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Chin Up: What to do if you fail a law subject

Male student stressed over laptop

What’s that sound? Oh, it is just the ringing of the dooms day bell, because you failed a subject. Talking about failing a law subject is somewhat taboo; here is some practical advice to get you through.

You’re not Robinson Crusoe

Do you honestly think you are the first person to fail a law subject? Yes, it may feel like you are, but the reality is, you are not. Not by a long shot. Love her, loathe her or don’t care either way even the leader of our nation failed a law subject (and she went on to be a partner in a major law firm). Many people have been where you are, and after you pass many more will follow.

An Exercise in Resilience

Yeah, you should totally give up. In fact you if you do it now you will avoid the disappointment of ever losing a trial or dispute, because every lawyer who fails at winning gives up, don’t they? You see the flaw in that logic don’t you?

I could go on and on and regurgitate various ‘never give up’ one-liners or motivational quotes but they all come down to one thing, how bad do you want it? You have more than likely given lots up of things you wanted to do in exchange for studying.

Where to from here?

First things first, have a cry, throw a tantrum, whinge about the course load or tutors and then move on. Our lecturers don’t want us to fail – it means seeing our sorry faces in their classes for another 13 weeks. So what are your options?

Ask to have the Exam Re-marked

Before you take this step, see if you can have a look over the exam and read the marker’s comments (if any). You might be able to diagnose where you went wrong for yourself. And if you think you have been marked too harshly you may be able to have your paper re-marked. A word of warning on this; they will be having a closer look, and this includes a closer look at what you missed, so it is a real possibility they will deduct marks.

Special Consideration

Sometimes poop happens; a close family member gets very sick, relationships end and all types of catastrophes in between. Your university might take this into consideration and award you a pass. Remember to look at the criteria your uni has for this as dead sea monkeys followed by a 4 week bender of Disney is not likely to cut it.

Supplementary Exams

If you missed out by just a few marks you may be able to sit another exam, where you can get those marks in order to pass! Yes, it means another cram but it is better than a fail.

Do the Subject Again

Sitting through 13 weeks of Trusts may seem like a cruel and unusual punishment but by the second time around at least you might have some kind of idea what you are in for!

The Action Plan

  1. Have a cry

  2. Remember you are not alone

  3. Get over it

  4. Think about what you could do better and what needs to change

  5. Look at your options

  6. Do what you need to do!

When he’s not writing for Survive Law, Obiter Ovum is musing about law school and such in his own corner of the Internet. Click here to check out OO’s blog.

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