UNISA exam results

I got my UNISA examination results, and I failed my Spanish exam - again!

This is so frustrating!

I started studying Spanish years ago for various reasons, but mostly to help fulfill my dream of travelling around Latin America one day. I started taking private Spanish lessons, but soon became frustrated at the slow pace. So, I decided to look at the formal Spanish program at the University of South Africa. I believe UNISA is the world's largest correspondence university, with over 150 thousand students, exam centres around the world, and degrees recognized internationally. While browsing the list of available courses, I decided, heck, why not just enroll for a full degree? Then I changed jobs for a startup, which consumed so much of my energy and time that I just didn't have the time left for studying in the evenings and on weekends anymore. Besides, I had moved to the lovely village of Scarborough outside Cape Town, with a fantastic view over the Atlantic Ocean in front of me, and mountain walks behind me. So for a few years I didn't study at all as I learned to bodyboard and paddle-ski.

4 years ago we moved to Ireland. Elizabeth had started a BSc in Computer Science, and I reckoned it would be a good time to resurrect my unfinished degree. I needed to finish 3rd year Spanish, consisting of 5 papers:

  • SPS301H Spanish for translation
  • SPS302J Spanish for oral communication
  • SPS303K Spanish for professional purposes
  • SPS304L Encounters with Spanish American culture and literature
  • SPS305M Reading and analysing literary texts in Spanish

I also needed a second major plus a least 2 more courses. Having done Psychology and Philosophy, I could have just carried on with one of them to complete my degree. Instead, since I have been interested in environmental issues, and would like to become familiar with GIS, I chose to do Geography.

Now, to compare the levels of difficulty between Spanish and Geography: I have completed all my 1st, 2nd and 3rd year Geography papers in less time that it will have taken me to complete only 3rd year Spanish!

I have passed 4 out of the 5 Spanish papers. Ironically, the paper that interests me the most, Encounters with Spanish American culture and literature, is the only one I keep failing. I started this whole degree based on my desire to travel and learn about Latin America, yet I can't even pass that exam. Some of the other papers were far more difficult than this one, especially the translation and literary analysis ones.

It is a very interesting paper covering the history and culture of Latin America from the ancient Maya, Aztec and Inca civilizations through the Spanish conquest, slavery, wars of independence to modern politics. The prescribed literature consists of the books "El coronel no tiene quien le escribe" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and "La muerte y la Doncella" by Ariel Dorfman. All together a pretty substantial amount of work which can be examined thoroughly.

However, the final paper contains only 3 questions, typically like:

   "Violence and repression are central themes in Marquez's novel. Discuss."

Yet that short question counts 40% of the total mark!

Compared to any mathematics paper that is well designed to test the breadth of your knowledge and judge your reasoning capabilities in an objective manner, this is a complete joke.

Anyway, I have asked for the paper to be re-marked. Hopefully I get the few extra percent I need to pass this exam... otherwise I'll just have to persist until I eventually pass.


Venga, hombre, ánimo. Cuando quieras me envías un correo y charlamos un poco. Suerte, Antonio

Posted by Antonio on July 18, 2005 at 11:32 AM IST #

Hi. Yip, it always works out that the most enjoyable courses are the ones you fail. I think there are a lot of sadistic lecturers at Unisa who revel at making us suffer. Bruce BSc Maths, Statistics (Unisa)

Posted by Bruce on February 14, 2006 at 10:38 AM GMT #

I wrote ADB242R in 2005 October and studied it very well that when I wrote it I marked myself 70%. Supprissingly I failed it with 45% and was due for supp. I was frustrated about the results and definetly sure that I have passed it. When I wrote it for the second time, I must confess my commitment have reduced and I failed it again. I believe the people who mark our papers sometimes make mistakes. I am very worried about my career at UNISA, something must be done to remark our papers just to double check and confirm the results.

Posted by Mirriam Nkosi on August 18, 2006 at 04:15 AM IST #

How did it go with the Spanish remark, Johan? I'm a BCom(Informatics) student and am awaiting my results for 2006. I agree with the comments above - some of those markers do not know the subject they are marking. I found that the more I rote-learn facts to use in essays, the better my results. They seem to adhere strictly to their marking memorandi and no extra points for originality or presenting ideas different from the prescribed textbooks. Good luck all!

Posted by Sonja Steyn on December 08, 2006 at 03:30 PM GMT #

I find it very difficult to study at UNISA. They claim they are a distant education institution, but to communicate via letters and e-mail,is very hard. Also try and phone somebody i.e. a lecturer,you will hardly succeed.Disappointed i am.

Posted by Tinus Kruger on August 22, 2007 at 10:33 AM IST #

Hi Johan!
Nice to find a Capetonian in Ireland... if you are still here that is! My hubby and I are from Simonstown/Noordhoek areas, and are now living in County Wexford. Far far away!
I just have a quick question. I want to do a BA with Unisa and would like to know where the exam centre in Dublin actually IS? Ta! Kim

Posted by Kim Heath on April 13, 2008 at 12:02 PM IST #

Am olso frustrated with UNISA, Am currently studying toward BA honors Psychology. I registered last year with da institutionn for the first time. It was for the first time to study through correspondence. What frustrates me is that their honors are year modules not semester courses which means one has to repeat da course when failled also because the institution does not offer suplimentary exams for this programm. How frustrating!

