Why fear when you have a ‘Second Chance’

​As a student, failing at exams can be scary. In this blog, Shilpa and Dante tell you about a ‘second chance’ that allowed them to learn from their mistakes and strive for success.

Shilpa’s exam experience

Like any typical student, ‘exams’ bring out the anxious version of me. It was no different when I started my studies at Chalmers. In fact, being in a new university and study environment with no idea of how students’ performance is being evaluated; had added to my anxiousness. That’s when I came to know about the flexible exam system of Chalmers.

I was so relieved to know that a student can re-sit in an exam for as many attempts he/she requires. So even if I fail or scored low grades, I still have a ‘second chance’ to pass my course. This has done wonders in not only my performance but also in the way I handle exam pressures. It no longer gives me jitters that I need to convert months of study and hard work into performing well within the few hours of my exam. So, instead of fretting over incoming exams, I can concentrate better on studies. 

Initially, I was shocked to know that some courses have 4-5 hours long exam because in my home country India exams are normally for 2-3 hours. Now, these hours don’t bother me. I think the main reason for lengthy exams here is to give all students sufficient time to express their knowledge. We all are different, coming from different background and having different capabilities, so I feel the long exam hours are justified to give all students a fair chance.

However, in my country India also, a student is allowed to give re-exam. But, the biggest difference I find is in the way ‘failure’ is being handled. In India, I felt scared of failing in exam because of the criticism I have to face from society and the inferiority complex it brings along. After coming here, it was so relieving when I realised that failure is so well accepted. Failure is nothing to shy away from or feel ashamed about and this has given a boost to my self-confidence. I have also understood that ‘failing’ is no longer the end of everything and I need not be afraid of it. Rather, it just shows that I am required to put extra effort in that area. 

Re-sit exams are also a boon for students who have passed the course but want to improve their grades. A friend of mine was able to even re-schedule her exam because she was sick. My friend and I both felt that this flexibility really helped us, especially during difficult times.

Dante’s second chance

In Mexico, the evaluation system is different, since there is nothing like a second chance, in many universities, there is not even a re-exam, or if it exists, it is impossible to pass it, even some professors are proud of the years that no student has been able to pass their re-exams. So the only option for the students is to repeat the course with another professor or attempt to take it again with the same one. As for the failure, flunking an exam does not cause us any shame, especially when it comes to engineering or physics, we are very used to adversities and overcome them, no matter how long it takes or how hard it is. 

About my experience here, when I realized that I was going to fail my courses, I was terrified of having to pay again. I was used to the system in Mexico, where if you fail, you have to pay the course again. Thus, I was depressed and very stressed to think about it. However, talking with my classmates, they told me to relax, because stressing out was not going to help me pass my courses, so they explained to me that the purpose of being here is to enjoy the learning. Therefore, we have the opportunity to take the exams or the course again or even send the assignments again. Although the best part was to realize that I do not have to pay again, I just had to talk with my professors, explain to them that I was adapting and they will understand. Amazingly, the only thing I have to worry about in Chalmers is learning.

Banner picture by: ​Akshaya V Ramachandran

Read more about students' experience with exams at Chalmers

Page manager Published: Fri 20 Sep 2019.