Assessment support and extenuating circumstances

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

This page has been updated to be in line with the mitigation package published to students on 15 January 2021.

The guidance below applies to the 2020/21 academic year. The ability to defer an assessment as part of the package does not apply to Study Abroad or Erasmus students.

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.

If you are self-isolating look at our teaching and learning in self isolation guidance.

Support and reasonable adjustments for students with long-term health conditions is 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.

As part of the January mitigation package, if you are already registered for Alternative Exam Arrangements you will automatically be given two additional days to complete a timed assessment. Where the new deadline falls on a weekend, the deadline is extended to the next working day.

Request a coursework deadline extension

Coursework covers assignments which are set some time before a specified deadline. This is usually a few weeks but can be longer. Coursework is different from exams and timed assessments.

As part of the January mitigation package, if you need it, you can request a guaranteed one-week extension to your submission deadline, without the need to provide evidence.

If you are still unable to meet the deadline for a piece of coursework for good reason you may request a longer extension. Evidence is not required but may be provided. The school will review your request for a longer extension and tell you the outcome.

If you wish to request a coursework deadline extension:

  1. Complete a coursework extension request form. The school that owns the unit will tell you which the correct form is.
  2. Check which school runs the unit that you would like an extension for.
  3. Submit your request form to the school before the coursework submission deadline set by the school.

You do not need to provide evidence for an extension, but you do need to request it before your submission deadline.

Absence from exams or timed assessments

Exams

Exams are assessments which you have to complete and submit in a set time. We allow one hour as standard at the end of each online exam to upload your work and manage any technical issues. This does not apply to a small number of practical exams or those which are run within a bespoke programme.

This applies to both online or in-person exams.

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.

You will need to take the exam again at the next opportunity. This is likely to be August 2021. 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 start but are unable to complete an exam

Timed assessments

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

As part of the January mitigation package, you can defer your timed assessment if you are unwell or there is some other situation which means you cannot complete your assessment. You can do this by self-certifying, which means you do not need to provide evidence. You will be expected to take the deferred assessment(s) in the resit period.

Deadline extensions are not allowed. However, your school may change the deadline if you have several overlapping deadlines for timed assessments which may include exams. Contact your school office if this is the case.

If you are unable to start due to illness or other cause

Tell the school before you open the assessment.

  • Complete the self-certification form. This is available from your home school.
  • No supporting evidence is required.

If you have started but are unable to complete and submit by the deadline

Tell the school before the assessment ends.

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.

Request extenuating circumstances

If personal circumstances have affected your performance in assessment, you can ask the exam board to take these into account.

We will only consider your request if your circumstances:

  • are personal to you
  • are in addition to any special arrangements that were put in place for your assessments

How to make a request

  • Complete an extenuating circumstances form. This is available from your school. 
  • As part of the January mitigation package, no supporting evidence is required for any COVID-19-related extenuating circumstances in the 2020/21 academic year but you may include it if you have it.
  • Regardless, it is important you explain clearly on the form why you think your circumstances should be taken into account. 

More information about how to complete the form is available in the supporting evidence section.

What happens when you submit extenuating circumstances

If the school accepts your extenuating circumstances it 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.

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).

You may be required to take the assessment again at the next opportunity. This is usually the following August; where the assessment is an exam. You must be available during this period. 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 normally required to submit supporting evidence where it is available.

However, as part of the January mitigation package you are not required to submit evidence for any COVID-19-related extenuating circumstances in the 2020/21 academic year. You may include it if you have it. This could be a medical note where you have received medical care or a police incident report form.

For extenuating circumstances unrelated to COVID-19, you may be asked to provide supporting evidence if it is needed and likely to be available. You can also self-certificate absence from an exam or timed-assessment if you are unwell or there is some other situation that means you cannot complete your assessment.

Provide a clear explanation of the impact

Schools will accept extenuating circumstances or grant extension requests where evidence is not provided. However, 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 mitigation is needed, your request may be rejected.

Contact Just Ask the Students' Union Advice and Support service if you need help completing a form.

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.

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