What academic assessments are Extenuating Circumstances considered for?
If you do not submit academic assessments by the required deadline, you will usually be given a mark of zero, or a reduced mark after a late penalty has been deducted. If you are unable to meet the deadline due to extenuating circumstances you either need to be granted a deadline extension, or have a valid extenuating circumstances claim confirmed by your Subject Exam Board (SEB), in order to avoid receiving a reduced or zero mark.
Each academic school has its own procedures for dealing with late submission of academic assessments, and these procedures are normally described in the handbook for the academic school responsible for the module. If you do not know what the procedures are, you must find out. The best place to start is the academic school’s website, administrator or student support officer. This system may change in 2018/19, when a university wide system may be implemented, so check up to date details with your academic school.
There are two main systems for submitting assessments later than the published deadline if you have extenuating circumstances. You will need to check with your academic school which system applies to you.
Requesting a deadline extension
This is where you are given a later deadline (an ‘extension’) to submit your work. Whether or not you are granted an extension, and the duration of that extension, is for the academic school responsible for that module to decide. The information that you can provide about your extenuating circumstances will enable them to make their decision. You should always ask for an extension before the required deadline for submission.
If you are unable to meet the new deadline, you must talk to the academic school concerned again, about a further extension. Extensions can only be granted for a reasonable period of time e.g. you cannot submit your work after the answers have been released to other students, and / or other students have received feedback on their work.
If you have had extenuating circumstances and you fail to submit your work by the deadline without an agreed extension, you must contact the academic school responsible for the module as soon as possible and provide an explanation with supporting evidence if necessary. Your academic school may consider marking your work rather than giving you an automatic fail or reduced mark. However, you would need to have compelling extenuating circumstances and good reasons for not requesting an extension before the deadline. This situation is rare and you are strongly advised to always request an extension in advance of the deadline.
Submitting an extenuating circumstances claim for consideration by the Subject Exam Board
Some schools do not operate a deadline extension system. Instead, you submit an extenuating circumstances claim, with supporting documentation, to your academic school. Your Subject Exam Board (SEB) will meet after the exam period and will confirm which extenuating circumstances claims have been approved. This means that you will not know until after the exam period has passed whether your extenuating circumstances have been accepted as a valid reason for not submitting your assessment by the deadline. However, it is still advisable to speak to your tutor before the coursework deadline, so that they are aware of your situation and can advise you accordingly.
Attendance at exams
Remember that if you take an exam knowing that you are unwell, any extenuating circumstances claim you make will normally be rejected. See: What is the ‘fit to sit’ policy? above.
If you are having difficulties, and feel that you are not fit to take exams, you should try to arrange a formal interruption of study. The deadline for this is the last working day before the start of revision week, which in the 2018/19 academic year is Friday 20th April 2018. If your academic school approves your interruption of study, you will be able to take your exams at a later date. Interrupting your studies usually means that you will resume your studies at the same point the following academic year. For more information about interrupting your studies please see the Advice and Counselling Service’s guide: Resitting, interrupting or leaving your course. There is a guide for home and EU students, and also one for international students.
If you are too late to apply for an interruption of study and you are not fit to sit exams, you will need to submit an extenuating circumstances claim with supporting documentation to your academic school. Your Subject Exam Board (SEB) will meet after the exams have taken place and will confirm which extenuating circumstances claims have been approved. This means that you will not know until after your exam period has passed whether your extenuating circumstances have been accepted as a valid reason for you being absent from your exams.
It is therefore helpful for you to seek guidance from your personal adviser, or other student support staff in your academic school, about your extenuating circumstances and the documentation you have been able to get to confirm these, although the formal decision about whether your extenuating circumstances have been accepted will not be confirmed until the SEB has met. See the sections later in this guide on extenuating circumstances documentation, for information about what you need to provide. The Academic Advice Service in the Queen Mary University of London Students’ Union, can offer you advice about your extenuating circumstances application form statement, and the strength of your documentary evidence. See the Advice and Support section of this guide for contact details.
Becoming unwell during an exam
If you are fit to sit an exam but you unexpectedly become ill during the exam and are unable to continue, you still need to submit an extenuating circumstances claim with documentary evidence. You will need to wait until the outcome of the SEB to see if your circumstances are accepted as a good reason for not completing the exam.
Law, regulations and policies can change quickly. The information on our website is given in good faith and has been carefully checked but QMUL cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions. QMUL is not responsible for the content or reliability of the linked websites which are provided for further information.