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Second year fail?

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    Hi there,

    I was just wondering if anyone could offer some advice for a struggling second year student studying a foreign language (want to remain slightly anonymous..). With exams just around the corner I'm getting extremely concerned with failing this year. I'm supposed to be going on a year abroad next year but am SO worried I won't get the 50% mark in my course as I've been so unmotivated this year.

    It says online that you can only progress to honours by getting 50% AT THE FIRST ATTEMPT! Does that mean that if I got, say, 45% I would have to drop out? I'm just so worried and it's seriously making my heart condition a lot worse

    would appreciate it if anyone could help or offe some advice. Thanks
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    (Original post by Alpine)
    Hi there,

    I was just wondering if anyone could offer some advice for a struggling second year student studying a foreign language (want to remain slightly anonymous..). With exams just around the corner I'm getting extremely concerned with failing this year. I'm supposed to be going on a year abroad next year but am SO worried I won't get the 50% mark in my course as I've been so unmotivated this year.

    It says online that you can only progress to honours by getting 50% AT THE FIRST ATTEMPT! Does that mean that if I got, say, 45% I would have to drop out? I'm just so worried and it's seriously making my heart condition a lot worse

    would appreciate it if anyone could help or offe some advice. Thanks
    If you didn't get 50% at the first attempt then they would offer you a place on a non honours course, so you'd graduate with an ordinary degree rather than an honours degree.

    Are you doing any other subjects in 2nd year? Eg: if you don't do okay in your language then what other course options do you have?

    For example, if you were studying German (main degree subject) then 2nd year English language (outside subject carried on from 1st year) and then 1st year sociology (picked up in 2nd year) then ended up getting 45% overall in German and 60% overall in English language they would then normally let you carry on with an English language degree at honours instead.

    Can you speak to your tutor about how you're feeling? They will be able to give you more support based on your performance this year - if they feel you've been working at a solid 2:i standard, for example, it could be that you're worrying about nothing and its just nerves.

    For what its worth pretty much everyone I knew at uni (not just at Edinburgh) got really unmotivated in the second semester of second year. I hit the point of wanting to drop out of uni and it was only my year abroad plans and societies which kept me there. Other people I've spoken to since then have all said the same thing - the end of second year seems to be a really odd point! We all turned out okay in the end and got good degrees etc so whilst I don't know your personal situation, I can say that a lot of people you know will probably be feeling like this.

    Where are you going for your year abroad? How are you feeling about it?
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    (Original post by oxymoronic)
    If you didn't get 50% at the first attempt then they would offer you a place on a non honours course, so you'd graduate with an ordinary degree rather than an honours degree.

    ...

    Where are you going for your year abroad? How are you feeling about it?
    Firstly, thanks so much for such a helpful and lengthy reply.

    I didn't realise they would offer a non-honours degree if I were to fail and this gives me quite a bit of hope (I presume that means a 3-year BA rather than an MA (Hons)?)!

    My attendance has been very poor and I've already met with my tutor and e-mailed my DOS to explain the situation (and that I was struggling). This was a few months back. Unfortunately, I picked up new courses in second-year as my outside subjects so I wouldn't be able to opt to pick them up as a degree course but thanks for suggesting that.

    It's so refreshing to know that other people struggled! I study an Asian language and many of my classmates were lucky enough to do it for GCSE and A-Level so the course does seem slightly more comfortable for them.

    However, do you know if it is really possible for me to do a non-honours degree considering the third year is itself a year abroad? I would of course be devastated if I missed out on going abroad but would rather have to stay here and do a non-honours degree than have to drop out!

    Sorry for the hassle but i do REALLY appreciate your help and advice. Thanks again.
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    (Original post by Alpine)
    Firstly, thanks so much for such a helpful and lengthy reply.

    I didn't realise they would offer a non-honours degree if I were to fail and this gives me quite a bit of hope (I presume that means a 3-year BA rather than an MA (Hons)?)!
    Yeah, as far as I know. The 4th year is the honours part of the degree.

    My attendance has been very poor and I've already met with my tutor and e-mailed my DOS to explain the situation (and that I was struggling). This was a few months back. Unfortunately, I picked up new courses in second-year as my outside subjects so I wouldn't be able to opt to pick them up as a degree course but thanks for suggesting that.
    I'm very surprised that they let you pick two new courses for second year - when I was in 2nd year I remember that my school (PPLS) made everyone continue with at least two second year subjects so that this gave you more options for the honours years. I know its done now so you can't change the situation but I am surprised that they let you do this.

    With what you said about your language, you'll hopefully find that when you're on your year abroad you will grow in confidence. I did languages at A level then continued at uni but I've realised that I'm awful at languages in an academic/examined context as I really panic and get stressed about the exam. I cried during my A level French oral and again in my 1st year Spanish oral I also spend forever comparing myself to everyone else in the class and deciding they're better than me so as a result say very little in tutorials. HOWEVER in a non academic context I'm very linguistic and whenever I've been anywhere for an extended period of time (I've worked abroad etc) I've always learnt the language very quickly. I now teach languages (French and Spanish) and I think I'm a better teacher because of the fact I've struggled with formal language learning as it helps me to break down barriers and get the kids using the language in social/informal ways rather than like traditional learning methods.

    However, do you know if it is really possible for me to do a non-honours degree considering the third year is itself a year abroad? I would of course be devastated if I missed out on going abroad but would rather have to stay here and do a non-honours degree than have to drop out!

    Sorry for the hassle but i do REALLY appreciate your help and advice. Thanks again.
    I think that you would be put onto "general" degree programme so you'd graduate with a general degree but a specialism within that (so Asian studies) - the information is here: http://www.drps.ed.ac.uk/12-13/dpt/drps_hss.htm. You'd still have to have passed all of your courses in second year but it would be at 40% rather than 50% required for honours. However, I don't think that they would let you do a year abroad although I honestly don't know on that one because your year abroad often doesn't count towards anything anyway so you could theoretically have a year out and then come back to do fourth year as the general year... but I honestly don't know. You'll have to speak to someone within your department as I imagine there will be slightly different rules for languages students due to the year abroad element. This is worth doing before exams so you're clear on everything whilst you're still in Edinburgh and can speak to people, but don't dwell on it too much or let it side track you from your revision.

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