Assessment support options

We want all our students to be able to succeed and want to support you if circumstances affect your studies.

Support available

If you are having difficulties accessing or engaging with learning or assessment contact your school so they can work with you to address them.

Find out where to get help and wellbeing support.

Support and reasonable adjustments for students with long-term health conditions are available from Disability Services.

The term disability includes any condition that might have a substantial, long-term impact on your studies. This includes learning difficulties and both physical and mental health conditions. Find out more about the support available from Disability Services.

We can make changes to the way you are taught and assessed so that you are not disadvantaged because of a disability. Contact Disability Services about possible reasonable adjustments to your taught sessions or assessments.

If you are a Study Abroad or Erasmus student, special arrangements apply if you are unable to complete assessments by the stated deadlines, or if you are absent during termtime. Check the information provided about your course, and if you are not sure contact global-opportunities@bristol.ac.uk.

Coursework due date extensions

Coursework covers assignments which are set some time before a specified due date. This is usually a few weeks but can be longer. Coursework is different from exams, timed assessments and practical assessments such as presentations, lab-based practicals and so on.

Because coursework submission deadlines are set some time in advance, you should plan your work so that submission is not delayed by a short-term circumstance such as a minor illness or other short disruption to your study.  Extensions are not permitted in these circumstances.

Your School will only be able to consider extension requests, submitted before the deadline, where you can show that a circumstance has had a significant and disproportionate effect on your ability to submit the coursework by the deadline.  If your circumstance does not have a significant impact, or if you would be unable to provide the evidence which would normally be expected in support, you should not apply for an extension.  

If you experience short-term illness: please note that the Student Health Service and other doctors will only be able to provide medical evidence if your illness is still apparent and needs treatment.  Normally, doctors will not certificate medical conditions which are shorter than a week in duration.  To protect the NHS, you should only approach a doctor if you need treatment.

If you need to request an extension because you are suffering from COVID-19, you should submit the confirmation of your infection. This may be the result of a PCR test, the record in your NHS app, or the formal notification by email or text of a positive COVID-19 Lateral Flow Test if you do not use the NHS app.  You should not need to approach a doctor solely to seek evidence to support your extension request. 

You may not be required to provide evidence if your extension request relates to an ongoing circumstance about which you have previously submitted evidence (such as a flare-up of an existing condition). If you suffer a bereavement following the death of a close relative or friend, we will not normally require evidence. If you are the victim of a crime which significantly disrupts your work you should provide evidence such as a police incident report or, if this is not readily available, contact the Student Wellbeing Service or the School's Senior Tutor for advice. 

You should also weigh the benefits of an extension against the risk of it impacting your ongoing studies.

If you want to apply for an extension you can submit a request for consideration using the Request a coursework extension form.

Aim to submit your extension request at least 1 working day before the submission time or you may not receive the outcome in time. Work to your current due date until the school has approved an extension.

Absence from exams or timed assessments

Exams

Exams are assessments which you have to complete and submit in a set time. You may be required to take your exam in an examination room, or online. We will email you when your exams timetable is available. Remember to check additionally the dates and deadlines for any coursework or timed assessments.

If you miss an exam

  • Tell the school which runs the unit you are being examined on before the exam starts. Check which school runs the unit.
  • Complete the self-certification form. This is available from your home school.
  • No supporting evidence is required.

If you self-certify your absence from an exam, you will need to take it again at the next opportunity. This is likely to be in the August reassessment period. If you missed an exam that would have been your first attempt, you will be able to take it on that basis for the full range of marks. If you miss an exam in the reassessment period, you will need to take it in the following academic year. This may delay your graduation or your progression into the next year of study.

If you start but are unable to complete an exam

  • If you are in the exam room, tell a member of staff. If you are doing an online exam, contact your school office before the exam ends.
  • Complete and submit an extenuating circumstances form explaining the situation.
  • Provide supporting evidence where possible.
  • If you don't submit an exam by the deadline, you will normally be required to take the exam again in the resit period.

Timed assessments

Timed assessments need to be completed and submitted in a fixed period of time which is normally four days.

Deadline extensions and late submissions are not allowed. 

If your performance during the assessment has been affected by illness or other cause 

  • Complete and submit an extenuating circumstances form explaining the situation.
  • Provide supporting evidence where possible.
  • If you don't submit a timed assessment by the deadline, you will normally be required to take the timed assessment again in the resit period.

Absence from teaching

If you miss an in-person or synchronous teaching session, tell your home school as soon as possible. Your home school will tell you if you need to submit a form.

If an absence from teaching has significantly impacted your performance in assessment complete and submit extenuating circumstances form explaining the situation.

Submit extenuating circumstances

If circumstances have affected your attendance or ability to complete assessments, you can ask the exam board to take them into consideration by submitting extenuating circumstances.

