Thomas Davies weighs up the pros and cons of the re-sit and the dangerous life-lesson it teaches

Over the past summer, hundreds of thousands of students will have received examination results from their Universities, Sixth-Form Colleges and Upper Schools. For the majority, as the government would have us believe, their grades were high-flying and their future, bright. For the remaining few, the future is no longer quite as sunny; their mediocre grades result in windows of opportunity slamming shut, locked tight and quickly panelled over. Or perhaps this is only true of the days of old.

Today it seems that examinations are no longer as serious or as scary as perhaps they used to be. The introduction of the “re-sit” has revolutionised testing, and gives second opportunities to those who did not firmly grasp onto them first time around. Some feel that this is all part of a fair process, it allows students with learning difficulties a second chance and, after all, even the brightest students can have off days. Why should one bad exam affect a person’s future University, job, earning potential and lifestyle?

Because it should.

Surely exam results are meant to reflect the student’s understanding of the material being tested, rather than reflecting their understanding on a ‘good day.’ The ability to re-sit exams undermines the whole point of examination. It passes all previous attempts as practice, and does so without setting a date for “the real thing”.

Whilst some advocate the ‘re-sit’ its implications must be considered: the “re-sit” sets a dangerous life trend. It suggests that second opportunities will always be available in life. It also relaxes work ethic and potentially lowers an individual’s drive to learn and succeed. These are not traits found in successful people.

Ultimately, our educational system is penalising its students by teaching them that they are allowed second chances. This is not true to life. We must remove the re-sit. We must reward those students who have made the effort the first time. Most importantly, congratulate students who have maintained high effort levels, dedication and application. No matter what their academic results are it is these positive traits that will take them furthest.


Thomas Davies

Photo Credit – Miss Lolita