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Illness and unexpected disruptions to your exam or assessment

If your assessments are disrupted by serious events like illness, bereavement or self-isolation, you can apply for ‘Extenuating Circumstances’ and self-certify for up to 14 days

UCL has approved an enhanced Extenuating Circumstances Procedure for 2020-21 to support students affected by unexpected illness or disruption to their studies, including the need to self-isolate or quarantine. 

UCL’s top priority is to support students. We will not automatically assume that you need an extension or deferral, but you can apply for extra support by submitting an Extenuating Circumstances form (your Department or Faculty will give you details of how to do this).

In order to help students access support without placing extra pressure on the NHS, you will be allowed to self-certify for up to 14 calendar days on two separate occasions during the 2020-21 academic session, within specific conditions.


I think I might have Covid-19 - do I need to apply for Extenuating Circumstances?

If you think that you have symptoms of Covid-19, visit our About the virus and taking precautions page for further information, guidance and support.

If illness affects your ability to complete assessments, you should complete an Extenuating Circumstances form. Your Faculty or Department will give you details of how to do this.


I need to self-isolate - do I need to apply for Extenuating Circumstances?

We know that self-isolation/quarantine is not a carefree ‘holiday’. While many students will be largely unaffected and able to continue their studies as normal, some may find this distressing or disruptive. 
If you are required to self-isolate, we will not automatically assume that you need an extension or deferral. However, you can decide to apply for extra support via the Extenuating Circumstances process if self-isolation is having a significant impact on your ability to study or complete assessments.


Can I only self-certify for Covid-19?

No, you can self-certify for any valid Extenuating Circumstance, not just those related to Covid-19. You must still explain on the form why your circumstances are sudden, significantly disruptive and beyond your control. 


How long can I self-certify for? 

You can self-certify for up to 14 calendar days at a time. If you need longer, you will need to submit evidence. 


Can I self-certify more than once? 

Yes, you can self-certify for up to two 14-calendar-day periods during the 2020-21 academic session. Normally these periods should be two weeks apart, although UCL will consider exceptional circumstances, for example if you are required to self-isolate for two 14-day periods close together. If you need help on more than two occasions, you will need to submit evidence.


Do I need to submit separate EC forms for different assessments?

No, you only have to submit one form for each 14 day period. Each self-certified claim will cover any assessments – coursework and/ or exams – falling within that period.


What happens to my assessments if I self-certify? 

For timed online assessments such as online exams, you will be granted a deferred assessment i.e. the opportunity to take the assessment as if for the first time and without academic penalty at a later date. 

For coursework type assessments, you may be granted an extension where possible, however you may be granted a deferred assessment instead. It is your responsibility to ensure you meet any coursework extension deadlines. 


Do I have to self-certify if my department has changed or delayed my assessment? 

No, if your department has advised your whole class that an assessment will take a different form (e.g. online exam), will take place at a different date, or that all students will have an extended deadline, you do not need to submit an EC claim. 


I work for the NHS or other frontline services. What should I do? 

Professional emergencies are covered by the Extenuating Circumstances regulations. If, for example, you work for the NHS or police, or are involved in critical research, you might be worried about missing classes or exams, or not being able to finish coursework or your dissertation. 

You can still self-certify for 14-day periods or, if you need longer, your Faculty may be able to consider alternative evidence such as a letter from your Programme Leader confirming your frontline role. Your department will be as flexible as possible deferring assessments or allowing you to interrupt your studies.