Tips to Clear Backlogs in Engineering

8 minute read
Backlogs in Engineering

Engineering is one of India’s most popular careers that attracts a flock of students year after year. A degree in engineering is a prized possession and a matter of prestige for most people. However, whilst pursuing the course, backlogs can be a daunting prospect for many students. A backlog is referred to an exam or a failed course that is yet to be cleared. It is also looked upon as work which has not been completed or needs to be completed. In case you wish to study abroad, you need to have a backlog certificate. Here in this blog, we cover everything about backlogs in engineering.

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What is a Backlog?

A backlog simply refers to an exam you were unable to clear in the first attempt and must appear for it again in order to complete your graduation. For instance, if you failed A paper in your first semester, it is a backlog and you must clear that exam in the upcoming semester in order to remove the backlog from your academic record. Students can be promoted to the next semester despite having a backlog; the idea is to ensure the student does not waste an entire year and has the benefit of appearing for the exam again in the future. 

What are the Different Ways of Counting Backlogs?

  • The common and universally accepted way is to count the number of exams you failed as the number of backlogs in an academic year. For instance, if you were unable to clear 5 exams in your overall academic history then it is counted as 5 backlogs regardless of the number of attempts it took to clear the exams. Countries like India, the USA, the UK and Canada count backlogs as the number of subjects you failed.  
  • Some countries like Australia and Germany view backlogs as the number of attempts used while clearing an exam. For instance, if you have 5 exams you failed to clear and used only 1 attempt each to clear those exams then the number of backlogs are 5.

Types of Backlogs in Engineering

Before we understand backlogs in engineering, let us look at the types of backlogs. Typically, there are 2 types of backlogs, namely:

  • Active backlogs: Active backlogs are the subjects in which one has failed in, and are yet to be covered.
  • Dead backlogs: Dead backlogs, on the other hand, are those subjects in which one has failed in but have been cleared successfully.

One may get backlogs for numerous reasons such as ill-health, missed lectures or simply lack of preparation. Anyway, backlogs’ presence is worrisome and difficult to remedy and must be cleared to obtain the degree. Here are a few tips on how to clear backlogs in engineering.

Tips to Avoid Backlogs in Engineering

YouTube: Ujjwal Kumar Sen

Nobody wants to have backlogs, especially backlogs in engineering. Mentioned below are tips to avoid them with ease. 

Stay Calm

The presence of backlogs can sure be nerve-wracking. However, it is important to remain calm and not beat yourself over your present situation lest you want your nerves to impede your performance. Remember, there is no point crying over what has already happened. If you find yourself dwelling on negative thoughts, remind yourself to focus on the present and not the past.

Identify and Understand your Subject’s Nature

To avoid backlogs in engineering, you need to understand your topics nature. Before beginning the preparation, it is important to gather your syllabus and list down the content and then identify the nature of the content (whether the topic’s nature is theoretical, numerical or consisting of derivations). The nature of your preparation will vary depending on the nature of the material you will be studying.

Keep the Necessary Study Material Ready

Whilst preparing for backlogs in engineering, it is often advised not to refer to way too many publications as it may cram your preparation. It is advisable to use the textbook and only a couple of other trusted publications for your practices. Additionally, make sure you refer to the past question papers that are at least five years old. That will give you an idea on the pattern of questions and help you streamline your preparations.

Prioritize your Workload

When studying for backlogs in engineering or working towards avoiding them, make sure that you start your preparation from the most straightforward subject, eventually moving to more challenging concepts. This strategy’s psychology is that preparing for more straightforward subjects/content can serve as a morale booster and bolster your motivation. This strategy also increases your preparation pace, as you will be done with more straightforward concepts sooner and will have ample time to devote to more problematic ideas.

Creating a Realistic Study Schedule

Remember to balance your preparation between the backlogs and the upcoming semesters. Please do not give your undivided attention to backlogs alone as ignoring your semester might lead you to flunking them, thus creating additional backlogs.

Notes Make All the Difference

The quality of the notes you make at your preparation time will pay dividends at your exam time and help you drastically avoid backlogs in engineering. In the case of theory, make sure to jot down all the keywords in your concepts. In numericals, practise questions of different types instead of focusing only on a single type of problem. Derivations are the type of questions that require immense practice, therefore make sure to write and practise them several times until you are well versed. Do not forget to practise the diagrams as the presence of maps on your paper can fetch you brownie points.