Posted by lesego on May 18, 2008 at 04:46 AM IST #

i am very interset for maths

Posted by blasom_2007@yahoo.co.in on June 23, 2008 at 08:13 AM IST #

Hi there,

I'm looking for old UNISA exam papers.

If there is anyone who could assist me with that I'd really appreciate it.

Many thanks,

083 754 9480

Posted by Louis Stevens on February 09, 2009 at 05:51 AM GMT #

I studied BTech Civil Eng at Cape Tech, but did not complete my dissertation so now I have to redo 4 subjects with Unisa in order for them to issue the degree. I want question papers for the following sbjects: Geomotric design, both enviro's and mining management. Could anyone help me please?

Posted by Bernic de Waal on February 25, 2009 at 08:08 PM GMT #

I need help pls i am writing in abt two weeks time and finding it very difficult to get hold of old exam papers. if anyome could assist i would aappreciate it a lot thanks.

Posted by Yasser on May 05, 2009 at 08:29 AM IST #

I have just received my results from UNISA for the May/June 2009 examinations. To my disappointment I have failed. I marked myself and was sure to pass. I started my degree off by obtaining very high marks, but it seems to me that as soon as I came into my final year of studies I have been failing. Studying harder, going for expensive additional classes, assistance from already qualified professionals or approaching a different exam-technique makes no difference. I have heard many similar complaints from fellow students. Thus I have come to the conclusion that UNISA is failing students to make money out of the situation. Think about it... You have to pay for a remark - pay for the quality of service you were originally supposed to have received? And if you don't qualify for the remark you'll just have to redo the whole subject and pay again? Therefore I am going to contact the lecturers and they will unfortunately for them just have to bear with me and go through my answer-paper and explain what I am doing wrong. I heard from a former UNISA employee that a student phoned into their admin offices and demanded to see her answer-paper. They faxed it to her and only a third of the answer sheet was marked. If everything was marked she would have passed with flying colours. I seriously doubt in the service we are receiving from UNISA and feel I am not receiving my monies' worth. But this is a catch 22 - I am so far into my studies that I cannot stop now. What am I to do?

Posted by Marlene van Wyk on June 30, 2009 at 11:27 AM IST #

I am looking for unisa old exsampapers for quility total managmnet

Posted by Deon on August 22, 2009 at 12:38 AM IST #

When applying for a remark with Unisa, something that you really should be doing if you fail when you feel as if you should have passed the following happens.

Your paper is sent off to an external moderator someone who is not part of Unisa, and not part of the examination process in any way. This is at a cost of R240. The remark takes approximately 2-3 months to come back, should you pass your exam on the remark you are reimbursed the amount paid and are given the credit.

As far as the comment on Spanish literature. I am not in any way intimately familiar with Spanish, however having read some of Marquez works in English I do understand where you are coming from.

Literature exams don't ask 300 contextual questions, it isn't about understanding the facts of the novel. It is about being able to engage with the novel and show deeper insight. God knows that must be difficult in Spanish, but I think that is probably where you are falling short.

All the best.

Posted by James on August 30, 2009 at 07:31 PM IST #

this is cool, this is what we want dude......

Posted by links of london on November 28, 2009 at 06:12 PM GMT #

hey Johan,
bu the end of this, would you suggest a person studies spanish at unisa or go another route, ie. private tutor, small study groups? i am keen to start spanish, but im concerned about doing this via unisa..

Posted by melody on February 17, 2010 at 10:53 PM GMT #

Melody, I would definitely recommend Spanish studies at UNISA. Even though I was frustrated at times, the standard is high.

I think the main reason I was frustrated is because studying a language by correspondence from a non-Spanish speaking country means that you get a thorough academic education, but not much practical experience.

Ideally, if I were living in Spain or Latin America, I would have been able to immerse myself in the language and culture and get to speak and hear it every day, while complementing the practical experience with a thorough academic study of the language and culture.

Necesito a hablar mas, y practicar mas ;)

Posted by Johan Steyn on February 18, 2010 at 07:29 AM GMT #

Unisa is not a cool university. Having studied for my exam paper which will be written in a weeks time, I am frustrated because I got a study guide that has no answers to the questions. What crap is this? I would prefer taking the guide and flushing it down the drain.....

Disappointed unisa student

Posted by Miss p on April 24, 2010 at 03:07 PM IST #

I am thinking of studying at UNISA and I will be taking my exams in New York.. Is it advisiable?

Posted by Shelina on August 05, 2010 at 02:05 PM IST #

I'm a third year law student @ unisa, i'm frustrated bwt this year's results release date, i mean the 21st? Come on it takes matric markers 16 days to mark for 642000 pupils, what u need (19 nov - 21 dec =1 month) for? Mxm

Posted by Lesiba on November 24, 2010 at 08:53 PM GMT #

Why is Unisa taking so long 2 mark. I wrote 4 modules nd only rcvd results 4 only 2. Dis waitng is really frustrating.

Posted by Thembi on December 04, 2010 at 03:35 AM GMT #

My boyfriend was studying at Wits for like 3 years law (LLB) which he was doing well, bt because of financial problems, we had to consider applyin at Unisa which he did, 1st semester he passed all the modules and did for supplementary for one, 2nd semester he failed all 4modules and badly, he is a hard worker and he was prepared because he is almost there to complete his degree, he is a genius that one im sure with, even companies fight for him for his inteligence others feal threatened. Bt with Unisa seems like its gona take ages to complete.

Posted by Sibongile on December 10, 2010 at 12:04 PM GMT #

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