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Personal circumstances FAQs

Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about personal circumstances affecting your ability to submit or attend assessments.

Please note: The extenuating circumstances processes are now called personal circumstances.

UWE Bristol offers a number of options to support students experiencing difficulties with submitting or attending their assessments. We will help you in determining which one is the best one for you. If you are unsure about which process to use please contact an Information Point.

Is stress a reason for submitting an application?

Normal stress around exams or coursework deadlines is not considered to be an acceptable reason for using one of the processes. Stress is a normal state of mental or emotional tension arising from demanding circumstances. Having concerns about taking an examination or submitting work by the deadline is quite common, but does not necessarily mean you are not able to successfully engage with the assessment.

Ordinary feelings of stress or anxiety do not mean you are unwell, or necessarily have mental health difficulties. In order to help you manage these feelings, the University has a number of resources which you can refer to if you are encountering stress relating to assessments. These include:

Stress may become a mental health condition when fear, anxiety or avoidance is persistent and lasts for six or more months. If you find you are experiencing this please contact a Student Support Adviser or the University’s Wellbeing Service as soon as possible.

What doesn't count as a reason for making an application?

The reasons for not making an application are:

  • colds or known conditions such as hay fever; sore throats or sprains (other than in the writing hand/arm)
  • accidents/illness affecting relatives or friends unless serious, or if you are a sole carer/have a disability so are disproportionately affected
  • normal examination stress or anxiety experienced during revision or the assessment period, unless corroborated by medical evidence as a chronic condition and you are undergoing treatment
  • stress in practice placement
  • non-serious domestic, social or personal disruptions: moving house, change of job, holidays, weddings, normal job pressure, failed travel arrangements, financial difficulties, oversleeping
  • study-related circumstances: equipment failure including computing/printer difficulties (unless they occur in the examination itself), failure to have taken back-up copies for work stolen or corrupted, bunching of deadlines/examinations, missing books, poor time management, misreading the examination timetable, taking the wrong examination
  • cultural adjustment/assimilation
  • difficulty with the English language
  • different teaching methods in the United Kingdom to a home university
  • anxiety caused by visa issues
  • examination conditions: disruption in the examination room, excessive noise, behaviour of other students. Normally, these conditions will be reported to the invigilators who will pass the reports onto the faculty to be dealt with as appropriate.

What happens if my application is not accepted?

What if my missed assessment application isn't accepted?

This should not happen if you submit an application for an acceptable reason with appropriate evidence corresponding to the period affected and you have not attempted the assessment. However, if you are in doubt please contact an Information Point before the date of your assessment.

What if my application for the exceptional removal of a mark isn't accepted?

This should not happen if you explain clearly why your circumstances meet one of the two exceptional criteria detailed in the guidelines and you provide the required supporting evidence. However, if your application isn’t accepted then your mark for the assessment will be retained.

How could the outcome of my application affect any future sits at the module?

If my application isn't accepted, does this mean I have no more goes at a module?

Not necessarily. If you are on your very first ‘go’ at a module (first attempt, first sit), then if you fail you will normally be entitled to a resit even if your application is not accepted. If you do not pass the resit then you would normally be entitled to a retake. Please see the academic regulations for more information.

Can I carry over marks for any individual elements of assessment from my first sit to my resit?

No. Even if you had a missed assessment application accepted at the first sit, you must still submit/attend all the required elements of assessment at the resit, even if you passed some of the work at the first sit.

When can I use personal circumstances for practice-based modules?

Please note: This information refers to practice-based modules only.

My personal circumstances are affecting my placement

If you feel your performance in practice is being affected by personal difficulties then you need to consider if you are able to continue with the placement. Please follow the guidance in your module handbook or make an appointment to see a Student Support Adviser.

I've become ill and can't complete enough hours to be assessed

You should use the missed assessments process if you do not submit your assignment(s). This requires you to explain and evidence the reason you are unable to complete sufficient hours to be assessed.

I had personal difficulties, but didn't miss any placement dates and intend to complete my assessments

In this situation, you do not need to use one of the personal circumstances processes. If you have not missed any practice placement dates and you submit your work, the implication is that you were fit to attend placement and there were no circumstances that significantly affected your performance.

My circumstances prevent me from submitting my assessment

You should use the missed assessments process if you cannot submit your assignment(s). This requires you to explain and evidence the reason you are unable to complete the work.

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