Guidelines and Form for
Undergraduate Students making a request for Extenuating
Circumstances to be drawn to the attention of a Board of Examiners
link for the form is at the bottom of this page, please make sure
you read these guidelines before completing the form
What does the University define
as 'Extenuating Circumstances'
How do I inform the Board of
What is an Extenuating Circumstances Committee?
How much information do I need to include?
What documentary evidence do I need to provide?
What circumstances are not taken into account?
What is a Board of Examiners?
How are extenuating circumstances
judged by a Board of Examiners?
What action can the Board of
What action will not be taken by
a Board of Examiners?
Data Protection Act 1998
Equality Act 2010
Professional Suitability and Fitness
Where can I get more guidance
Link to forms
A What does
the University define as ‘Extenuating Circumstances’?
Extenuating circumstances are formally defined as
“circumstances beyond the student’s control which cause the student
to perform less well in his or her coursework or examinations than he
or she might otherwise have been expected to do (on the basis of other
work). In general, extenuating circumstances will be of a medical or
personal nature affecting the student for any significant period of
time and/or during the examination period.”
It is important to realise that only the most
serious extenuating circumstances will have any significant impact on
your overall performance, particularly when degree classifications are
being considered as these are based on at least 2 years’ work.
Therefore the Board of Examiners is unlikely to take any action unless
it believes that the extenuating circumstances have had a material
effect. A Board of Examiners can only make judgements about the
impact of extenuating circumstances in light of evidence of your
academic ability demonstrated in non-affected work. Boards cannot
make judgements about your potential to have gained a higher mark if
there is no evidence in the rest of your performance to support this.
Furthermore, unless it appears that the extenuating circumstances have
had a material affect on your results, the Board of Examiners is
unlikely to take any action. You should therefore consider this
carefully before submitting a form. (See also section H for
details on how the Board judges extenuating circumstances claims).
For claims of extenuating circumstances relating
to your inability to submit coursework by the deadline and to request
for your marks to instated, you should read
the Guidelines on Late Submission of
Coursework and complete the Late Submission of Coursework form.
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do I inform the Board of Examiners?
It is your responsibility to inform the Board of
Examiners about extenuating circumstances. You can do this by
completing an Extenuating Circumstances Form which will be considered by
an Extenuating Circumstances Committee who will then make
recommendations to the Board of Examiners regarding the effect your
circumstances have had on your performance (including non-submission
of work or absence from an exam).
Although you may have previously
discussed your difficulties with staff in your department, this does
not in itself constitute the submission of extenuating circumstances.
You must formally submit an Extenuating Circumstances Form for the
Board of Examiners to consider; informal notification will not be
considered by the Board. You need to complete an Extenuating
Circumstances Form which must be
returned to either the Registry (Colchester Campus), the Student
Administration Office (Southend Campus) or the Academic Administrator
(Loughton Campus) by the published
deadline. We cannot guarantee that forms submitted after this date
will be referred to the Extenuating Circumstances Committee
or sent directly to a Board of Examiners.
It is essential to inform the Board of any extenuating
circumstances before it meets because you cannot subsequently appeal against
any decision of the Board of Examiners on the grounds of extenuating circumstances if you could
reasonably have been expected to inform the Board in advance. It is
also your responsibility to explain fully the impact of extenuating
circumstances on your work. If you do not sufficiently explain their
impact then you cannot subsequently appeal and ask the Board to
consider additional information.
C What is an Extenuating
Extenuating circumstances will be considered by a
small designated group within each department; the Extenuating
Circumstances Committee. The Extenuating Circumstances Committee
will consider extenuating circumstances relating to examination
performance, examination absence, coursework performance, late
submission of work which constitutes 100% of the assessment for the
module and has the status of an examination such as a project or
dissertation), (if the departmental Late Submissions Committee was
unable to consider the claim), the
non-submission of coursework, and other extenuating circumstances
affecting the academic year. These Committees meet shortly before
the Board of Examiners meets, and recommend action to be taken by
the Board of Examiners in light of students’ extenuating
D How much information do I
need to include?
You should include on the form details of
specific coursework or exams affected by your extenuating
circumstances. Make sure you explain the impact these circumstances
had on your performance. It is not the role of the Board of Examiners
to try to work this out or to seek further information on your
behalf. Make your submission clear and concise. Remember that
Extenuating Circumstances Committees and Boards of Examiners are
trying to determine whether the circumstances are likely to have
significantly affected your academic performance.
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E What documentary evidence do I need
E1 Extenuating circumstances of a non medical
You should if possible submit appropriate third party evidence to
support your claim. We realise that it in some cases it may be
difficult to do this, and then Boards may accept claims which are not
accompanied by documentary evidence. However, lack of third party
evidence may weaken your claim. It is your responsibility to get this
evidence as the University will not seek it on your behalf. In some
cases, Boards of Examiners may request third party evidence in order
to qualify a decision they have made based on your extenuating
E2 Extenuating circumstances of a medical nature
You should supply evidence from your doctor (GP) or hospital.
The evidence must cover the period which you are claiming was
affected by your medical condition.
You should take the medical evidence proforma, which is
attached to the back of the extenuating circumstances form, to your
GP. If evidence from a
GP or hospital is not available, the Board of Examiners may consider
evidence from other practitioners who have treated you.
The University has an agreement with the Health Centre on the
Colchester campus that their staff will use the medical evidence
please note that other Health Centres and GPs may operate
differently and may charge for supplying evidence.
In some cases the Board of Examiners may request that you supply
Examinations and Invigilated Tests
If you miss an examination or an invigilated test due to illness, or
you are claiming to have been affected by medical problems during
your examination or test, you must seek medical attention on the
day, and you must submit documentary evidence. The evidence
must relate specifically to the time of the illness and must make it
clear that you were medically unfit to take the exam/test.
Evidence stating that you retrospectively reported your illness will
not be regarded by the Board of Examiners as satisfactory.
Minor illnesses affecting coursework
If you are claiming a minor illness has affected your coursework
work (including non-submission) then please note that the Health
Centre on the Colchester campus, and indeed most doctors, will not
issue medical certificates either for short-term or minor illnesses.
Neither will they issue medical certificates when you were not
treated at the time and you report your illness to a doctor
retrospectively. Boards of Examiners may accept other evidence
submitted by you to self-certify your illness (such as a duplicate
copy of the notification of absence form which you should have
submitted at the time of your absence). Please note that
accepting a claim without third party evidence does not mean that
the Board of Examiners will take any action. In many cases
Boards of Examiners may judge that a short-term or minor illness has
not had a significant effect on your overall performance.
Serious or long-term illnesses affecting coursework
If you have been receiving treatment for a serious or long-term
medical condition which you believe has seriously affected your work
over a prolonged period, you must submit appropriate evidence. You
should be able to obtain evidence from your Health Centre, or you
could resubmit a copy of any documentary evidence which you have
Remember, you will need to provide 2 copies of any
documentation you submit and the University reserves the right to
check on the validy of the document(s) you submit by contacting the
third party directly.
circumstances are NOT taken into account?
It is not possible to list every
circumstance that the Board of Examiners would not
accept or take into account. However some of the more
obvious examples are listed below:
- General pressure of work is not taken to be
circumstances beyond your control, as you are expected to plan your
- A short-term problem or illness which has
occurred during the year and which is not deemed to have had an
overall effect on your performance;
- Personal disruptions or events which could
have been anticipated; such as holidays, weddings, changing address
or employment, religious holidays or festivals which are usually
known in advance.
- Excessive demands on time or pressure of one’s employment, which
could have been anticipated.
- Financial constraints commonly experienced by
- Missing an examination because you misread the
timetable or overslept;
- Having more than one examination on the same
day or on consecutive days (unless you were already suffering from
illness or injury);
- Where extenuating circumstances have affected
you throughout your time at University, it is difficult to determine
what your marks might have been like otherwise. In such cases, the
Board of Examiners is unlikely to take any action.
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G What is a
Board of Examiners?
A Board of Examiners is the formal
body which considers the marks for each student. It
approves the marks, decides whether students can proceed
to the next year, and decides on the degree
classifications for final year students. It
comprises a small number of academic staff from the
relevant department(s) for the courses under
consideration and is normally chaired by a Dean.
In the second and subsequent years External Examiners
would normally also attend.
Not all members of academic staff are members of the Board of
The Board of Examiners consider all candidates
anonymously, by examination candidate number and great care is taken
over the confidentiality of information supplied by students.
How are extenuating circumstances judged by
a Board of Examiners?
Boards of Examiners try
to determine whether, and to what extent,
extenuating circumstances have affected your
academic performance, and determine what
action, if any, can be taken. In assessing
the significance of extenuating
circumstances, Boards will normally take
- the severity of the problem and the length of
- any supporting documentary evidence;
- whether all work in the same period appears to
have been equally affected;
- whether it is possible to gauge the effect of
the extenuating circumstances upon academic performance;
- whether your achievement is consistent with
- the type of assessment affected, and how long
you had to complete the work (i.e. date when work set and deadline
Boards cannot estimate
potential. For example, if you have performed at 2.2 level in your
other exams, and then miss an exam in which you believe that you could
have got a 2.1 because you had prepared well, you cannot expect a
Board of Examiners to share your view. Boards cannot impute
marks, that is, add marks or estimate what your mark might have been.
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action can the Board of Examiners take?
The Board of Examiners
will try to ensure a fair result based on
your overall performance. It could take a
number of actions including:-
amending the assessment of a module by
changing the weighting of particular units that contribute to the
overall course assessment;
discounting particular modules, or
pieces of work from the assessment of the year or the programme of
allowing a reassessment attempt to be treated
as a first sit, often for uncapped marks where capping applies;
instating a formative mark for a late piece of
Wherever possible a Board will try to make a
decision about what, if any, action can be taken in the second year in
the case of problems affecting second year students. However
sometimes it may not be possible for the Board to determine what
action would be reasonable, and it may therefore carry forward the
extenuating circumstances for consideration by the final year Board
when the examiners will have at least two years’ worth of marks to
In the case of severe extenuating circumstances
affecting the final months of a final year student’s studies there is
provision for a Board to consider the award of an aegrotat degree
(under the terms of regulation 6.17).
