By Sophie Kavanagh
A repeat exam is, undoubtedly, every student’s nightmare. Not only a summer cut short, but an irritating dread looming over you throughout. Not to mention the €295 fee. There is much conflict as to whether this fee is fair. For the trying student, I struggle to encourage the implementation of the fee. As we all know, anyone can be subject to a bad day in an exam, no matter how prepared you are. You cannot control a splitting headache, or stomach pain, that then hinders your performance. Perhaps €295 for this completely uncontrolled circumstance is quite harsh. Student life, as we all know, is expensive enough as it is and €295 is not a cheap sum. I’m sure it’s not readily available for most people, making it an additional financial stress. I think for the genuine, legitimate fail, where every effort was made to avoid it, the fee is a very bitter pill to swallow. It can feel belittling, a scold or punishment, for something that your ability, at the time, couldn’t help, despite your every attempt and could ultimately lead to discouragement and low self-esteem.
But what does it mean for the non-tryer student? Here is where I see the benefit of the fee as an incentive. As mentioned above, the repeat exam is undesirably detrimental to the students summer, so inevitably, it may kick-start some (albeit, indirect) enthusiasm into their studies, if only to pass, which is all that is required, as well as the potential burnt hole in their wallet. So for the students who fail uncaringly, I do believe the fee is an asset into forcing them to take the exams more seriously. Although, there is only so much action a college can take to ensure their students strive and excel in their course, such as a repeat fee. The student has to take the responsibility for their education and if a push is needed, this is the perfect one.
What is the solution? How do we find a fair balance between the two basic types of fails, the legit fail and the uncaring fail? I think we would struggle to find one that suits every single type of fail, but, coming off the back of personal experience and thought, I believe one distribution of financial grace should be granted per student, per fail. One opportunity for benefit of the doubt. It is vital in college, where you’re constantly in a state of growth and development, that your efforts, no matter how big or small, successful or unsuccessful, are not torn down. Although this solution seems favourable towards the legitimate fails, and it probably is, it is giving way to those who genuinely want to learn and improve, minus the punishment, thereby also giving the uncaring fails the chance to change into the student type behind the legitimate fails to put the work in. The repeat exams are a stressful time, and I can say with confidence, academic epiphany or not, the whole experience will be enough to ensure that, for their next exams, students will indeed put time into their studies, so as to not have a ‘repeat’ experience.