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Extenuating circumstances

Extenuating circumstances are significant personal difficulties or circumstances which impact on your ability to complete, submit or attend a specific assessment, and are significantly disruptive matters outside of your control.

The University has an extenuating circumstances process in place to help students facing these situations.

Please note:

  • If you apply for extenuating circumstances and then choose to do the assessment your application will be rejected.
  • You cannot use the extenuating circumstances process to apply for an extension, please see the Five working day extensions web page instead.

If you have any questions about the process please contact an Information Point.

How can the extenuating circumstances process support me?

The extenuating circumstances process can potentially help you in the following ways if your application is accepted:

  • Allow you to resit/retake a module where the regulations would not normally permit it. If a retake is permitted you will need to do all assessments again and a module fee may apply.
  • Permit the mark from a resit or retake to be uncapped (unless previously capped), as defined in the glossary of terms.
  • The Exam Board may accept failure to pass a module when recommending you for an award.

Please note:

  • If you have extenuating circumstances accepted for a missed assessment, but still pass the module, the overall module mark will stand and you cannot retake it or have your mark adjusted.
  • Having extenuating circumstances accepted will not permit a fee waiver for a retake.

Can I apply for extenuating circumstances?

The University publishes a list of acceptable reasons for applying for extenuating circumstances and a list of unacceptable reasons.

  1. What if the impact of my circumstances means I cannot submit my coursework?

    You are eligible to apply for extenuating circumstances for your coursework if you do not submit it.

    Please note: if you submit the coursework afterwards your extenuating circumstances will be rejected.

  2. What if the impact of my circumstances means I cannot attend a controlled conditions assessment such as an examination or presentation?

    You are eligible to apply for extenuating circumstances for a controlled conditions assessment if you do not attempt it.

    Please note: if you attempt the assessment your extenuating circumstances will be rejected.

  3. What if I am taken ill during a controlled conditions assessment such as an examination or presentation?

    In such cases an extenuating circumstances application may be made, but please ensure as you leave the exam that you inform the invigilator or the member of academic staff responsible for the assessment that you are not well so that they can record this.

    If your extenuating circumstances are accepted your mark for the assessment will be removed but your extenuating circumstances will be retained.

    Please note: self-certification will not be accepted as evidence to support any application made on the grounds of illness during a controlled conditions assessment.

  4. I have already attempted my assessment, is there anything I can do?

    You may be able to exceptionally apply for extenuating circumstances after an assessment if you feel that your circumstances impacted your ability to make a decision at the time of the assessment about whether you were fit enough to attempt it.

    If your extenuating circumstances are accepted for this reason then your mark for the assessment will be removed but your extenuating circumstances will be retained.

    Examples of circumstances which may impair your judgement could include but are not limited to:

    • Chronic medical condition of self or close family member (including mental health). For example, an incapacitating illness or unexpected deterioration in an ongoing illness or medical condition.
    • Death of close family member (eg partner, parent, child). The definition of ‘close’ is not confined to partner, parent or child and might reasonably include significant others (eg primary carers, grandparents or friends).
    • Acute personal crisis at the time of the assessment Due to a personal crisis you were unable to exercise the judgement necessary at the time to deem yourself well enough to do an assessment (for example, relationship breakdown or anxiety).

If you do not fulfill any of these criteria please view our additional assessment support options.

How do I apply?

Extenuating circumstances will only be processed with appropriate evidence. Any extenuating circumstances application received without evidence will not be considered. You are advised to only submit your form once you have your evidence ready. If you have any queries about this process then please contact an Information Point for advice.

Visit the Extenuating circumstances eligibility pages for details of the submission process.

On the form you should:

  • Describe the difficulty you have had, including the dates of relevant events.
  • Clearly describe the impact on you and your studies.
  • Provide supporting evidence of the problem you are describing, such as a medical certificate (translated into English if necessary).
  • Make sure you have entered the correct module code, module name and code for the element of assessment eg CW1, EX1 and the correct date of the assessment.

If you do not include all of this information it may not be possible to process your application.

What evidence is required?

See our extenuating circumstances evidence guidance for the full details of what is required depending on your situation.

In all cases, applications for extenuating circumstances must be accompanied by original, independent documentary evidence eg a letter on official headed paper.

Your evidence must show that the circumstances:

  • Were out of your control and could not be prevented.
  • Correlated directly with the period affected.
  • Met the relevant specific conditions relating to documentary evidence (see below).

