Documenting Extenuating Circumstances

During your studies you may experience difficulties which could affect your academic performance. Such difficulties are known as ‘extenuating circumstances’ and may include: medical problems, including long-term conditions or short periods of illness; personal problems or difficult events e.g. bereavement; and serious incidents e.g. being affected by crime.

Any extenuating circumstances which you report in advance of the final exam period will be considered by the Departmental Examination Board and may be taken into account when calculating your results and determining your final degree classification.

Serious Illness/Extenuating Circumstances: Not Assessed

If your work on a module has been seriously impaired, the Examinations Officer may be able to declare you 'not assessed' for a module, which enables you to sit the examination during the summer re-sit period as a first attempt. This means that any mark you achieve will not be capped at 40% (as is normally the case in a re-sit). You will need to support your case with an Extenuating Circumstances Form and submit it to the SEAS General Office by the end of the relevant semester. Evidence submitted after this time cannot be considered at the Exam Board and will need to become the subject of an appeal. Exam Boards take place at the end of February and the end of June. Any information you submit will be treated as confidential and will not be used for any other purpose. See the Extenuating Circumstances section of the Examination Conventions for further details.

Examinations and Illness

Regulation 2.1 of the Examination Conventions states that:

It is the responsibility of students to notify their tutors and supervisors, or other appropriate departmental staff, at the earliest opportunity if there are any extenuating circumstances that might have a bearing on their examination performance. Students should provide notification by completion and submission of a Special Circumstances Form, along with any additional relevant documentary evidence where appropriate. All medical evidence should be submitted using an Extenuating Circumstances Form to the SEAS General Office or, in the case of Dual degrees, to your home department as soon as possible after an illness and (except in the case of illness on the day of an examination) before any affected examination deadline. Significant personal evidence should be reported in the same way.

Evidence received after the Exam Board for the relevant semester can only be considered as part of the appeals process.

  • If you fall ill on the day of an examination, you must contact the School as a matter of urgency, and provide evidence as soon as possible confirming that you were ill and unable to take the examination.
  • If you are ill in the period immediately before the examinations and feel that your work has been seriously affected, you must provide medical evidence.
  • If you feel ill during an examination, you must inform the invigilator so that your condition can be taken into account.

Guidance on submitting an Extenuating Circumstances Form

For guidance on forms, where to find them and how to submit them, see our absences and illness page on Extenuating Circumstances and Deadline Difficulties.

For ongoing problems, or if your circumstances have had a severe impact on your work, we also encourage you to speak to your personal tutor who can advise on what information to include in forms and direct you to sources of support outside the School where appropriate.

All evidence of extenuating circumstances is treated in confidence. If you have questions about how this information will be used by the Exam Board, or would like to discuss the situation in more detail, you should contact the Examinations Officer who chairs the Extenuating Circumstances Board and presents its decisions to the Exam Board.