Blog Students Advice For Students What Happens When I Fail a Subject in Poly?

What Happens When I Fail a Subject in Poly?

Failing a subject is one of the greatest fears of every student. It can spell disaster for a student’s academic career, especially if they want to go into a prestigious school in the near future. But, there are times some subjects will be a pain for students to pass and eventually get a failing grade for it.

If this happens to you and you are in Polytechnic, what should you do?

This article will give you a brief guide on what you can expect if you failed a subject in Poly and what to do to get back on track. Please note that while this guide provides general idea, you should always check with your school if there are are any exceptions to your regulations.

Academic Standing

Every polytechnic differs as to how they treat failed subjects for their students and how it can be redone. There are schools who will let you advance to the next year despite your failing grade if you are able to reach the required GPA to pass to the next year and if it’s your first time to fail the subject.

However, it is important to take note that the subject you have failed is not a prerequisite of a subject you need to progress to the next stage of your studies. For example, if you are taking Engineering Math 1 and you failed it, you can’t take Engineering Math 2 in the current term you are in. If you have problems overcoming this hurdle, SmileTutor provides experienced diploma tutors who can help you.

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You may also find yourself in the following scenarios depending on your year level.

Proceed to Next Semester but to redo your subject

If you are a year 1 student, you will be asked to take the module in the new semester and have to settle to a low grade if you manage to complete your work. For Cross-Disciplinary Subjects or CDS in short, you can choose the CDS you want to take and you have to make sure you complete 3 CDS before you graduate.

If you are a year 2 student, you will be allowed to proceed to the next semester but you will take the subject again if it is a module class. But, if it is your internship year, you will need to complete the subject on your own to be credited. If it’s a CDS class, you will need to make up for the required number of CDS before you graduate.

If you are a year 3 student, you will need to take the module in Year 3.2 or do it as a self-study if you have an internship. If the module you failed is not offered for that year, you will need to stay on with the school for another year until you finish that module.

If this happens, you will need to pay for an additional tuition fee to continue. If you need financial aid to help you pay off the tuition fee, check out our resources here.

The same consequence will also be felt if you are unable to complete your required CDS subjects.

Proceed to Next Semester with Warning

For some Poly, students who fail certain subjects will be allowed to proceed to the next semester but with a warning.

These students must have either one of the three criteria:

  • Have failed a major subject or a diploma course subject after their examination or assessment
  • If they are in their 9th semester of study and have yet to finish their graduation requirements
  • Have gotten two semesters with a cumulative GPA below 1.0 (grading requirement may vary depending on the school)

Valid Reasons for Appeal

If students have a valid reason for not being able to pass a test, they may appeal directly with their polytechnic school for consideration. Make sure to write a good appeal letter. 

Some of the valid reasons that will be taken into account are:

  • Death of an immediate family member (ex. Parent, sibling, grandparent, etc)
  • Medical illness or hospitalisation
  • Special cases like accidents, natural disasters and the like.

It is important to remember that appeals may be subjected to a case-to-case basis.

If you will be appealing for your situation, you will need to send your application to the Registrar of your Polytechnic school or with the Student Services. The outcome can be followed at your school’s student page or you will be notified through email or mail. Check with your school handbook about how to appeal as it may be different for every school.

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Retaking of Subjects & Conditions For Repeating Subjects

If your appeal is accepted, you will be able to retake your failed subjects and take an exam to see if you can take the next course. You may also be asked to take a special assessment paper which will be scheduled immediately.

If you are able to submit the assessment paper, it will be downgraded by one grade and be counted in your grade. Failure to do so will cause you to still have that failing grade regardless of your reasoning.

When it comes to the conditions set for repeating students, every school has a different condition. Remember to manage your exam time stress during this period and consider getting a home tutor for poly to help you cope better.

Number of Attempts for Repeating a Subject

The number of repeat attempts you can make as a student if you fail a subject varies depending on the time you failed the said subject and what type of subject it is.

  • If it is your first time, you can repeat the module immediately if it is available.
  • If it is an elective, you can repeat it or pick another elective and you will be able to do so for two times.
  • If the subject is a core subject, you will need to check with your school with regards to how many attempts you can make.

Conditions For Removal

If you continue to fail the subjects you have in Poly, you will be at risk for removal from the school. Each school differs with their conditions, but it is usually considered if you continue to repeat a core subject and if you fail to increase your GPA to 1.0 or more. Some schools will automatically drop you from the program if you are under the Polytechnic Foundation Programme.

If you have failed a subject, don’t immediately think it is over for you. Check your school handbook about how you can get your academic progress back on track and if you can appeal for your situation.

For more Polytechnic life articles, check out these:

Is CCA Compulsory in JC and Poly?
Polytechnic Admission Tips to Secure Your Dream Course

Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.