Medical certificates


All medical certificates or statements should be:

  • Written by appropriately qualified professionals who are independent to the student*.
  • Original and on headed paper and signed and dated by the author. Evidence presented by email may be acceptable if the email has been sent by the author from the official address of the relevant organisation.
  • Dated, with the date of the illness correlating with the dates of assessment.
  • In English, with any translation of supporting documentation organised and financed by the student and undertaken by an authorised translator.

*students are reminded that we have our own University Health Centre.

If you are making a claim that your judgement was impaired you must clearly explain how the circumstances impacted your ability to make a decision at the time of the assessment about whether you were fit enough to attempt it. Evidence to support a claim for impaired judgement must meet the following criteria:

  • The evidence must relate directly to you, not a family member, friend etc.
  • Medical evidence must state the whole period when you were unfit to study. Providing evidence of an existing medical condition with hospital appointment letters, prescriptions or medicine boxes alone would not be deemed sufficient to demonstrate impaired judgement.
  • A doctor’s note for a seriously ill relative would not allow a claim to be approved. Evidence confirming the impact on you during the period relating to the assessment would be required.
  • Evidence for bereavement may include a death certificate, an order of service or a newspaper announcement.

Self-certification

In exceptional circumstances, you may use self-certification for one assessment if no other form of evidence can be provided.

  • Self-certification may only be used once for one assessment during each academic year (a period determined by the programme start date).
  • Self-certification will not be accepted as evidence for absence from a group assessment or as evidence for a five working day extension, or for an extension based on a reasonable adjustment.
  • Self-certification will not be accepted as evidence to support any application made on the grounds of illness during a controlled conditions assessment.
  • Self-certification will not be accepted as evidence to support an extenuating circumstance application made on the grounds of impaired judgement.
  • Access the self-certification form.

    Please note: If there is a charge for providing copies of supporting evidence and you are facing financial hardship, contact the Money Advice and Funds Service.

    If your evidence is not in English, you may be able to use a local authority translation service such as the one provided by Bristol City Council.

    Where applicable, you may need to provide the same evidence of your circumstances to Student Finance to secure additional years’ of funding. Contact the Money Advice and Funds Service for advice about the Student Finance extenuating circumstances process.

Arrangements for students studying at Hartpury, partner institutions or on postgraduate Diploma Law programmes

  • Hartpury students should email the Hartpury student advice team to check local arrangements.
  • Students studying at UK partner institutions should use the normal UWE Bristol extenuating circumstances process.
  • For students studying at international partner institutions where UWE Bristol regulations apply, please contact your local administration office or email partnerships@uwe.ac.uk.
  • Students studying on the postgraduate Diploma Law programmes (BPTC, GDL or LPC) should refer to their relevant Blackboard pages.

Arrangements for postgraduate research candidates

Extenuating circumstances applications for postgraduate research candidates are managed separately. Please contact graduateschool@uwe.ac.uk for further guidance.

When do I submit my application?

You should submit your application as close as possible to the time of the assessment. Where this is not possible there are final deadlines for making extenuating circumstances applications at the end of each assessment period. These are:

  • Modules completed by the end of assessment period one – 14:00 on Friday 3 February 2017.
  • Health and Applied Sciences (March 2017 exam boards) – 14:00 on Friday 17 March 2017.
  • Modules completed by the end of assessment period two – 14:00 on Friday 2 June 2017.
  • Modules completed by the end of assessment period three – 14:00 on Friday 28 July 2017.
  • Modules completed by the end of assessment period four – 14:00 on Friday 18 August 2017.

Please note: these deadlines do not apply to students studying BPTC/GDL/LPC Law programmes.

Late extenuating circumstances - Is it possible to make an application after the final deadline?

Applications for extenuating circumstances received after the relevant final deadline will only be considered if you give a valid and acceptable reason (with evidence) for submitting the application late.

Please see our late extenuating circumstances guidance for details of what is required depending on your situation.

Late claims for extenuating circumstances must be received no later than ten working days after the formal notification of the examining board’s decision. In exceptional circumstances, a claim which has been submitted beyond this time frame may be reviewed but this cannot be guaranteed.

How will I find out the outcome of my application?

You will receive an email from the Information Point.

Do I need to make additional applications if my circumstances continue?

If you make an application and other assessments or examinations are subsequently affected by the same problem, you will need to complete a new extenuating circumstances form (EC1).

You will also need to apply again for any resits even if you made an application at the first sit. The reason for having to complete a new form is because the University will not make the assumption that you are still affected.

Frequently asked questions

If you have a question which is not answered above, please view the extenuating circumstances FAQs.

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