A Guide to Failed Assignments & Re-submissions

As once noted by UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill, “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm”. While this statement is true in many situations, there exist many spheres where poor results can substantially disrupt your movement towards your goals or even stop you in your tracks completely. In academia, students are usually focused on the things they need to do to secure future success. However, all of these measures do not necessarily protect you from failures since the educational process is a path of trial and error and you will surely face both ups and downs.

In this article, we will analyse the steps you need to take in the case of failed examinations, coursework assignments, dissertations, resit exams, and resubmissions. While most students prefer to not talk about such topics, shutting your eyes and fears to ignore some threats is the worst type of risk management. The following sections will help you develop a Plan B for any academic failure in order to minimise possible damage and get you back on the right track as soon as possible.

Dissertation and Coursework Failures

What Happens if You Fail Your Dissertation

Many students are extremely concerned with a threatening question they frequently ask their tutors, “What happens if I fail my dissertation?”. If your thesis has failed to be unique and strong enough to earn a pass mark, you will be given a second chance to resubmit it. While dissertation failures are rarer than essay or coursework failures, they are more devastating for the affected students. If you feel lost and overwhelmed at the moment, the following ‘to-do’ list can help you regain control over your academic progress and prepare for the new submission more effectively.

Observe the Formalities

Most universities require you to get a 12-month extension for the resubmission of a failed dissertation and to pay applicable re-submission fees. Complete these procedures as soon as possible to ensure that your Time Limit Extension form has been approved. Do not proceed with re-writing your dissertation before you have obtained explicit permission to proceed with these activities.

Find the Key Failure Antecedents

In many cases, the examiners’ report reveals many problems in your work that you were not aware of (hence, the failure). While the scope of the required changes may seem overwhelming, you need to pinpoint the most critical issues. For example, your dissertation may have had a high Turnitin percentage showing its similarity to some prior works, your research questions were not addressed properly or your whole work was too descriptive.

Collect Feedback

If possible, contact your supervisor or the examiners to receive additional feedback in person. Preferably, this step should be taken after the previous one to make your meeting more informative. This way, you can discuss specific problems of your work, offer multiple improvement strategies, and get a confirmation of your overall re-submission course from the assessors.

Plan Your Progress

Any complex project requires thorough planning and students avoiding this step frequently make two popular mistakes. Some of them think that 12 months is a very long time and procrastinate as a result. Others start early but focus too much on some problematic elements of their dissertations ignoring the remaining ones until it is too late. In both cases, the resulting theses do not demonstrate a radical improvement in all areas of criticism and have high risks of failure.

Do Not Ignore Your Problems

If you have made some of the mistakes described in the previous step, you may realise that you are falling behind the earlier designed schedule. The key principle of success is to not ignore such problems. They will not simply go away and you will not be able to catch up later since the pre-submission phase usually brings even more force majeure factors.

If Lost, Prioritise

When you have to complete more work than it is humanly possible without a set timeline, you need to change your overall strategy or your priorities. The first option is to ask for extensions (most universities can grant you up to 3 additional months to complete your re-submission draft). The second one is to identify the most crucial problems and focus on them while ignoring minor corrections. Ask yourself a question, “How bad does a dissertation have to be to fail?”. This will allow you to define a ‘minimum viable product’ for future submission and prioritise the most crucial spheres.

Failed Coursework: Everything You Need to Know

Getting a fail mark on your university coursework can be devastating. If you have put a lot of effort into your submission, this information can leave you overwhelmed and senseless. However, most universities allow you to resubmit a failed coursework, which is exactly what you should concentrate your attention on right now. By reacting to this situation immediately, you will immensely increase your chances of fixing the problem and avoiding harsh penalties.

Here is everything you need to know about resubmitting coursework at university

Is Retaking a Coursework Really Your Best Option?

