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Academic Registry and Council Secretariat

Module marks and assessment

What are academic levels?

Each module has a level reflecting its academic complexity within its discipline. The levels range from 3 (foundation or pre-university level) to 8 (Research level). If you are following a three year undergraduate degree programme such as a BA or BSc then you will be expected to progress to and graduate with level 6 (Honours level) modules in your third developmental year. A MEng or MSci award is designated level 7, as are taught postgraduate awards. The Queen Mary Academic Credit Framework details the academic level of each award.

How will I be assessed?

Modules are often assessed by a combination of assessment methods; the types used are mostly determined by the subject area. Queen Mary has identified five assessment methods: examinations, coursework, practical assessment, dissertations/projects and professional capability assessments.

For all types of assessment there will be a published deadline by which you must submit your work, or date when you will sit the assessment (such as an exam or test). It is important that you submit your assessment by that date, as academic schools and institutes will impose a penalty for late submission. If, due to extenuating circumstances, you are having difficulties in completing your coursework by the deadline, contact the relevant school or institute in advance and about getting an extension; do not wait until after the deadline (not all schools/institutes permit extensions). Extensions will not normally be given without evidence of valid extenuating circumstances. Remember that handwritten assessments must be legible or they may not be marked.

Will all the assessment I do count?

Although the majority of the work you do will carry marks, some of your assessment will not be compulsory, and is designed purely to give feedback on your progress. Other assessment will be ‘required’ and must be completed to a satisfactory standard though it does not count towards the final mark. Finally, there is assessed coursework which does count toward the module mark. Queen Mary publishes an Assessment Handbook for each academic year. This will tell you what you can expect from Queen Mary in terms of feedback on your work and how you may be assessed. 

How are undergraduate modules graded?

Performance in undergraduate modules (except on certain programmes specified in the Academic Regulations, including the MBBS, BDS, BSc in Oral Health and the Diploma in Dental Hygiene and Therapy) is graded as follows:

Grade A - 70.0 - 100.0
Grade B - 60.0 - 69.9
Grade C - 50.0 - 59.9
Grade D - 45.0 - 49.9
Grade E - 40.0 - 44.9
Fail - 0.0 - 39.9

These grades are purely related to academic performance. Other grade are awarded to indicate extenuating circumstances, assessment offences, non submission or not sitting assessment etc.

What are the requirements for passing a module?

You must complete all specified assessment to the standard required in the module specification and regulations. For example, some modules will require you to get a specific mark in the coursework element in order to pass. An aggregated, weighted mark will be awarded for each module you take.

The pass mark for most undergraduate modules is an overall total mark of 40.0; however, for level seven undergraduate modules and for all modules on certain programmes specified in the Academic Regulations (including the MBBS, BDS, BSc in Oral Health and the Diploma in Dental Hygiene and Therapy), the requirement is 50.0. The usual requirement for postgraduate modules is 50.0. Individual programmes may have special regulations that have exceptions to these rules – please refer to the Academic Regulations. There may also be specific hurdles for particular items of assessment in the module, and you should always read the module description for details. In such cases if you do not achieve the required marks then you will fail the module.

If you pass a module, you cannot take any of the assessments again in order to improve your mark.

What happens if I fail a module?

If you do not achieve the minimum requirements to pass then you will fail the module. You may, depending on your programme, be permitted a specified number of further attempts to pass by resitting the assessment or retaking the module. Module marks (the overall total) for most resits are ‘capped at the minimum pass mark. Regardless of the quality of your answers, you cannot achieve a higher score for the module than the minimum pass mark. You may not normally resit or retake a module that you have already passed in order to improve your mark.

How many times can I attempt a module if I fail it?

Most students have two attempts in total: the first attempt or first sit, and one resit or retake opportunity. A small number of programmes have special regulations that apply different rules – please refer to the relevant iteration of the Academic Regulations for your programme. 

Failure must always be agreed by the relevant Subject Exam Board before resit assessment can take place.

What are first sits and first takes?

First sits and first takes allow you to resit or retake the relevant module(s) without it counting as one of your permitted attempts. For first sits or first takes the module marks are not pegged and the module will count for the year in which you originally took it. First sits and first takes always take place at the first available opportunity. For some students this may be in the late summer, depending on progression requirements and school practice.

If you are awarded a first sit then depending on the reassessment practice for the module you will either complete the missing assessment only (the mark for which will be combined with your other assessment marks for that module) or take one item of assessment weighted at 100 per cent (specific modules may have regulations that vary slightly from this pattern).

What's the difference between a resit and a retake?

A resit requires that you sit the assessment on a further occasion; you will not need to attend any teaching for the module. You will either resit the assessment you failed, or take one item of assessment weighted at 100 per cent (this is called synoptic reassessment), depending on the regulations for each module. You should contact the school/institute responsible for the module if you are unsure what type of re-assessment is applicable. The module mark for your resit will be capped (unless special regulations apply to the programme), and will count for the year in which you originally took the module rather than the year of the resit. You will need to pay a registration fee but no tuition fees for that module. A resit counts as one of your permitted attempts for a module.

A retake requires attendance at classes, completion of all elements of assessment for the module (whether or not previously passed or not) and payment of additional tuition fees on a pro rata basis. Permission to retake will be approved by the relevant Examination Board.  For MBBS and BDS students, permission to retake will normally require you to retake the entire developmental year rather than just the modules that you have failed.

Always seek advice from your school or institute if you need to resit or retake a module.

What happens if I need to resit a module that has been discontinued?

Assessments for modules that are no longer taught are only offered for one year after the discontinuation date. After that point, the relevant Examination Board may impose an alternative form of assessment.

What is condoned failure?

Postgraduate students must normally pass all their modules to meet their award requirements. However, the relevant Examination Board may disregard failure in up to 30 credits where you have achieved a module mark of 40-49.9 in each of the failed modules and your overall average is 50.0 or greater. This is known as condoned failure. Some awards have special regulations that either do not permit condoned failure or which specify different requirements; check with your school/institute for more information.

If you are unsure about any of the information displayed on this page, please check the academic regulations for the year that you started your degree. For the current academic year, you will find the Regulations in the Policy Zone. For previous academic years, please check the Archive.

If you are unable to find the answers you need, please contact your School/Institute for guidance.

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