Missed exam or assessment

How to self-certify your absence if you do not feel well enough to sit an exam or assessment. 

You can self-certify your absence from in-person and online exams, practical and oral examinations, and multiple-choice question (MCQ) tests that take place on a single day.

You cannot self-certify from coursework, timed assessments, or assessments that take place over more than 24 hours.

If you self-certify your absence from an exam or assessment that would have been your first attempt, you will normally be able to take it at the next available opportunity for the full range of marks.

If you miss an exam or assessment in the reassessment period, you will need to take it in the following academic year. This may delay your graduation or progression into the next year of study. 

Who can submit

  • undergraduate students
  • postgraduate taught students
  • postgraduate research students taking taught units.

Study Abroad students are not able to resit work at Bristol, so are unable to self-certify an absence from an exam or assessment. Instead, refer to the exceptional circumstances process for Study Abroad students.

When to self-certify

Aim to take your exams at the scheduled time.

Self-certification forms must be submitted by 11:59 pm (UK time) on the day of the assessment.

Forms can be submitted in advance but this should ordinarily be no more than 24 hours before the start time of the assessment. You must submit a separate form for each missed assessment.

Within an assessment period, the use of self-certification is limited. You can self-certify to cover your absence for a maximum of one period of up to two consecutive days. This means you can only do one of the following in any assessment period:

  • self-certify for a single assessment on a single day
  • self-certify for multiple assessments that take place on the same day
  • self-certify for multiple assessments that span two consecutive calendar days.

If you have done any of the above, further self-certification will not be allowed for the remainder of the assessment period.

If you did not submit your form by the end of the day, or you have reached the limit on how many you can submit exceptional circumstances instead.

Individual schools may also have additional rules about how many self-certification forms you can submit for exams that take place outside of the main assessment periods. Your school will confirm these rules with you.

How to self-certify

Submit a self-certification

  1. Select submit and review your self-certifications to access the self-certifications screen, where you can see any previously confirmed self-cert submissions from this academic year.
  2. To make a new self-cert submission, select submit self-certification and then select the relevant exam or assessment from the list.
  3. The form will not display assessments where:
    • the self-certification submission deadline has passed (for example, if the assessment took place yesterday)
    • you have already exceeded the limit on submission of self-certifications per assessment period
    • the assessment is not eligible for self-certification (e.g. coursework or timed assessment).

Some assessments may not appear if they take place on different days for different students (e.g. an oral presentation given in a tutorial). If this is the case for the assessment you wish to self-certify for, select my exam is not listed box and enter the necessary details:

  • unit
  • name of exam/assessment
  • exam date and
  • exam time.

You do not need to submit evidence to self-certify from an exam or assessment. You will need to take the exam or assessment at the next opportunity, likely to be in the August reassessment period. 

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 exceptional 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 reassessment period.
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