Study Abroad – Backlogs FAQ’S

What is a Backlog?

A backlog is an exam that you could not clear in the first attempt. Please note that it is mandatory to appear for the exam the next time under any circumstances in order to avail your degree from the institution of study.

Absenteeism : In an ideal situation, absenteeism should not be counted as a backlog. For instance, you did not appear for the exam due to sickness, accident, or any other genuine reason. However, in the case of absenteeism, you should always confirm from your academic institution whether they mark an ‘Absent’ or write ‘Zero’ in the score column against the exam subject that you could not appear for. It is essential to confirm this from the institute because ‘a zero in the score column’ would refer to Backlog, not Absent. If you have already received your academic transcript, then you should check in your mark sheet whether yours is marked as a Backlog or Absenteeism.
How are Backlogs Counted?
Some countries count the number of subjects as the number of backlogs, while some count the number of attempts you took to clear those backlogs. These are as follows :

In most of the countries, Number of Attempts ≠ Number of Backlogs!

In the rest of the world, the number of times you have appeared to clear a subject has got nothing to do with the number of your backlogs. For example, if you had to appear 5 times to clear a backlog in 1 subject, you would still have only 1 backlog (not 5). However, if you had to clear 5 subjects and you did that in 1 attempt each, you would have 5 backlogs. You cannot have 20 subjects and more than 20 backlogs, even if you failed in all of them 10 times each.

In Australia and Germany, Number of Attempts = Number of Backlogs

The universities in Australia and Germany count the number of attempts as the number of backlogs. These countries pay special emphasis to the attempts in order to judge a student’s sincerity towards examination. In other words, if you cleared 1 subject in 3 attempts, the number of backlogs would be ‘3’. Similarly, if you had backlogs in 2 subjects, 1 of which you cleared 2 attempts and the other in 3 attempts, then the total number of backlogs would be counted at (2+3=5). Likewise, if you had backlogs in 3 subjects, for which you took 1 attempt each, then it would be counted as 3 backlogs.

Can you study abroad with backlogs?
The answer to this question is ‘Yes’. Backlogs are accepted in almost every country. Nevertheless, there is always a limited number of backlogs that are accepted in every region. Every college, national or international, wants to select the best candidates for sure. What students need to understand in this regard is what makes their profile strong. There are many good universities across the globe that select average profile if they find them suitable for the kind of courses they have to offer.

How many backlogs are allowed to study abroad?
The minimum and maximum number of backlogs accepted by abroad universities varies with study destination. It would be ideal to say that every country accepts backlogs to an extent. There are both lenient and strict regions in the world that may or may not accept high number of backlogs respectively. The strict regions give high importance to the academic profiles of international students and consider their overall percentage strictly refusing to accept more than a limited number of backlogs.

To what extent are backlogs accepted?
Colleges that accept average candidates from across the world have some or the other selection criteria for their profile evaluation. Some colleges focus on your clear academic records where there is no scope for backlogs, while some select you on the basis of your recent scores in the standardized exams such as GMATGREIELTSTOEFL, and PTE. Also, as discussed above, the subject in which you had a backlog also matters while applying to universities abroad. Other criteria for getting selected by these colleges are your curricular and non-curricular achievements. Let us discuss the countries and explore universities that accept backlogs. 

What is a Backlog Certificate?
Just as an academic transcript proves that you have completed your educational programmed in a particular institution, a backlog certificate serves as a proof that you have had ‘n‘ number of backlogs, which you may or may not have cleared until the date of issue.

What is the importance of a backlog certificate? What purpose does it serve?
Every country has its own way of counting backlogs. Some countries count the number of subjects, while some count the attempts made to clear a single subject. The admission committee of a university relies on the backlog certificate to count the number of backlogs. It is also required to prove that you have cleared all of them.

How to procure a backlog certificate?
The college authorities who create your academic transcripts/ degree/ mark sheet/ certificates/ diploma, etc. are the ones responsible for creating your backlog certificate as well. You need to procure your backlog certificate from the academic institution from where you completed your course/programme and received your academic transcript.

How to use a backlog certificate?
A backlog certificate is attached as a document of proof along with the rest of the application material that your send to the university. The entire application material includes:

  • Financial Documents to prove that you are financially capable of funding your education and stay abroad
  • Academic Transcripts for every qualification that you have undergone to serve as a proof of education
  • Standardised exams score: GRE/GMAT/SAT and IELTS/TOEFL/PTE as per the university requirements
  • Supporting Documents: SOPLORAcademic CVEssay, etc. that are required by the university to evaluate you profile
  • Valid Passport

NOTE : If you have more than one backlog certificate, then you need to provide all of them to the admission committee. It is not necessary that university would settle with the latest backlog certificate unlike transcripts.

How does a backlog certificate differ from an academic transcript?

Academic transcripts consists of the score of all the subjects you have had in your course of study. Backlog certificate has scores of only the subjects you had a backlog in.

In most of the cases, you need to provide a combined transcript that contains marks of all the semester/years. In general, when the final-year mark sheet has all the scores of your three/four years of academic degree, you do not need to provide mark sheet for every semester/year. However, you need to provide as many backlog certificates as you have received throughout that course/degree.

