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Exams & assessment

Most courses at Aston are made up of modules of study.  Modules are assessed using different assessment methods such as exams (sometimes called class tests) practicals, presentations and coursework.  The marks from your assessments are used for your module mark.  You may receive marks and feedback for assessments from your tutors throughout the year but these marks are not formal until they have been considered by an Exam Board.  For undergraduate students, this normally happens at the end of the academic year.  For postgraduate students it is a little more complicated and will depend on your course but an Exam Board might meet at the end of every term or teaching period. 

You can find further information about Exam Boards and Exam Board decisions in the General Regulations.  

Your school can consider any Exceptional Circumstances which have affected your studies.  Exceptional Circumstances are events or problems which you did not expect and which stop you being able to perform to the best of your abilities in your studies. If you have Exceptional Circumstances then you will need to complete and Exceptional Circumstances form.   If you have long term problems which affect your studies you should always let your school know.  You may be able to access some additional support from the University’s Disability Team. 

You can find more information in the Student Guide to Exceptional Circumstances.

It is your choice whether or not you attend an exam.  If you attend an exam then you are saying to the University that you are fit and well enough to take the Exam.  If you are unable to sit an exam then you must tell your school as soon as possible.  You will also need to complete an Exceptional Circumstances and Absence form to explain what happened.  

You can find more information about Exceptional Circumstances in the Students' Guide to Exceptional Circumstances.  

Penalties are normally applied to coursework which is handed in late.  The later you submit your work, the more marks you will lose.  If your coursework is very late you may not get any marks at all!  If there have been unexpected problems or issues which have caused you to submit your coursework late then you should complete an Exceptional Circumstances and Absence form. 

You can find more information about Exceptional Circumstances in the Student Guide to Exceptional Circumstances.

If you are undergraduate student and not in your final year then you can normally be allowed a maximum of 3 attempts to pass a module.  If you are a final year undergraduate student or you are a postgraduate student on a taught programme, you can normally be allowed a maximum of 2 attempts to pass a module.  Your results will be considered by an Exam Board which will decided what you need to do about any assessments you have failed.

You can find further information about Exam Boards and Exam Board decisions in the General Regulations.  

If your results are very poor then the Exam Board may be concerned that you cannot continue with your course.  If you are an undergraduate student, you may be asked to withdraw.  If you are a postgraduate student you may be asked to withdraw or you may be awarded a lower qualification.  You have the right to respond to this before the Exam Board makes its final decision.  You can do this in writing and/or by attending a meeting with the Exam Board.  Staff at the Advice & Representation Centre in the Students’ Guild can help you write your representations and can often go to the Exam Board meeting with you.  You can contact the Advice & Representation Centre on 0121 204 4848 or by email at arc@aston.ac.uk. 

If you have received an Exam Board decision and are unhappy with the outcome then you may wish to make an Academic Appeal.  You have 14 days (including Saturday and Sunday) from the date you received the Exam Board decision to appeal.

Staff at the Advice & Representation Centre in the Students’ Guild can help you with your Academic Appeal  You can contact the Advice & Representation Centre on 0121 204 4848 or by email at arc@aston.ac.uk. 

You can find information about this in the Academic Appeals pages of the University website.  

It depends on what course you are studying and what the Exam Board has decided it wants you to do.  You do not normally need to pay extra for exams or assessments taken during the referred exam period. 

If you are an undergraduate student repeating with attendance then you will normally only pay for the modules you are repeating.  You can calculate this by dividing your annual tuition fee by 12 (the number of modules you would take in a normal year.) This will give you the cost for one module.  You then need to multiply this by the number of modules you are repeating (remember 20 credit modules count as 2 modules.)

If you an undergraduate student repeating without attendance then you will normally only have to pay the cost of one module. You can calculate this by dividing your annual tuition fee by 12 (the number of modules you would take in a normal year.)

For postgraduate students it is a little more complicated and may depend on the course you are studying.  You may find that you do not need to pay fees for your repeat studies but you should contact your school for further information. 

You can find more information about Tuition Fees in the Tuition Fees Charging Policy which is in the Regulations and Policies part of the University website.

If you qualify for an Aston Bursary then the amount you receive will be based on the number of modules you are repeating.  If you cannot get a Maintenance Grant through Student Finance England then you will not qualify for an Aston Bursary.

You must tell SFE that you will be repeating your studies.  You can do this by logging into your online account with SFE and making changes to your course details.  An adviser in The Hub Advice Zone can help you with this and you can arrange an appointment by calling 0121 204 4007. 

If you will be repeating your studies without attendance then you will not be able to receive grants and loans during your repeat year.  You may be able to find some part time work but most students are not able to claim benefits during this time. 

If you are repeating with attendance then you may be able to receive grants and loans.  All students who can access student funding from the UK government can normally receive funding for the ordinary length of their course plus one extra year.  Any years that you have previously studied at Aston or elsewhere or any repeat years of study are taken into account and can reduce the number of years you can be funded for.   Even if you have only attended 1 day, it is counted as a whole year.  

If it will now only take you one year longer than normal to complete your studies, you will use up your extra year of funding.  If you have already had to repeat a year or if you have previously studied at another university then you then you may find that you cannot get help with your tuition fees or the grant for part of your course.  This will be applied to the earlier years of your course and your funding entitlement will be saved for the later years of your course. Exceptions can be made for students who have compelling personal reasons for needing to repeat their studies.

If you are in the UK with a student visa then missing exams or assessments or failing and repeating your studies can have serious implications and you should seek advice from one of our International Student Advisers.   Aston University has to monitor your attendance and progress and may be obliged to report any problems to the UK Border Agency.  It is very important that you contact your school to explain why you cannot attend an exam or submit an assessment. If you have failed and it will now take longer for you to complete your studies then you may need to extend your student visa.  You can contact an International Student Adviser on 0121 204 4567 or by calling The Hub Advice Zone on 0121 204 4007.

Last checked and updated 10 April 2013 GB

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