Resitting coursework may seem like a minor inconvenience to some students. However, this activity is associated with a lot of extra work that needs to be performed with some ultimate purpose in mind. If you have problems with multiple failures within your current course and your course grades do not seem bright, retaking your coursework may not magically solve all of these problems. In these circumstances, retaking the whole year may be a better option for some students.

Therefore, consider what is best for your study and the possible grades you can achieve. You should also account for the extra workloads associated with coursework rewriting. If they will interfere with your new academic workloads or personal obligations, retaking the whole year may be a better option.

When Should You Resubmit Your Coursework?

Each university has different policies surrounding resubmissions. Generally, they can take place during the summer period or during your next academic year. The first option may be preferable due to the aforementioned issue of overlapping academic workloads. However, you may not always have a choice in this matter since these provisions are determined by your university.

If you retake during your next year, make sure that you are managing your time and attending all extra classes to improve your grade as much as possible.

Will You Encounter Capped Grade Issues?

The majority of resits (usually excluding those with mitigating circumstances) will have a capped grade of 40%. Yes, this means you will only achieve a pass for that coursework (but you should still not take it as a sign to only put minimal work into it).

Learn more about this cap (of the lack thereof) to ensure that the resulting number of credits substantiates the extra effort and actually allows you to continue your academic journey afterwards.

Appraise the Costs of Resubmitting Your Coursework

Do not forget that resubmitting your coursework is never free. Usually, there is a fee that you must pay for the remarking and additional academic work associated with the resubmission of your coursework. Make sure that you pay it right after learning about your failure to win more time.

What if I Plagiarised?

Unfortunately, plagiarism can have serious consequences such as your suspension or a ban from your course. If you are permitted to resubmit your coursework in these circumstances, take this as a rare chance. This still involves creating a new and 100% original piece, which may be extremely challenging for many students.

Ultimately, the best thing to do is to put your all into your work from the beginning. A failed coursework is usually a result of many prior strategic issues such as not seeking external help when needed. In addition to resubmission, there also exists an appeal option that we will discuss in the following section.

University Appeals for failed work

How to Appeal a Grade If You Didn’t Achieve the Grade You Hoped For

The day of exam results is a mix of happy smiles and disappointed faces. While some students fail in their attempts to get a pass, others are devastated by not acing their grades and getting maximum scores. In both situations, you usually have two possible solutions. While resubmission discussed earlier allows you to retake your coursework while getting penalised in terms of capped grades, you also have a second option that may not have these limitations. If you believe that there has been a mistake in marking your work, you can appeal to the examination board. This allows you to review the decision or awarded mark on the basis of personal circumstances influencing your performance or your claims of biased or inaccurate appraisal of your submission.

The process of applying for an appeal can be separated into four steps

Identify the Appeal Deadline

Firstly, you should ascertain the time frame to submit an appeal. This will vary depending on the universities’ procedures, which you will find on their website. In most cases, the countdown for appeal deadlines starts from the date of the publication of the results.

Should You File a Complaint or an Appeal?

Next, you should differentiate between whether you want to appeal against a result or make a complaint against it. The procedures for the second option range from an informal conciliation to a formal investigation with a hearing. Complaints usually target some aspects of academic procedures such as teaching methods or examination organisation. It may be reasonable to consult with your university student services to identify whether your claims match the criteria for an appeal or a complaint.

Submit the Appeal

As soon as you have clarified your line of argument, you need to write and submit the appeal. Attach any evidence backing your claims and try to describe the events in chronological order to increase your chances of success.

Obtain an Appeal Completion Letter

The final step is to obtain a receipt or a procedure completion document, signed by the University authority, regarding the appeal. Be sure to check that you’ve filled in all the details accurately.

Depending on the outcomes of your appeal consideration, you may get a grade adjustment reflected in your final report card or get a formal rejection. In the second case, you may need to discuss potential further actions with the Head of the Office of Student Services of your university.

