order of importance. Do you need to know what an ECG is to pass a CVS exam? Yes (probably). The histology of every single vessel and every single surface ever? Not so much, prioritise.
3. Contact the module lead. Ask for an appointment, and meet them if you can. They may be able to help with the point above. Ask if there are any particular books or websites they can recommend, and also about the structure of the Autumn exam (will there be a practical/will continuous assessment from the first sitting be included etc). Sometimes they might be able to recommend someone they know personally for grinds-a PHD student or a TA. See point 4.
4. The Grinds Register. If you’ve found something very difficult it could be helpful to get someone to explain it in a one on one setting. The SU has a list of tutors offering grinds in a particular subject, so maybe look into a few different options and see if someone’s fee, availability and teaching method would suit you. http://su.nuigalway.ie/help-advice/grinds-register/
5. Find out where you study best. Is this at home, in your local library or in college? Reminder: The college library will have reduced opening hours during the Summer, see the library website for details. Also, your library bf/gf may not be back in August- so campus may not be quite as scenic compared to during the semester.
6. Create a realistic timetable for the next few weeks. Very few people can study productively for 16 hours a day, regardless of how many modules you are repeating. Allow for days off/concerts/weddings. It will be much easier to stay motivated if you have something to look forward to, and you also need to allow for other commitments like work and sleep.
7. Repeat Fee = €300 regardless of whether you have 1 or 10 exams. This might feel like another bitter pill to swallow considering the situation, but they can withhold your results if you don’t pay it. However, if you are really struggling to pay it, sometimes the Fees Office will waiver it, so contact them directly and in plenty of time.
8. Accommodation for the exams. Some people will have kept their houses during the Summer and some people will need somewhere for the duration of their exams. This is not something you should be worrying about the week before the repeats so try and get this sorted once the exam timetable is made available (mid-July). Things to bear in mind when working out how many nights you need will be the time of your exam e.g. it could be hard to make it from Dublin for a 9:30 exam, or there may not be a bus to Waterford after a 4:30 exam. Some people choose to stay in Corrib, but you could also look into hotels or B&Bs near the university. A hostel may not be the best option as if you want a good night’s sleep, as noisy tourists coming in from a night spent in the Hole in the Wall won’t know or care about your Molecular Medicine paper the next morning.(If you are struggling to find somewhere please contact MedSoc- if we get enough numbers we might be able to work out a reduced rate with a B&B or something).
9. Travel/Flights; if you’re flying home from Chicago or Thailand for the repeat exams, remember to leave yourself enough time. Jet-lag means leaving a few days before the exams and also a few days intensive study. This really depends on where you’re flying from.
10. Figure out what you need for the exams the week before the exams. Again, you want the night before to be as stress-free as possible.
- Book the exams and few days prior off work as soon as you have access to your timetable. You don’t have time to worry about this during the exams.
- Meal Prep: either make one dish to freeze for the duration of the exams, or budget buying your dinner every day. Cooking should not be a concern during this time. Also, BREAKFAST.
- CALCULATOR. PEN. SPARE PEN. STUDENT CARD.
- Alarm clock- if you’re not a morning person but you have a 9:30 exam, set the alarm on your phone and also an alarm clock. Have someone call you to make sure you’re up an hour before the exam starts. Nobody wants to repeat a year because they slept through an exam.
- Timetable. Print it out. Check it once. Check it twice. Check the website for location changes. Again, you don’t want to be in the Bailey Allen when you should be in the Kingfisher.
11. Appeals/Rechecks: Sometimes if there was something the university wasn’t aware of when you first sat the module you can file an appeal. There are certain criteria under which appeals can be filed, and there is a fee. They are not always upheld, can take time to hear the result of, and also require documentation to be included e.g. medical certificates. Check the deadline. http://www.nuigalway.ie/exams/appeals/appeals.html
12. Finally, if it all gets a bit too much, please, please talk to someone. It can be a very lonely and stressful time studying during the Summer, but don’t suffer in silence. Contact the free Student Counselling Service at firstname.lastname@example.org or the chaplaincy. But if you need help, please reach out. You are not alone.
Remember: You worked very hard to get here, no exam you sit here is beyond your academic abilities. Even the best doctors fail exams, a failed exam doesn't define you. Best of luck over the next few weeks and if you have any please contact Peggy Miller our education officer.