One of the most important features and selling points of the University of London External System is the flexibility it gives its students when it comes to planning and distributing their exams over the whole study period. Undergraduate students have three to eight years to finish their degrees which means that with the equivalent of twelve full units required, it takes at most four and at least one and a half (on average) a year to be successful, excluding the failed ones which must be repeated.
Due to various responsibilities I hold I have decided to make the pacing of my studies slightly progressive so that I could gain confidence as I continue from one year to the next one. This pays off in terms of my being able to study more efficiently and not having to worry about not being able to prepare to the exams properly.
As everything, this flexibility comes with a price. It is not possible to repeat a failed exam in the same year. Once the result is negative one has to wait another year to retake the unit. In addition to more time required for preparation and financial cost involved, the consequences can be much more serious. Most units are not independent from the rest and some of them cannot be taken before the more basic ones has been successfully passed. Thus, failing a basic unit can make it impossible to progress in accordance with the original plan.
If you click the link above, you will see that this is exactly the kind of situation I have found myself in. I plan to complete the remaining basic subjects this year (it is my second year of studying here) and if I fail to do so, the effect will cascade and it will take me at least one more year to complete the degree.
But, hey! Flexibility also means responsibility :-)