Study with us

Our graduates gain the knowledge and skills to lead organisations, develop public policy, create new companies and undertake research.

Our research

Our academic staff are at the forefront of global thinking on issues relating to wealth and wellbeing, strong organisations, transformative innovation, and the

Student resources

Information about program and course selection, enrolment, change of program, variation to enrolment, status and other general matters.

Alumni

Our alumni may be found in the world’s leading companies, policy agencies and universities.

Contact us

Find contact details for any general enquiries.

Help! I’ve failed a course.

Failing a course can be very stressful. You may think that you are alone in failing a course and that no-one else will understand. As a result, it can be tempting just to ignore the failing grade, or try to hide it, and hope that your study next semester is more successful.

Be assured that you are not the first student to fail a course! Every semester CBE Student Administrators assist many students who have failed one or more courses. You are not alone and usually it is something that you can recover from, but only if you understand how it will affect your degree progress and take action to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

These pages contain information that will hopefully help you in this regard. However the biggest thing you need to remember is not to ignore any problems. Please remember:

  • It is important that if you need help, you ask for it early on.  
  • Don’t hide anything from your family – they need to know you are going to be studying for another semester and you will feel better with their support and understanding!
  • You are not alone and there are many people who understand your situation and want to help you succeed.

How will the fail affect my study?

The effects on your study will depend on how many courses you have failed and whether you have failed any courses previously.

I’ve failed 50% or fewer of the courses that I studied this semester

If you’ve done this, the University considers that you’ve made satisfactory academic progress, but there will be an effect on the duration of your program. Basically, you will need to study for a longer period of time. We know this is something that a lot of students want to avoid, and students often suggest some options so that they can graduate on-time. We’ve listed the usual ones below, and told you whether it is possible or not.

Overloading

This is not a possibility, as we are only permitted to allow students to overload when we are sure they can succeed in passing more than a normal full-time load. If you failed a course, we know that you have struggled with a normal full-time load and so we can’t give you permission to overload.

Summer Courses

This is may be a possibility, however it will depend on your program requirements and the courses you wish to take. If you wish to do a summer course, please send a request to info.cbe@anu.edu.au identifying the summer course/s that you are interested in undertaking.

 

When enrolling for your next semester, you need to take into consideration:

  • Was the course I failed a core course? If yes, then you will need to take it again at some point. If not, you may decide not to enrol in that course again.
  • Was the course I failed a pre-requisite for another course I need/want to do? If yes, then you should probably enrol in the course you failed in the next semester it is offered.

If you need help with your enrolment you should speak to a program advisor.

I’ve failed more that 50% of the courses that I studied this semester for the first time

If you’ve done this, the University considers that you haven’t maintained satisfactory academic progress [http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/expected-academic-performance-for-coursework] and so you will be put on academic probation. This means that if you fail more than 50% of the courses you study a second time, you will be excluded from the University unless you can provide sufficient evidence of the reason for your failure.

As this is something that we’d like to help you avoid, CBE Student Administrators will contact you via email, inviting you to come and talk with them. Some things we’ll talk with you about are:

  • The academic progress rules and procedure
  • The effect on your program duration
  • The reasons you think you failed
  • Strategies/Resources you could use to help you succeed
  • Enrolment advice for the following semester

These meetings are not something you should be worried about, or try to avoid. Remember, the CBE Student Administration team is here to help you succeed at your studies.

I’ve failed more that 50% of the courses that I studied this semester for the second time

In this event you will be contacted by the Examinations and Graduations Office by email and registered post. If you’ve done this, the default response is that you will be excluded from the University. If you wish to appeal this exclusion you must submit an application to 'show cause' [http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/expected-academic-performance-for-coursework] as to why you should be permitted to continue your studies at the University.

You should consider the following things before you write your appeal:

  • What are the reasons for your failure?
  • What strategies are you putting in place to address those reasons?
  • What other strategies are you putting in place to ensure that you don’t fail again?

It is important that you check and read your university email, and follow any instructions you receive from the Examinations and Graduations Office.  The College is not involved in the process, so is unable to advise you, but you may like to contact the Dean of Students [http://www.anu.edu.au/dos/] if you feel confused about the process.

What can I do to ensure that I don’t fail again?

It is important to take time to consider why you failed. If you don’t know the reason you failed, you won’t do anything differently and will probably fail again. Some common reasons for failure are:

  • Lack of English language proficiency
  • Lack of familiarity with academic skills/requirements
  • Difficulty with the exam
  • Medical conditions
  • Outside pressures i.e. family situations, work schedule

We have suggested some strategies for addressing these reasons below.

Lack of English language proficiency

  • Talk to your lecturers and/or tutors about parts of the lecture or course which you had difficulty understanding
  • Go to the library and find the recent past exams  [https://anulib.anu.edu.au] for your course. Timing yourself, practice the exam under normal exam conditions. You may like to take one of your attempts to your tutor for feedback.
  • If the library doesn’t have a recent past exam for your course, ask the lecturer whether it is possible to provide one to the library so you can practice.
  • Reduced Study Load – You may find that taking a reduced number of courses gives you more time to really focus on the courses in which you are enrolled. Domestic students can drop courses to achieve a reduced study load, but international students must apply [http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/program-management/reducing-your-study-load-as-an-international].
  • Joining an English conversation group – there are a number of these groups around or you could start your own!
  • Practice English everyday – talk only English with your friends, read only English books, newspapers and websites, watch only English television programs/ movies and DVDs etc.

Lack of familiarity with academic skills

  • Talk to your lecturers/tutors
    • Get feedback on how you’re going, especially after any assessment.
    • Talk to them about things you don’t understand. Ask them for suggestions for extra material which may help you to increase your understanding, or ways to practice a problem you’re having trouble with.
    • Talk to the Academic Skills and Learning Centre  [https://academicskills.anu.edu.au/] – they offer a range of services which could help you.
    • Reduced Study Load – You may find that taking a reduced number of courses gives you more time to really focus on the courses in which you are enrolled. Domestic students can drop courses to achieve a reduced study load, but international students must apply [http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/program-management/reducing-your-study-load-as-an-international].

Difficulty with the exam

  • Talk to your lecturers/tutors and ask them for suggestions on ways to prepare for the exam.
  • Talk to the Academic Skills and Learning Centre – they may have workshops or other resources which could help you prepare.
  • Go to the library and find the practice exams for your course. Timing yourself, practice the exam under normal exam conditions. You may like to take one of your attempts to your tutor for feedback.

Medical Condition

  • If it is an ongoing medical condition or a condition which is short-term but severe enough that it may require special arrangements to be made so that you can study, you should register with Access and Inclusion
  • See the ANU Health Service or Counselling Centre to get help to manage your condition
  • Reduced Study Load – You may find that taking a reduced number of courses gives you more time to really focus on the courses in which you are enrolled.
  • Take program leave – Allowing you the time to deal with the situation and return, able to focus on your studies.

Outside pressures i.e. family situations, work schedule

  • See the Counselling Centre and get support in dealing with the pressures you’re under.
  • Reduced Study Load – You may find that taking a reduced number of courses reduces the amount of pressure you’re dealing with.
  • Take program leave – Allowing you the time to deal with the situation and return, able to focus on your studies.
  • Reduce the hours that you work

Updated:   3 March 2017 / Responsible Officer:  Dean, Business & Economics / Page Contact:  College Web Team