Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free to post

In need of advice/reassurance - have to retake 2nd year

Announcements Posted on
TSR's new app is coming! Sign up here to try it first >> 17-10-2016
REMINDER: Do not post your personal statement on TSR, otherwise you may have to rewrite it from scratch. Click here for more info. 12-10-2016
    • Thread Starter

    Hi everyone,

    This is a long and difficult post to make. *

    Basically I failed a resit for a module I had special considerations for, as my grandmother had encephalitis in January when I sat the module for the first time. I didn't apply for special considerations at the time but I appealed the result and the Board of Examiners allowed me to take the exam during the supplementary exam period in the summer, with my mark to be uncapped. I thought everything was going well - I got the chance to retake the exam without it being capped at the pass mark and I thought I would definitely pass (as I had only missed out by 3% the first time I took it). The really annoying thing about this situation is that I actually passed all of my other modules quite well - including obtaining 70% in one paper.*

    I've had a couple of other problems as well, some of which were related to what I went through earlier in the year, and consequently I've made the decision to go through counselling for these problems.

    At my medical school, when you do a repeat year all of the assessments have to be retaken and your marks are capped at the pass mark. As a result, you only have one shot during the year to pass everything (no summer resits allowed) otherwise your programme will be terminated. I'm currently thinking of making an appeal to the Board of Examiners, to allow me to resit the year as if for the first time, so that if anything does go wrong again I have the chance to retake next summer. I'm also worried about how a resit year with all my marks capped at the pass mark will affect my decile ranking.

    What I would like to know from you guys is how will a repeat year potentially affect my job prospects and future career in medicine? I'm interested and have been involved in research and I know that it is probably a long shot now but I'm keen to pursue an academic career.
    Has anyone been through a similar situation and come out the other side in a better position?*
    I'm also worried about having to leave my cohort and drop to the year below where people will probably judge me because I failed. I'm also nervous about telling my friends and fellow classmates in my current year, as being a mature student, people used to look up to me for advice and help with things but now they probably won't give me the light of day.

    I've come back home for the next few weeks as 2nd year doesn't start until the end of September, but I'm literally still in shock right now and can't stop thinking about how I f****d up my life. Thankfully my mum is quite supportive but I haven't been able to bring myself to tell anyone else in my family yet. I'm apprehensive about living with my current housemates as they are all now in 3rd year and telling them this whole situation is just going to be embarrassing (especially since I haven't confided in any of them previously) plus I will have to face them every day.

    Any helpful comments/advice would be greatly appreciated.*


    Hold your head high and don't be ashamed. *You worked hard. *You had some difficult circumstances. *You failed a module resit. *It happens, even though people don't talk about it very much. *It really is not the end of the world, even though it might feel like it right now. *You have not messed up your life. *I hope your housemates are supportive when you tell them. *Each year further that you go through med school, you will find it becomes more and more a melting pot of different cohorts - people repeat a year, take time out, intercalate, etc etc - everyone has different circumstances and at the end of the day it really doesn't matter. *

    Try not to worry about academic rankings at this stage. *During my six and a half years of med school (I messed some things up too and also intercalated) the assessment / application system for FY1 changed beyond all recognition several times over. *it's therefore hard to know what they'll want in 4+ years' time. * I didn't do academic training, but when I applied for FY1 we were ranked by quartiles rather than deciles, and despite ending up in the 4th quartile, I got a very good score and got my first choice job which was a reasonably competitive rotation. *

    My experience of dropping down a cohort and telling people that I was resitting, was that people weren't negative / critical. *They were actually grateful for the experience of someone who had already done it once and was a bit more familiar with module requirements etc. *It can be hard walking in and not knowing anyone, but it wasn't a problem.

    If you are thinking about appealing, make sure you check the dates for appeals carefully as deadlines for registering an appeal are normally quite quick after the exam results are released. *

    Try to enjoy this unexpected extra bit of rest time, look after yourself, eat / sleep / do some things that you enjoy, so that you can come back well rested and ready to hit the ground running to do this year. *You can do this - as you said, you were close last time. *Best of luck.*

    You haven't ****ed up your life. It sounds like you had a difficult year and have been caught out by a nasty surprise at the end of it, failing an exam you thought was ok. It's good that you're seeking counselling for your troubles, and will count in your favour in your appeal to the Board of Examiners to allow this year as a first sit, though I'm afraid that I've no idea how likely you are to be successful in that.

    If your housemates are halfway decent people, which you'd kind of hope, being medics and all, they should be supportive of you, and you will make friends in your new year group as well. Maybe send a group e-mail to your housemates so that you can explain the situation without having to do it face to face, if you think that would be easier? As for the new year group, saying something fairly simple like "I had some family problems last year so I'm resitting the year" should answer most enquiries.