Under what condition is a Backlog Certificate required?

The admission committee of any university across the globe may ask for a backlog certificate. It is irrespective of the fact whether you have a low or a higher number of backlogs. In some regions like Australia, these are required to serve as a proof of the fact that you have zero backlogs.

What to do if you have no backlogs?

A common question we come across is what needs to be done if a student has no/zero backlogs. In this case, you need to see which country you are applying to.

For instance, Canadian Universities do not ask for a backlog certificate if you had no backlogs. Your academic transcript in itself is a proof that you had passed all your exams.

On the other hand, in countries like Australia and New Zealand, you need to reach out your academic institute to procure a ‘zero backlog’ certificate to prove as a clearance of your academic records. This is mandatory in the universities of Australia and New Zealand.

Where the backlogs matter and where they do not?

If you have a few of backlogs, you may have the following doubts :

  • How backlogs are counted in every country?
  • Which countries are strict and which are lenient towards backlogs acceptance
  • How many backlogs are accepted in which country?

Which countries are strict towards backlogs?
To categorize the global universities region-wise, it would be ideal to say that backlogs play a huge role in your profile evaluation American, Canadian, or Australian Universities. Considering the fact that these are the most popular and cherish able regions for studying abroad, the universities in these countries demand the best profiles from across the globe.

Is it possible to study in USA with backlogs? How many backlogs are allowed in the USA?
As most of us know, the US universities give preference to candidates with zero backlogs, there is always a scope for students who can be selected with a maximum of 5 backlogs by some universities. In case of 7-8 backlogs, the loophole is to score well in the GRE exam (somewhere form 315–325) to get selected by a few reputed US universities. For students who want to study in USA with more than 8 backlogs, it is suggested to take some external help for finding some of the fine institutes before making an application to save their time, efforts and money.

Are Canadian Universities strict towards accepting backlogs? How many backlogs are allowed in Canada?
The Canadian universities may consider up to 5 backlogs in your under-graduation but only if you have a minimum score of 70%. Though there are always exceptions, for applicants with 7-8 backlogs, there are some universities that require you to have a minimum of 65% undergraduate score. For the PG aspirants with 10-12 backlogs, options are available in PG Diploma courses, not the Degree ones.

Do Australian Universities have tough criteria for selecting students with backlogs? How many backlogs are allowed in Australia?
The private colleges of Australia do not consider students with more than 7-8 backlogs, while the leading colleges or the Go8 Universities accept at most 3 backlogs. If you have 8 or more backlogs, chances of being selected are higher in the non-private colleges of Australia.

Note : Australian universities count the number of attempts you have made to clear one exam/subject. For more information, read Australian Universities accepting backlogs.

Do backlogs matter in Germany?
German universities pertain to strict guidelines while accepting applications from students with backlogs, with renowned ones not accepting backlogs at all.

Note : Some of the lenient universities accept up to 5 backlogs, but likewise Australia, they count the number of attempts you had to make to clear a single backlog/subject.

Do Universities in Ireland give importance to backlogs?
Some colleges in Ireland may consider candidates with 4-5 backlogs, while some renowned institutions would still reject the applicants with 2-3 backlogs. For more details, read Irish Universities Accepting Backlogs.

Which countries accept maximum backlogs?
Everything has loopholes. Luckily, there are some lenient regions abroad that do not give much importance to backlogs. They can rather be impressed with students’ overall personalities and extracurricular profiles. Some of the popular study abroad destinations, that is the UK and New Zealand, do not have such difficult selection criteria for a profile evaluation. Universities do not give much consideration to the college backlogs.

Does United Kingdom accept backlogs?
The best part of the UK universities is that students can easily try out their luck even if they have 15 backlogs, however, they are required to have a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 along with a good GRE score. Find out which universities accept 5-10 backlogs and which universities accept more than 15 backlogs

Note : The influential UK universities do not have any scope for applicants with backlogs, even if they have an outstanding IELTS or GRE score.

Is it true that New Zealand Universities offer flexibility in accepting students with backlogs?
The universities in New Zealand may accept up to 4 backlogs, but colleges and institutes would consider your application even with 15 backlogs. In both cases, your score in IELTS and a list of extracurricular activities along with research projects would play a vital role. Read : New Zealand universities accepting backlogs

Irrespective of the region it falls in, each university has its own selecting procedure the candidates with backlogs, it is hence suggested to check the university prospectus to learn about their selection norms.

An interesting fact about the selection norms in some colleges is that there are numerous colleges that do not give much consideration to your previous academic failures but focus on your overall personality. They give consideration to your active participation in the extracurricular activities and non-academic achievements such as sports recognitions, presentational or leadership records, etc. Things like research projects, work experience or internships, training certifications, etc. also recompense for your backlogs.

All this can be well-explained through the supporting documents that you require during the application procedure, such as SOPsAdmission EssaysLORsCVs, etc. which also prove helpful while applying for scholarships.

Will backlogs affect your Visa processing?
In general, backlogs will not affect the Visa processing and the visa interview for any country. As long your university accepts you and gives you a confirmed admission, you will not have any problems with a Visa. If any questions about your backlogs are brought up during the interview, be confident and honest with your answer.