Assessment and exam arrangements: summer 2021

There are some important changes to how we are organising exams and assessments this summer.

Every course has its own pattern of assessments. The detailed information is available in your unit handbooks and on Blackboard.

Some of you will have exams and other timed assessments, others may only have coursework assignments with specified submission deadlines.

Preparing for online exams and timed assessments

  • Take time to review the advice available in our online and open book exams resource.  It looks at how to prepare and revise effectively for exams and what to do on the day.
  • Check out our other study skills resources including advice about studying from home.
  • Give yourself enough time to submit your work by the deadline in case you have any difficulties in electronic submission. Use the practice opportunities if your school provides them.
  • Ensure you can access your assessment wherever you are studying or email: if you have any concerns about doing this.

Assessment periods

The formal summer assessment periods in the academic year 2020-21 are:

  • Monday 24 May to Monday 14 June
  • Reassessment period: Monday 16 to Thursday 26 August

Most exams and timed assessments are scheduled during these period.

Some exams and timed assessments will take place in the week beginning Monday 17 to Friday 21 May.

Your school will tell you if there are variations specific to your programme of study.

Coursework deadlines may be scheduled at any point during the academic year. The details will appear in your unit pages within Blackboard or in other unit documentation.

The short reassessment period in August is for resits and for students who were unable to take exams or timed assessments at the scheduled time. The standard deadline for outstanding coursework requirements is Monday 16 August. No extensions are possible after Thursday 26 August.

Wherever possible, we advise you to:

  • take exams and timed assessments at the scheduled time, and
  • submit coursework by the normal deadline.


All exams are online this year.

There are a few exceptions in some practical subjects. Your school will tell you if there are any course-specific arrangements like this.

Some schools will run timed online exams where you will need to submit your answer by a specified deadline.

Arrangements for your exam will be on the Blackboard page for your unit.

Exam start time

Your exam will commence at 9:45am, British Summer Time (BST). If you are unable to start at this time because:

  • you are in a later time zone
  • you have particular circumstances such as caring responsibilities.

You may be allowed to begin your exam at 3.45pm, BST. To request a later start, please contact your school office before 5pm on 27th April.

Exam spaces on campus

A number of desks will be available to reserve on the campus for you to take your exam, if you are not able to take it at home. Details on how to book these will be released shortly.

Get your exam paper

  • You can download your exam paper from the Blackboard unit site up to one working day before the exam starts. The paper will be password protected.
  • We will email you the password for the paper about 10 minutes before the exam starts.

Time allowed for the exam

The exam paper will show how much time you have to complete the paper. If you have alternative arrangements agreed in advance, you may be entitled to extra time in line with your Disability Support Statement. In most exams, you will have 1 extra hour to upload your answers. Normally this will be to Blackboard.

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) exams may run on a separate software programme. If this is the case, you will not need to upload these answers to Blackboard. These exams are already timed to include the technical requirements and do not need an extra hour.

Items allowed during your exam

You can use your notes, textbooks and any online materials but you should not communicate with other students during the exam.

You do not need to provide a reference for either your own notes or any University of Bristol teaching materials. You should provide a reference to any external sources you have used.

Online exams are like regular exams and will not usually require you to produce work which needs a large amount of research or references.

During the exam

If you have a technical difficulty before or during the exam, contact our service desk: tel: +44 (0) 117 374 2833 or email:

If you think there is a mistake on the exam paper, make a note in your answers. Your markers will take these comments into account when marking. Work through the question as best you can. Spend a sensible amount of time and move on to the next question. There is no need to contact either the Exams Office or your school.

At the end of the exam

The submission deadline will be available on the Blackboard page for your unit. If you have a technical difficulty uploading uploading your answers, contact our service desk: tel: +44 (0) 117 374 2833 or email:

If your technical difficulties prevent you from completing the assessment before it ends, please contact your School immediately.

Alternative Exam Arrangements (AEAs)

Your school will tell you your submission deadline if you have accepted alternative exam arrangements. You must submit your request for AEAs before the deadline.

The deadline to submit requests for the summer assessment period has already passed. The deadline for the reassessment period is 12 July. Find out more about Alternative Exam Arrangements.

Timed assessments

Some schools are running timed assessments instead of or as well as online exams and coursework. These are usually 7 days.

Your school will tell you how long you should expect to spend on each assessment. This will normally be a number of hours but may be longer. Plan your time carefully if you are working on more than one assessment in a week so that you give proportionate time to each. You can choose the best time to complete the assessment within the assessment window. This will help you balance this work with your other commitments.

Alternative Exam Arrangements (AEAs)

If you have more time allowed because of accepted AEAs, you will have an additional 2 days to complete your assessment. Your school will confirm the expected latest submission deadline.

Assessment information

  • You can download your paper from Blackboard unit site at the start of the assessment window.
  • We will tell you the submission deadline on the Blackboard unit site.
  • Aim to submit your work before the deadline in case you have technical difficulties uploading your answers. If you have a technical difficulty before or during the timed assessment, contact our service desk: tel: +44 (0) 117 374 2833 or email:

Exam timetables

We expect to publish the exams timetable on Tuesday 20 April.

We will send you an email with a link to 'SLS Exam Timetables'. Log in with your student number to get your personal timetable.

This will include details of timed online exams. It will not include details of timed assessments or other coursework requirements. Your schools will inform you about any timed assessments.

Plan your time

Make sure you know which other assessments you need to complete for units you are taking in Teaching Block 2. This information will be available in Blackboard or you can ask your school office if you are unsure.

You may find you have more than one timed assessment in a single week. If this is the case:

  • Plan your time during the week so you can spend the recommended time on each assessment.
  • Remember that you may also have one or more exams.

In the main summer assessment period we aim to make sure that no student will have more than 3 seven-day timed assessments at any one time, and will have no more than 3 assessments that start and finish within the same seven-day period (including exams).

If your timetable shows you have more than three, tell your school office. They will make alternative arrangements for you. This is most likely to be allowing extra time for one or more of the timed assessments.

The reassessment period is Monday 16 to Thursday 26 August and you need to complete any resits or deferred assessments during this period. The last submission date for academic work in the 2020/21 academic year is Thursday 26 August except for postgraduate dissertations. If, during this period, you are unable for any reason to:

  • complete all timed assessments and exams or,
  • submit any outstanding work

you may not be able to:

  • graduate this year or,
  • progress to the next year of study when the next academic year starts in September.

Assessment support options including extenuating circumstances

Special arrangements are in place if you fall ill before or during an exam or timed assessment, or if you are unable to start or complete an exam.

We have put in place a range of measures to cover this year’s particular arrangements. However, we recognise that some of you will need to make us aware of additional circumstances which have affected your studies.

These may or may not be related to Coronavirus.  Find out more about our assessment support and extenuating circumstances.

Academic integrity

We expect you to maintain the highest standards of academic integrity, as set out in the University Policy on Academic Integrity (PDF, 334kB) and the Student Agreement (PDF, 184kB).

  • You must not collaborate or work with anyone else on your exam, either physically or virtually.
  • The work submitted must be entirely your own.
  • We will view any instances of collusion as cheating and will take them very seriously.

Wellbeing and other support

We have a range of support available to you during the assessment period and throughout the year:

  • Your school office can answer specific queries about the arrangements for your assessments.
  • Your personal tutor or the school's senior tutor can support your progress through the year.
  • Our mental health and wellbeing services offer help and guidance if you are experiencing challenges, or want some extra support.
  • If you need wellbeing and mental health support, request wellbeing support.

Assessment support options

Advice and guidance on deadline extensions, extenuating circumstances and what to do if you are absent from teaching or exams.

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