Most Common Reasons Why Your Academic Appeal Might Be Rejected  

While academic appeal letters are accepted by most universities, a large share of them gets rejected by appeal committees. Knowing the most common causes for this outcome is a good way to minimise the possibility of its occurrence. Below you will find five primary factors leading to the non-acceptance of academic appeals.

Lack of Validation

If you claim that your academic performance was affected by some circumstances of personal nature or force majeure circumstances, your best option is to provide substantial evidence confirming your statements. Documents from hospitals, official authorities or other reliable third parties may convince the committee to give you a second chance. However, you need to prove that you could not provide this evidence earlier within the scope of the Exceptional Circumstances procedure.

Wrong Focus

In most cases, you cannot appeal against the judgement of the examiners. Submitted coursework assignments, examination papers, and essays are usually revised by multiple markers to minimise the possibility of biased or unfair appraisals. Your letter of appeal must only focus on the circumstances that can be appealed in accordance with university regulations. Other non-appealable factors include employment-related factors, financial problems, housing issues, visa-related issues, and family problems.

Failure to Meet the Deadlines

Most universities have established deadlines specifying the earliest and latest dates for submitting academic appeals. The general rule of thumb is to not submit one before the results of an examination have been announced even if you expect failure. Consult academic staff members or a lawyer specialising in this sphere to make your letter of appeal conformant to all best practices and regulatory provisions.

Poor Past Performance

If your performance throughout the semesters preceding the academic failure had been mediocre and you have a history of academic misconduct, substance abuse or violations of applicable codes of conduct, the committee may choose to decline your appeal. Your best option in this situation is to write a quality letter of appeal where you accept the responsibility for your past mistakes and provide a clear plan for future improvement. However, you must provide a well-defined strategy for remedying your underperformance to convince committee members.

Unsupported Claims

Your letter of appeal must never contain any false or misleading information that cannot be supported by trustworthy evidence. This is especially important for situations where you refer to procedural errors or biased judgements of the examiners. If you cannot support these statements with appropriate evidence, it may be better to refer to your own faults and minimise potential points of conflict. You need to be extremely polite and respectful in your letter and only use the relevant grounds for appeal if you want to succeed.

The best way to avoid rejection is to write your letter of appeal in the most professional manner. Our appeals and re-submission service experts can help you to maximise the chances of a positive outcome in the case of appealing your marks. We have already helped hundreds of students from multiple universities in re-writing their failed works and maintaining their academic progress.

How to Plan and Write a Re-Sit Assignment or Re-Submission

So, the results of your coursework or examination have been announced and they turned out to be worse than you expected. While this can make you feel depressed and lost, right now you need to concentrate on building a response plan. Most universities allow you to revert this failure and resubmit or resit your assignment if you act promptly and comply with their university resubmission policy. One of the most popular questions asked to our appeals and resubmission experts is, “Can you appeal if you failed your dissertation?”. Here are some tips on how to maximise your chances of success when planning and writing a re-sit assignment or re-submission.   

Discuss the Situation with Your Tutor

Your primary goal is to learn why you failed a particular assignment and what exactly should be done to eliminate its deficiencies. Many students adhere to the guesswork approach due to personal fears and fail for the second time due to not understanding existing dissertation resubmission policies. Keep in mind that your tutor may be the only person possessing the relevant information in this situation. They can also inform you about the scope of your problems and the key knowledge gaps that you need to eliminate.

Act Promptly

Make a plan of action and do not waste time. Some staff members involved in the appeal, re-sit, and re-submission procedures have non-matching office hours. Tutors suddenly fall ill. The sooner you understand what needs to be done and submit all the required documentation, the sooner you can start your preparation. You must also identify if your university has any restrictions on the marks you can get when re-submitting your work. These factors will directly influence your choice of preparation strategies.

Make Reasonable Estimations

Overconfidence is the second most popular reason for academic failure after guesswork. As soon as you have clarified the key deficiencies of your failed assignment, you need to appraise your capabilities to realise them within the set deadlines. If you are nervous about the risk of a second failure, you can contact our professional appeals and re-submission service to see how you can improve the quality of your re-submission. We can also create examination notes based on your course materials to speed up your preparation for resitting your exam.

