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Old 02-10-2018, 03:28 AM
563 posts, read 238,215 times
Reputation: 426


Let's instroduce you my educational system so that you can answer my question.

When I studied my "Associates Degree" in Chemical Engineering (is the closer equivalent in the US but this one in Spain is 3 theoretical years), we still had not enrolled in the EHEA: European Higher Education Area. Most of the courses/subjects/classes consisted basically in a final exam that decided if you pass or not. Others (very few) also had assignments, some of them a big assignment that helped to pass the course but still you depended on a final exam, if you failed the exam, you failed the entire course. The limit of number of times you could repeat a final exam or the entire course depended on university, in the first one I was, the hardest engineering University in Spain, this number was simply unlimited, I've even known people who spent more than 8/10 final exams (repeating 4 times the same course). In the second one when I finally got my Associates Degree, this number was limited by 6 that means you could only repeat a course 3 times/3 years.

When I studied my Bachelor's Degree in Chemical Engineering (and this one is equivalent in the US and Europe, 4 years degree) Spain was in EHEA, that means our education system was closer to other European countries. The ammount of assignments increased but still you depended on a final exam to pass, in some courses assignments truly helped you only and just only if you got 4/10 (our evaluation goes from 0 to 10 being 5 pass and <5 fail but in some courses, if allowed, with 4 if your assignments can compensate you may have passed the course). As far as I know, the number of times you could repeat a course/subject was 2, that means 4 final exams, if you do a third one, you should write to rector to beg for another opportunity (lots of engineering students are in such situations). But fortunately I passed every course in the first final exam, that was amazing!.

Now I am studying a the Master's Degree in Chemical Engineering and being hard I am scared about what may happen. We can only repeat 1 year, that means 4 final exams: the first semester (January) and the second (June) and the second semester (May) and the second (June). June is for courses/subjects failed including first and second semester, is full of final exams and you go to those you failed. In Master's Degree there are lots of assignments, but assignments hardly ever helps you to pass a course/subject. As an example, I failed an optional course (that courses you may choose among a variety of courses) that has assignments because my exam was 3.9/10 and my assignments 9.5/10 and 9.3/10 but still exam below 5/10, failed, I have to go to a second final exam at June. I was about to fail one of the hardest courses/subjects: advanced reactors, I had 3.7/10 in my final exam but half of the Master's Degree students failed that means 26/50 students failed. It seems that this number was unacceptable and they needed to pass a student, in the exam review I was able to defend my exam, they considered to increase my mark in a problem and I had around 4.3/10, professors decided to count my assignments and I passed with 6.7/10. At first advanced reactors needed to have 5/10 in the final exam, but they need to pass from 4/10, if not around 40/50 students would have failed, seems to be unacceptable for a Master's Degree. Hopefully this is far from 115/120 students failed in the hardest University I was several years ago!. In that review only two students passed because a girl who had 3.5/10 complained that one of her problem was not evaluated, seems that the paper didn't have the student's name so was false attributed to another student, such student failed and this girl passed, still the number of failed students was unacceptable and that was the reason to pass me, was a miracle, the first time I passed a course in an exam review.

But I can't rely on situations like this. Up to now, I have one course failed, not too bad considering there are students with 2/3 courses failed in first semester. I am now in the second one and I will do my best to avoid failing courses so that I don't accumulate failed courses to June (when you have to repeat final exams for first and second semesters, everything in the same month). Normally in the past I wouldn't care so much, just repeating over and over until pass but I am in Master's Degree under European rules, that means I have only 2 chances and 1 year to repeat failed courses if can't pass on June, also the tuition fees increases awfully for each course/subject you are repeating, the cost per subject is almost twice. Clearly that situation is really unfair for engineering students in comparison with other students, our degrees are by far harder...

How many subjects/courses that means final exams in June is considered acceptable? For example, 8 courses failed that means 8 final exams would be impossible to pass in June. Yet in older times, I met a very clever guy who went to 6 finals and passed 5! Was a incredible lucky guy. But I am not that clever. I have around 13 courses, is demential, most of them are shorter than when I studied my Bachelor's and Associates but still that means around 12 final exams (luckily a course/subject that is annual consists in a big asignment and some partial exams). I am scared because I do not have unlimited times neither 6 times to pass courses/subjects, now is limited by 2. There are lots of engineering students in such situation.

Thank you in advance and sorry for my bad english and the huge explanations.
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Old 02-10-2018, 07:52 AM
5,761 posts, read 3,043,495 times
Reputation: 15097
I don't know if anyone in the US can provide good advice. The system you describe is so different, that I'm not sure anyone who didn't spend some time in it can help. Perhaps there are some folks who attended a University in Spain, but I'm sorry that I don't have anything solid to offer.
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