Results day – it's equal parts exciting as it is terrifying.
While many OU students will have been celebrating their incredible exam results this week, understandably not every student would have been joining in those celebrations. Those same students may now be looking at what they can do next, which is why former OU Students Association President Cath Brown (2018-20) shared a fantastic video aimed at providing helpful advice to those whose results may not quite have been what they hoped. Here are the key parts we picked out from the video!
Let's give you a scenario. Say worse came to worst and you see that you've failed your module. While understandably disappointing, it's not the end of the road - as Cath says, in most cases you'll be offered a resit. This can either mean you'll be redoing your EMA (under a new title, generally), or a resit exam. Which one you do is all according to what happened in your original module. Both of these would happen around September - e.g. your EMA would be due then, and the resit exams would occur then also.
While this may seem daunting at first, don't worry - any support you may need is but a click away. Useful resources can generally be found on the module forums, and for those needing extra support, you can contact the Student Support team who would be more than happy to arrange a 1 to 1 session with a tutor for you.
The only downside to doing a resit that you should be aware of, however, is that the grade would be capped - meaning you couldn't achieve any higher than a Pass 4. This is unless you had extenuating circumstances (e.g. bad things going on in your life that stopped you from being able to pass) which might allow you to do an uncapped resit. It's certainly worth asking!
2 Redo the entire module again next year
The next option for you, as described by Cath, is to redo the entire module again. Having to do the entire module again from scratch might seem a bit disheartening at first, but there are actually a number of benefits!
The first to be aware of that, unlike resits, your grade wouldn't be capped - you could walk away next year with a Distinction! Sounds pretty nice, right?
There's no need to worry about the cost, either. Student Finance in England goes up to 480 credits in total, so it could cover the cost for you.
Asides from the added workload, there's no real downside to retaking the entire module again. Certainly a good option for those looking to give it another go!
3 Do a completely different module instead
Cath's third suggestion is to consider doing a completely different module instead (if your degree allows it).
Perhaps you looked at your results and thought "why on Earth did I put myself through that?" Well, then, this is the option for you! If your degree allows options, too, then that's something you could do as well.
Sometimes a fresh start never hurts and can open up more possibilities.
4 Check the actual effect it will have on your degree classification
The fourth suggestion by Cath is actually one of reassurance. While disappointing results can certainly be upsetting, you might find that it actually won't stop you from getting the degree classification that you want! Often, there are cases where a student achieving a grade slightly below what they wanted hasn't stopped them from achieving their dream classification in the end. You might be screaming "well, how do I check that?" Fortunately, it's pretty simple!
There are two ways notably how you can go about checking your predicted classification. The first thing you can do is by utilising the Open University's own classification documents which you can find in the Help Centre. Secondly, you can use an online service called 'Cleveret'. As said by Cath, it's not official, but it's never been known to be wrong.
It's definitely worth checking either of these services to help reassure you that one disappointing result may not affect your chances of achieving that final degree classification you've studied so hard for. While it won't stop you feeling disappointed, it might mean you'll find out the consequences aren't as bad as you thought.
5 Switch degrees to something like the Open Degree
Perhaps the most drastic suggestion, but maybe you're now just thinking "you know, maybe this degree isn't for me" - well, fortunately, there are options for you too!
One suggestion by Cath is to switch to the Open Degree. The Open Degree is The Open University's most flexible degree programme, offering you the chance to study any subjects you like in any combination. It essentially allows you to build a qualification that is not only unique to you, but is flexible around your lifestyle. If you'd like to find out more, you can read more about the Open Degree here.
But that's just one suggestion - and there are definitely more options out there for you. Don't forget you can always contact Student Support to get more help.
6 Appeal your grade
The last suggestion by Cath is one that will likely only affect a small number of students, however is equally important. If you receive your results and notice something noticeably wrong about it (such as missing marks on a question you know you did, or if your TMA mark hasn't been counted, etc.) then you can appeal your grade.
Now, the Open University has quite limited criteria to appeal - which, as Cath points out, is the same as other universities too. It's all about submitting concrete evidence that there is definitely something wrong with your grade. Unfortunately, as much as we'd all love to, you can't appeal just because you feel you deserve a better grade!
7 Don't worry!
Regardless of what result you may have got, it's definitely not the end of the world. You can still go on and succeed, and there are plenty of options out there to help you do so! It's just one small blip on your Open University journey - so as Cath says, try not to worry too much!