Quality over Quantity

While appearing for your exams, do not give excessive importance to filling up your answer paper. Ensure the content to be concise, to the point and highlight all the keywords in the concept. It is also advisable to present your answer in pointers, and such a presentation adds to the appeal.

How to Avoid Backlogs in Engineering?

To help you avoid backlogs in engineering, we have mentioned some tips which help you avoid these bumps in your education. Some important habits students can inculcate to avoid backlogs include the ones mentioned below. You can have a look here: 

  • Attend your classes regularly. Some colleges may be very particular about attendance, and a low attendance may make you ineligible to appear for exams, therefore creating backlogs.
  • It is important to keep your notes updated as it can be an excellent material while doing last-minute revision for exams.
  • Make sure all your doubts are cleared as and when they arise. In a subject like engineering, a lot of the concepts are interrelated. Thus doubts in your initial concepts can hamper your understanding as the class progresses.
  • It is necessary to be disciplined and maintain a study schedule on a daily basis. This will lower your stress at the time of your exam.
  • Solve as many question papers as possible as practice makes one perfect!

How to Recover from Backlogs in the First Year of Engineering?

Backlogs in engineering can be overwhelming. Students have to appear for additional exams apart from the required exams of a specific semester. This added tension can make anyone feel hopeless and dejected but it is important to not give up and learn from your mistakes. Remember to be consistent in your preparation, work hard and try to stay on top of your classes so that you don’t miss out on important lectures and notes.  Working hard is the only way to ensure that you don’t get any more backlogs in your coming semesters. 

Can Backlogs Affect my Chances of Getting an Internship/Job?

Backlogs do impact your chances of getting an internship/job. Engineering is a fiercely competitive field and candidates with active backlogs may find it hard to grab the best internships and companies. It is always better to clear all your backlogs before joining or appearing for an interview. However, most companies look at the overall profile of a candidate rather than just their academic history while there are some companies like TCS that require all candidates to clear their exams in the first attempt. But, If you are hardworking and knowledgeable about your field of interest then nothing can stop you! 

Can a Backlog in One Subject During my Engineering Course Ruin my Career?

No, one backlog cannot ruin your future career. Backlogs are common in some competitive courses like engineering and medical. Students, rather than repeating their entire semester, have the option of reappearing for an exam they failed in the next semester ‘to clear their backlog’. Backlogs are a chance to remedy one’s marks and build upon a stronger academic profile. It is always best to stay calm and complete for backlogs in the first attempt in order to not feel burdened with the stress and anxiety of a backlog. 

What are the Disadvantages of Having a Backlog in the First Semester?

The biggest disadvantage of having a backlog in the first year of engineering is increased workload. Students have to clear additional exams in their next semester and this increased workload can be stressful. Another disadvantage is that some companies require students to have a clear record, a backlog in your academic record can affect your employment chances with some companies.  

Effects of Backlogs on Study Abroad Plans

Backlogs in courses like Engineering, Medicine and Computer Science are common. Getting a backlog is not the end of the world, there are various countries like the US, UK, Germany, Ireland and Canada that accept students with backlogs. Students who have backlogs can make up for them by showing progress in their academics, study abroad application and statement of purpose. 


What is the meaning of backlog in engineering?

A backlog in engineering is an exam you did not pass in the first attempt and must appear for it again in the later semesters to get your final degree at the end of four years.

Does the presence of backlogs in engineering affect the internship and job opportunities in the future?

No. As long as you have cleared all your backlogs before stepping into an organization for your job or internship, it does not. However, different companies have different criteria when it comes to backlogs. While some allow 1 active backlog others may allow only dead backlogs. You may also be answerable to the company at the time of interview. However, a backlog is completely irrelevant at a later stage of your life. Nobody bothers you about your backlog as long as you have cleared them before you finish your course.

Does the presence of a backlog impact my higher education abroad?

No. You can study abroad with backlogs. Backlogs are quite a common phenomenon amongst students and are accepted in almost every other university. However it is important to note that different universities may have different tolerance and standards of acceptance. Therefore it is important to your research before applying to universities of your choice. 

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This was all about backlogs in engineering. We hope this blog helps you in planning and working on your subjects in a better manner. Engineering is a course that needs a rigorous and planned course of study. Need help in applying to engineering colleges abroad? Get in touch with our experts at Leverage Edu. They will help you step by step in setting the right foot towards the career of your dreams. For more riveting content, follow us on Facebook, Youtube, Instagram and LinkedIn

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