Use Networking

In many cases, the discussion of your assignment with students may reveal additional facts that were not mentioned by your tutor. You can also cooperate in making new notes, discussing your findings, and simply supporting each other to minimise fears and self-doubts. Also, try to get help from your family and roommates so that you could prepare for your re-sit assignment or re-submission without distractions.

Stick to the Plan

To succeed with your re-sit or re-submission, you must strictly follow the earlier developed plan. Many students are distracted by other academic goals or excessively focus on specific parts of lecture materials ignoring the overall perspective. You need to maintain a balanced approach in order to succeed and improve your mark.

university library

What to Do If Your Appeal Is Rejected

As noted earlier, many appeals are rejected by universities, which leads to the need for re-submissions or restarting your annual course. Below, we will consider 5 main recommendations related to this outcome.

Do Not Panic

The first thing to keep in mind is the fact that this is a regular situation that should not cause panic. While this is an exhausting experience, your focus should be shifted towards your further response strategy rather than your feelings in the moment.

Act Promptly

An unsuccessful appeal should be followed by new ones as soon as possible to maximise your chances of getting a positive outcome. Learn more about the available procedures in terms of internal university procedures as well as external escalation options.

Define Your Expectations

Unrealistic expectations frequently cause appeal rejections. While your claims may be extremely persuasive, asking your university to resit an exam or resubmit your assignment for the second time may be against its official policies. Make sure that your demands are substantiated and reasonable.

Identify Your Dispute Escalation Readiness

If your university does not consider your appeal well-substantiated and you are 100% certain that your claims are valid, you can escalate your appeal to a higher external agency such as the Office of the Independent Adjudicator in the UK.

Get a Second Opinion

If your first attempt to protect your rights failed, you need to really invest in your second one to succeed. Contacting an external lawyer or a quality appeals and re-submission service may be a good idea to get professional recommendations and increase your chances.

What to Do If You Fail a Resubmission

While most students tend to ‘ignore the negative possibilities’, we always advise them to investigate all possible outcomes. Knowing what to do when the whole world around you fails gives you a sense of inner strength since you are aware of the options before you and maintain control over the situation. If you do not know what happens if you fail a resubmission, here are 5 things you need to do if you fail a coursework resubmission or dissertation resubmission.

Assess the Situation

In most cases, a second failure leads to the need to retake a whole academic year. However, a failure in some elective courses may still allow you to progress with your studies if you have a lot of credit points from other subjects. Try to keep your head cool and assess the situation realistically.

Appraise Your Plans

Any failure inevitably disrupts your well-laid plans. As soon as you have appraised the situation you got into, you need to evaluate how these new changes affect your long-term goals. If you have to retake a whole year, this usually requires additional funding and a number of difficult conversations. Outline the steps you need to take and potential adjustments to your academic and career plans.

Think about the Reasons

If you failed at something as major as a coursework assignment resubmission or a dissertation resubmission, this outcome was clearly determined by some major antecedents. Before you criticise yourself for being lazy or untalented, make sure that you perform an accurate revision of all factors that led to this situation. If you do not realise why you failed twice, you may be missing some crucial systemic issues that must be eliminated before you choose to make another attempt.

Choose the Optimal Course

The first three points should provide you with sufficient insights to build a realistic ‘escape plan’. Write down specific steps you need to take such as discussing the need to retake a year with your university officials and family members. Preferably, try to also account for all resources you will require as well as specific documents, conversations or expenses associated with these activities.

Take a Break

If you fail a resubmission, chances are you have run out of options for the time being. Any major steps you have to take will probably occur several weeks from now. When you have completed all official arrangements, you may need to give yourself a break. Even if you have not succeeded in realising your academic goals, you are still exhausted by these attempts and need to take care of yourself.


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