What to do when you fail an exam

by Carla Heron, Public Practice Consultant

Juggling between your work, study and personal life can be quite stressful. There are those people for whom exams are a breeze, always passing each paper with flying colours and never have to take a re-sit. For those lucky enough to be amongst that number they won’t experience the stress and anguish that exam fails can bring. These feelings can be enhanced when your exam performance is directly linked to your employment contract.

As someone who assists students who have failed their exams daily, I have the following advice for you if you’re feeling your contract may be on its way to being terminated:

1. Don’t give up on the qualification.

It is an easy thing to get frustrated following exam fails and to think about moving away from accountancy or even look at a rival qualification. Before you do that, I would urge anyone to reconsider and really think about the wealth of opportunities that being a qualified accountant can offer whether that be within Practice, Industry or in a wider commercial role.

2. Ask for help.

Following exam fails it may be worth asking to speak to your Line Manager, Training Supervisor, HR department etc. as they may be able to help. This could mean arranging your workload in such a way as to give you more studying time closer to exams, providing more one to one coaching in the areas in which you are struggling or even arranging for you to get more practical experience in those areas.

3. Know your Training Firm’s exam policy.

Make sure you are aware of the exam policy which governs your training contract. Many firms operate on a two attempts policy before terminating a contract but there may be clauses within that relating to unforeseeable circumstances. With this you may be allowed to argue a case for another attempt if you can demonstrate that you fall into this category.

4. Terminated Training contract – not the end of the line.

There are many accountancy practices in the market who are more than willing to consider candidates who are out of contract due to exam fails. As a part-qualified trainee you will already have a strong skill-set and some great experience which will be very attractive to other firms. I have personally assisted a number of Trainees in this situation obtain training contracts with other firms and you will be pleasantly surprised by the range of firms that are happy to accept candidates who have failed an exam on more than two occasions.

5. Don’t panic

In most cases there are going to be options out there if you have failed exams and are looking for a new training contract. The accountancy market, especially in practice, is still a ‘sellers -market’ and it is likely that someone out there needs your skills and experience. Speak to someone at the qualification or a specialist Recruitment Consultant to make sure you gain awareness and get access to these opportunities. 

If you are worried about exam fails and would like to have a private and confidential discussion please contact Carla Heron, Public Practice Recruitment consultant  on 0141 648 9150 or carlaheron@imultiplyresourcing.com 

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