Information about Choosing Your Modules in the School of English and Drama

Standard and Synoptic Reassessment Explained


The module directory indicates whether the Mode of Reassessment on any given module is Standard or Synoptic (the two different reassessment models used at Queen Mary). Although you’ll select your modules for a number of personal and intellectual reasons, it is also important to take into account the reassessment arrangements in each case. Hopefully reassessment will not apply to you because you’ll pass all your modules. But if something goes wrong and you don’t, it’s important that you understand what these models mean (particularly synoptic reassessment).


Students must achieve a module mark of 40.0 or above to pass a module. Most instances of students not passing a module occur because one or more elements of assessment were not submitted, and therefore receive a mark of 0 (zero); although sometimes students fail a module by submitting work that fails to meet the assessment criteria for a pass.

If you do not pass a module at the first attempt, you will normally be offered a further opportunity to complete the module assessment. This is called reassessment, and may take the form of resits or first sits:

  • In general, reassessment takes the form of resits. A 'resit' is your second and final opportunity to complete the module assessment. If you resit a module, it will mean your module mark is capped at 40.0, regardless of the academic quality of your work.
  • If you do not submit all the elements of assessment at the first attempt, and the Subject Examination Board accepts your Extenuating Circumstances application, you may be awarded first sits. First sit submissions are not capped at 40.0, and are formally considered to be your 'first' rather than your second and final opportunity to complete the module assessment.

Mode of Reassessment

Reassessment is in one of two modes, Standard or Synoptic. First sits always take the form of Standard reassessment, but resits sometimes take the form of Synoptic reassessment (depending on the arrangements made for the module in question).

  • STANDARD REASSESSMENT observes the standard module assessment body. In other words, it requires you to complete the same assignments (or exam) as students completing the module at the first attempt. For this reason, first sits take the form of standard reassessment. The marks for any elements of assessment that you have already submitted and passed will be retained (you will not be eligible to re-submit them). You will only be asked to complete those assignments that you did not pass or did not submit on the previous attempt.
  • SYNOPTIC REASSESSMENT observes a module assessment body which constitutes a general summary or 'synopsis' of your work. You will be asked to complete a single major assignment (or exam), and the mark that you are awarded for that single submission will be considered as the outcome for the module as a whole. Any marks you have previously attained for other elements of assessment within the module (however high) will be disregarded, and replaced by the synoptic reassessment mark.

Students in the School of English and Drama can find further information in the online undergraduate handbook: