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Exceptional circumstances

Assessments and your personal circumstances

If you are worried your circumstances could affect your assessments, you should tell us as soon as possible, rather than waiting for your results.

There are currently two ways to do this, depending on which academic year your assessment falls:

During the 2017/18 academic year: The current Mitigating Circumstances Policy will remain in place until the start of the new academic year on Monday 17 September. If you have a late exam board or reassessment this may apply to you, so please scroll to the end of this page for more details and to access the current policy.

During the 2018/19 academic year: As part of an annual review of our Academic Regulations, Policies & Procedures, the Mitigating Circumstances Policy will be replaced by the new Exceptional Circumstances Policy, and come into effect for the 2018/19 academic year. Find out more below.

Exceptional circumstances

We recognise that unplanned events, including ill health, may occur during your time at BU which could adversely impact your ability to study and complete an assessment.

It’s important that you let us know about any issues you may be experiencing as soon as possible so that we can assist you in finding the right support. Waiting until the end of the year before telling anyone will limit the options available to you.

If you feel that circumstances have impacted you to the point that they could affect your results, you should talk to your Academic Advisor, Programme Leader (PL) or Programme Support Officer (PSO) to see if you may be able to request a coursework extension or have your exam(s) postponed.

If you have completed your coursework or sat your exam before the full impact of your circumstances are known you should also discuss this with your Academic Advisor, Programme Leader (PL) or Programme Support Officer (PSO). If you have a valid reason for not reporting this earlier you may be able to request that your circumstances are considered by the Assessment Board when they are looking at your results.

For full information on the Exceptional Circumstances Policy and Procedure please refer to 6J – Exceptional Circumstances including Extensions: Policy and Procedure.

More information

What are exceptional circumstances?

An exceptional circumstance is an event that has had a negative impact on your ability to study or complete your assessment. It is something which you could not have foreseen and over which you have no control.

For example:

  • An illness (including mental health) that impacted your ability to attend an exam or meet an assessment deadline or adversely affected your performance in an assessment
  • Family illness
  • Pregnancy-related illness
  • Bereavement
  • Unforeseen travel disruption normally causing delays of over an hour, for example industrial action or road traffic accident
  • Acute personal difficulties/Domestic disruption
  • Jury service

Please be aware that there also events that we would not consider to be exceptional for example:Computer IT/failure

It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that all work is electronically stored and/or submitted and the correct piece of work is submitted. Enough time should be allowed to submit the work to meet the deadline.

Transport problems

Routine delays to buses and trains will not be accepted.

Misreading assessment dates and times

It is the student’s responsibility to ensure an accurate understanding of the assessment location, time and duration.

Holidays or expeditions

All holidays, and vacations should take place at a time that does not impact your availability to study or prepare for or undertake an assessment.

Inadequate planning, organisation or time management

Students are expected to plan their time to manage their assessments schedules and the study time required to support their own learning.

Timetabling of coursework/examinations

Deadlines of exams being too close together will not be accepted as valid Exceptional Circumstances claim.

Paid employment or voluntary work

Students are responsible for managing other commitments so that they do not adversely interfere with their studies.

If students are experiencing acute personal difficulties that require them to undertake unexpected levels of paid work these might be come under the definition of Exceptional Circumstances. 

Not disclosing circumstances

The University can only consider Exceptional Circumstances claims if they are disclosed in accordance with regulations. If a student has a valid reason for not disclosing circumstances by the published deadlines they should speak to their Academic Advisor or SUBU Advice.

How do I let my faculty know about my circumstances?

Let your Academic Advisor, Programme Leader or Programme Support Officer know as soon as you experience any events that have a negative impact on you. The sooner you let us know the earlier we can assist you in getting the support you need and advise you on how to request an extension or postponement.

What happens once I have submitted my exceptional circumstances?

If you have requested a coursework extension(s) or an exam postponement(s) then this will be considered by your Programme Leader (or their nominee). You will normally be advised if this has been authorised within 5 working days of submitting the form and supporting evidence. For coursework you will be given a new deadline. Postponed exams are normally sat within the next exam period.

When will an Assessment Board consideration take place?

If you have requested Assessment Board consideration this will take place during the assessment board season, normally in June or July. If it is agreed that the evidence submitted supports your statement of how the circumstance has impacted you the Board will decide the way that you will be reassessed.

This decision will be dependent on how you have performed overall across all of your assessment. Your marks will not be increased and your work will not be marked sympathetically but the Board may agree that you be given the opportunity to resit or resubmit as if for the first time.

2017/18 academic year: Mitigating Circumstances Policy

6J – Mitigating Circumstances including Extensions: Policy and Procedure will remain in effect for assessment activity that has taken place in 2017/18, including reassessment. If you are unsure which policy and procedure you should refer to at this point, contact your Programme Support team.

For full information you can download 6J Mitigating Circumstances inc Extensions: Policy and Procedure which includes the associated form for you to complete. This will explain the process and what your options are. For further support and advice you can contact AskBU or SUBU Advice.