Examples may include:

  • a sudden illness
  • a flare up or worsening of a chronic condition or disability where adjustments in your Disability Support Summary are not sufficient or not yet in place
  • mental health difficulty that unexpectedly affects your studies
  • bereavement
  • unexpected responsibilities such caring for someone close to you or jury service.

You can submit extenuating circumstances if you have a health or personal issue that:

  • affected your attendance at an assessment or teaching
  • affected your performance in an assessment
  • caused you to miss a coursework deadline and you did not have an extension.

You don't need to submit extenuating circumstances if the circumstances have already been accounted for. This could be through:

  • a coursework extension
  • self-certification of absence
  • adjustment through a Disability Support Summary (DSS)

Find out when it might be appropriate to submit an extenuating circumstance. Find out how to submit extenuating circumstances.

What happens when you submit extenuating circumstances

If the school accepts your extenuating circumstances they will be considered by the Exam Board.

The Board will decide what to do in each individual case of extenuating circumstances when it meets. This is usually at the end of the academic year in June. If you complete your work in the August resit period, this will be early September.

Exam boards consider:

  • if your performance has been affected substantially and
  • how to take this into account and mitigate the impact for you.

Consideration of extenuating circumstances does not change any individual mark you receive for assessment. However, it may influence the overall decision taken by the Board of Examiners when it considers your academic progression or awards your qualification.

If your extenuating circumstances are accepted

The possible actions a school can take are in the Extenuating Circumstances Policy (from section 19.25).

If you have missed or not completed an assessment you may be required to take it again at the next opportunity. The assessment will be in the same format as the regular January and May/June assessment periods.

If you did not successfully complete an assessment that would have been your first attempt, you will be able to take it on that basis for the full range of marks.

If you are unable to complete and pass assessments in August for any reason you may not be able to:

  • complete your year of study in time to complete your degree
  • progress to the next year of study at the normal time.

If you want to discuss your options, talk to your personal tutor or the senior tutor in your school.

Supporting evidence required

You are required to submit supporting evidence.

This could be a medical note where you have received medical care, a death certificate if you have suffered a bereavement, or a police incident report form. Other documentation may be appropriate in other cases. Schools will not normally accept extenuating circumstances or grant extension requests where evidence is not provided.

Medical certificates

If you suffered from illness, injury or received medical treatment, you should submit medical evidence to support your request. 

Please don't submit images (including photos, x-rays, ultrasound scans, etc.) of your body or sustained injuries. Proof of illness or injury should come in the form of a medical note from your practitioner. Your School's Extenuating Circumstances Committee will use that (in conjunction with your own explanation) to establish the level of impact that your circumstances have had on your academic performance. 

The Students' Health Service can provide medical certificates if required. To request one, email L81133.admin@nhs.net. Tell them why you need a medical certificate and if you need further support from the University. However, please do not approach the Students' Health Service or another medical practitioner unless you have an ongoing situation for which you need treatment. Your School will not accept a doctor's statement that you have reported a condition retrospectively. The Health Service typically does not provide sick notes or medical certificates for minor ailments (coughs, colds) of less than a week's duration. If you need to report a COVID-19 infection, you should submit your confirmation of this. This may be the result of a PCR test, the record in your NHS app, or the formal notification by email or text of a positive COVID-19 Lateral Flow Test if you do not use the NHS app.  You should not need to approach a doctor solely to confirm an already-diagnosed COVID infection. 

Provide a clear explanation of the impact

You must explain the impact of the circumstance on your studies and or/assessment. This will help us understand how you have been affected, and decide what mitigation is appropriate or if we can provide other support. 

If you do not provide enough explanation of the circumstance or why additional mitigation is needed, your request may be rejected.

Study Abroad or Erasmus students

Our process for dealing with missed exams or assessments does not apply to visiting students. You are not able to resit any exams or defer any work. This applies to units across all schools and faculties.

If you have missed an exam or assessment email: global-opportunities@bristol.ac.uk.

How we store your data

Any personal information you share with the University as part of extenuating circumstances, self-certification of absence or coursework extension process (including forms and evidence) will be stored securely in accordance with the Data Protection Act. It will only be seen by a small number of individuals. These individuals will be members of your school's Extenuating Circumstances Committee (ECC) or supporting administrators.  In line with the Data Protection Act, you must not include personal data about someone else in your form or evidence unless you have their permission to do so. 

You may not want to disclose the details of your circumstance on the form or by submitting evidence if it is sensitive and distressing for you. Contact your school and they will arrange for you to talk to an appropriate member of staff who can advise you on how to proceed.

Help completing a form

Talk to the Students' Union's Just Ask advice service if you need help completing a form.

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