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Defer your exam or assessment

If your assessments are disrupted by serious events like illness or bereavement you can apply for ‘Extenuating Circumstances’

UCL has a formal process to quickly let your department know about serious events that affect your ability to complete an assessment, but you need to let them know within 1 week.  

Extenuating Circumstances (ECs) are events which are unexpected, significantly disruptive and beyond your control, such as a serious illness or bereavement.

You are responsible for letting UCL know about any event that might affect your performance in assessments (exams or assignments) at the time that it takes place.

The Extenuating Circumstances process is designed to help with any short-term problems that you might have with completing an assessment.

If you have a longer-term condition or disability then we have other ways to help you, such as reasonable adjustments.

Apply for extenuating circumstances

There are 4 steps you need to take when applying for extenuating circumstances:

  1. Check whether your circumstances are covered
    We may be able to support you better through reasonable adjustments, special examination arrangements or an interruption of study.
  2. Complete an Extenuating Circumstances Form 
    Make sure you tick the box allowing us to share your request with members of staff who are directly responsible for making a decision (don’t worry, we will keep your data secure)Make sure you tell us about every assessment that has been affected – we won’t assume it applies to assessments that aren’t on your form.
  3. Get supporting evidence
    This needs to be from a registered doctor or other verifiable source - ask your doctor or evidence provider to read the guidance notes on the form carefully – we need to understand how your circumstance has affected your ability to do your assessment. If you need time to get your evidence, submit your form on time and give us your evidence as soon as you can.
  4. Submit your form within 1 week of the extenuating circumstance taking place
    We may not be able to help you if your claim is lateYou need to submit your form to your home department or faculty office – your Student Handbook should give full details. The receiving office will forward your form and evidence, confidentially, to the appropriate person.

What happens after you submit the form

If you apply for a 1 week extension, this will be considered by staff in your department, who will try to give you a response as quickly as possible.

If you apply for other help, your request will be considered by either your faculty or departmental Extenuating Circumstances Panel. The Panel will usually offer you one of the following, although they may suggest something else:

  • an extension of more than 1 week
  • a ‘deferral’ i.e. postponing your assessment to the next scheduled occasion
  • suspending the normal penalties for handing work in late.