What action will not be taken by
Boards of Examiners?
Examiners will not:
permit a student who presents extenuating
circumstances to proceed to the next year of study if he or she has
not met the necessary requirements, unless the examiners are
satisfied that it is appropriate to do so on academic grounds;
add extra marks because a student’s work has
been affected by extenuating circumstances;
amend marks from previous years of study ;
award a higher class of degree if the examiners
are not satisfied that this is a fair result based on the student’s
demonstrated academic performance;
annotate statement of results/transcripts with
comments about the existence of extenuating circumstances.
note that submitting a false claim
or false documentation is a
serious matter and would be
regarded as an attempt to gain
unfair advantage. This would be
an academic offence and would be
dealt with under the Academic
Offences Procedures. The
University reserves the right to
check on the validity of the
document (s) you submit by
contacting the third party
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Data Protection Act 1998
an extenuating circumstances form
you are agreeing to the University
holding this personal data for the
purposes of processing your
claim. The University will hold
this data in accordance with its
notification under the 1998 Data
If you are
providing information about your
disability on your extenuating
circumstances form, please note
that this does not count as
disclosure to the University as
these forms are intended for use
only by the Board of Examiners.
We strongly urge you to disclose
any persistent medical condition,
specific learning difficulty or
disability to Student Support.
IMPORTANT – PLEASE READ: Information about you that may affect
The University is committed to a fair and
confidential process for handling extenuating circumstances and recognises that this process may involve the disclosure and handling
of sensitive personal information.
The University is committed to full
compliance with its obligations related to professional suitability
in order to uphold the highest standards of conduct among its
students both during and beyond their period as a student at the
All University students are required to
comply with the University’s Disciplinary Regulations and other
regulations of the University regarding conduct. Students enrolled
on schemes where a practical professional placement is required have
additional responsibilities placed upon them regarding their
professional suitability. Failure to meet these responsibilities can
lead to the Breach of
Professional Conduct, Fitness to Practise and Termination of
Training Procedure being invoked. You will have been informed
when you registered as a student if your degree scheme is subject to
Breaches of professional standards by
students may involve a range of actions or omissions but may
actions that are harmful to service
users, other members of the public or service provides;
actions that are likely to constitute
an unacceptable risk to students or others;
failure to disclose information about
previous matters relating to professional suitability prior to
enrolment on the scheme;
contravention of the relevant
professional code of conduct;
actions that are prejudicial to the
development or standing of professional practice.
In addition, for students studying law, the
University has an obligation to report relevant information related
to professional suitability to the Law Society.
5) Any information that is provided on any
extenuating circumstances form that raises issues of professional
suitability, whether it has been disclosed by you and about you or
by another student on another form but relates to you will be
disclosed as necessary to the relevant internal or external
authorities. Information will only ever be disclosed on a need to
know basis to ensure the University is able to comply with its
obligations related to professional suitability. These authorities
may include the Professional Practice and Conduct Committee, your
employer if your registration as a student relates to Continuing
Professional Development or any relevant Professional or Regulatory
O Where can I get more guidance
If after having read these notes you feel you
need more help in putting forward your extenuating circumstances, you
should contact the Students’ Union Advice Centre
If you require feedback on
the way in which the Board of Examiners has handled your extenuating
circumstances claim, you can contact Registry after the results have
been released. However, please be aware that the exam board
period is a particular busy time of year so there may be a delay in
your receiving feedback.
Extenuating Circumstances Form
Remember, you must
submit 2 copies of your form and your documentation. Don't leave it
until the day of the deadline to get your form copied, or you might
encounter delays or other difficulties. The
form should be either posted to:
Registry (Room 6.116),
University of Essex, Wivenhoe
Park, Colchester, Essex, CO4 3SQ
or emailed to the Registry email
email@example.com or hand
delivered to the Registry -
opening hours are updated daily
on the Registry homepage.
January Exams 2015
The deadline for submitting forms to Registry
(6.116) for the following departments' January exams is: 4pm
on Monday 19 January 2015.
Computer Science & Electronic Engineering -
Stage 1 January Exams
Psychology - Stage 3 January Exams
End of Year Assessment - June 2015
deadline for submitting the
general Extenuating Circumstances
Form to the Registry (6.116) is
4pm on Monday
8 June 2015
Certificate of HE students,
International Diploma students,
Programme/Year 0 and
January-start students -
deadline is: tbc
Extenuating circumstances should be submitted to your
academic department. You should confirm the submission deadline
with your academic department in advance.
(E15 Acting School)
The deadline for submitting the general
Extenuating Circumstances Form to the Academic Administrator is as
follows for the different year groups:-
Students on the Certificate of Higher
Education in Theatre Arts: tbc
First and Second Year Students: tbc
Final Year (Third Year) Students:
September Reassessment Period 2015
deadline for submitting the
general Extenuating Circumstances
Form on the
Colchester campus is
Academy Pre-Sessional students
forms should be submitted to the
International Academy -deadline
Forms will not be accepted after the deadline