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Personal circumstances reasons

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.

What are acceptable reasons for making an application?

See our guidance on acceptable reasons for making an application and the types of evidence that would be acceptable depending on your situation.

Is stress a reason for making an application?

Normal stress around exams or coursework deadlines isn't 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 doesn't necessarily mean you're unable to successfully engage with the assessment.

Ordinary feelings of stress or anxiety don't mean you're 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're 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're experiencing this please contact a Student Support Adviser or the University Wellbeing Service as soon as possible.

What doesn't count as reasons for making an application?

The reasons for not making an application are:

  • colds or known conditions such as hay fever; sore throats, sprains (other than in the writing hand/arm)
  • accidents/illness affecting relatives or friends unless serious or if you're 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're 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.

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

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're 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 don't submit your assignment(s). This requires you to explain and evidence the reason you're unable to complete sufficient hours to be assessed in practice.

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

In this situation you don't need to use one of the personal circumstances processes. If you haven't missed any practice placement dates and you submit your work then the implication is that you were fit to attend placement and there were no circumstances that significantly affected your performance. 

My circumstances prevented me from submitting my assessment

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

If you have a question which isn't answered above then please contact an Information Point for further guidance.

For further information please see the code of practice and guidance.

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