    As junior.doctor says, the ranking systems for job selection have changed several times, so it's impossible to say what will be happening by the time you apply. Obviously redoing a year, especially if your marks are capped, will affect your decile, but there's still room with the SJT and potentially intercalating (though I don't know if your uni would allow you that after a resit year) to improve your score. And even if you don't get on an AFP and/or ACF, it's still possible to do research in various ways!

    Good luck

    I'm sorry to hear about your crappy year- sounds like you've had a really tough time. I know that it feels catastrophic right now, but it really is largely inconsequential in the long run. As Helenia and junior.doctor have pointed out, it is surprisingly common how many people have had to repeat years for a multitude of reasons and as the years go by in medical school and people intercalate, GEM students merge in, you split off to various hospital groups, people fail, get pregnant, get sick, have various personal catastrophies the year groups mix up and the cohort you graduate with barely resembles the cohort you entered with and nobody really cares/remembers what your particular set of circumstances were.

    Deciles are quite important for FY applications at present, however as others have pointed out they can be migated somewhat by a good SJT score +/- an intercalation, and deliberately applying for slightly less competitive deaneries (which often still have really good jobs and really fun cities) can mean that you still get a decent rotation in a nice place even if your score is not stellar. After FPAS, nobody cares about medical school deciles. You may get an extra point or two for honours or a prize, but for speciality training it makes absolutely no difference whether you were in the 3rd decile or the 10th. What does make a difference though is whether you have presentations/publicatons/prizes/audits/teaching/leadership blah, and there is no reason why you can't make a start on those now.

    It is clear from your post that you have already understood most of the curriculum for this year, and have achieved good grades in most of the aspects. So, althought you clearly have one aspect that you need to improve on and you need to keep on top of everything else to make sure that you nail the exams next year aswell, it strikes me that you'll probably have more time on your hands than in other years and that repeating familiar topics that you already understand could become quite tedious. One way to turn this year into a positive is to use the time wisely to get stuck in with a research project or an audit, and try to get a couple of CV goodies out of it. You mention that you are considering an academic career- is there any particular field that attracts you at the moment? Could you approach any of the consultants in that field in your local hospital to see if they've got any projects going that you could get involved in? Having something else to do could help you feel more excited and positive about this year, allow you to have greater insight into a fileld of interest, and be more helpful to your future career prospect that a higher decile.

    Everyone experiences set backs, just take these two weeks to clear your head and get your mind set right for the new academic year ahead. I know many doctors who have had to re-sit years and they are brilliant, they've flown through foundation training and are cracking on with their careers. Don't worry too much about it, you will pass and you will continue to progress!
    • Thread Starter

    Thanks everyone*for the kind words.

    I am now in a much better position after taking some time out to relax and think about the situation a bit more. I'm determined to do well this year and I've been thinking about the things I can do with the free time that I will have. I'm interested in undertaking a genetics project that I was approached for by one of the professors at my med school. I've contacted her regarding the project and hopefully she will still be interested in taking me on, despite my situation.*

    I already have a publication from a national collaborative audit I assisted with last year, and this year I was thinking of seeing if there any further audit/research opportunities I can participate in. I'm interested in a few areas at present which include orthopaedics/bone and joint research, neurology, stem cell research, pharmacology. Obviously I'm not sure which area I'm definitely going to go into at the moment, I will have a better idea once I start placements, but these are some areas I've found myself interested in from lectures we've had in the first two years.

    I also feel like this year could potentially give me a good foundation for the subsequent clinical years, as I will be able to fully cement my knowledge in the basic sciences.*

    The idea of contacting my housemates by group email is a good idea, I was initially thinking of having to do it face to face but that would be quite difficult I think. This year I'm definitely going to have to stop thinking about what people think of me and just get on with things. *
Write a reply…


Submit reply


Thanks for posting! You just need to create an account in order to submit the post
  1. this can't be left blank
    that username has been taken, please choose another Forgotten your password?
  2. this can't be left blank
    this email is already registered. Forgotten your password?
  3. this can't be left blank

    6 characters or longer with both numbers and letters is safer

  4. this can't be left empty
    your full birthday is required
  1. Oops, you need to agree to our Ts&Cs to register
  2. Slide to join now Processing…

Updated: September 12, 2016
TSR Support Team

We have a brilliant team of more than 60 Support Team members looking after discussions on The Student Room, helping to make it a fun, safe and useful place to hang out.

Do you like sleeping in a cold room?

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.