Teaching & Learning


What to do if you receive a late exam submission 

5 May 2021

A reminder of guidance on how staff can respond to exam enquiries and late submissions.

Student wearing mask working at a PC

With the main exam period underway, we are pleased to report that the majority of students are successfully engaging with the AssessmentUCL platform and submitting their exams on time.  

A small number of students have emailed departments and/or academic staff with exam queries or, in some cases, their exam submissions.  

Staff are advised not to accept submissions directly and to redirect students to the approved routes for reporting any exam issues or enquiries.  

AssessmentUCL performing well 

To date, 95% of students on 24-hour exams and 93% of students on a timed exam have submitted on time. AssessmentUCL data shows just 2% of students sitting exams during this period have not submitted on time. The remaining 4% of exam instances in the platform are non-submissions/non-engagement with the exam – most likely due to students with Extenuating Circumstances. 

There have been no technical failures in delivering the exams on the new AssessmentUCL platform to date, and only limited reports of technical issues experienced by students (e.g., Wi-Fi outages). 

Responding to exam queries  

If a student reports an issue or query to you during an exam, staff should direct students to use the appropriate option set out in the ‘Support during your online exam’ webpage.  

To ensure fairness and consistency, please do not attempt to answer queries or resolve issues directly during an exam or accept late submissions via email.  

Responding to late submissions 

Students’ most reported technical issue so far has been missing their submission deadline. As agreed at Education Committee (3 December, 2020), the only mitigation for late exam submissions is a deferral to the Late Summer Assessment Period.  

The need to accommodate extenuating circumstances and the possibility of technical problems was built into the 2020-21 Exams Operating Model from the outset, by giving all students extra time in all exams – either by running 24-hour online open book exams or by adding an additional one-hour Upload Window to time-limited online exams. The generous time allowance was included in the policy to support students in the new assessment environment, and to acknowledge any pandemic-related difficulties. Students are not able to submit after this extra time. 


If a student emails an exam submission, staff should advise the student that their submission will not be considered, and it will be deleted. 

Students should be directed to complete an Exam Query Form if they have missed their submission deadline.  

Only exam submissions made through the correct exam instance on AssessmentUCL will be accepted. Live exams should not be submitted to the Exam Practice area.

The Exams office collates all Exam Query forms and refers them to the ELOs or, in the case of technical failures, the relevant Faculty or Departmental Extenuating Circumstances (EC) Panel – departmental admin teams will be copied in but do not need to take any action. 

Extensive guidance has been issued telling students not to leave it until the last minute to upload their work and submit, including a reminder email sent last week. This email also reminded students that if they missed the deadline by leaving it to the last minute to upload, their exam submission would not be accepted. 

An automated email sent to students from AssessmentUCL 24 hours before their exam starts also includes a reminder about submitting in good time.  

Common queries

The first week of exams has highlighted some common queries from staff.

Click to expand the guidance on what happens if:

If a student has not uploaded anything  

Where a student has not uploaded anything and the exam window has closed, they will have technically missed their exam.  

 If a student has clicked ‘hand-in blank’  

A small number of students have chosen the option to ‘Hand-in blank’ (see the circled button in the image below).

Screenshot of the AssessmentUCL hand-in screen

Students should submit an Exam Query form in such instances. The Exams Team will forward the form along with any supporting evidence to the EC Panel, who will determine whether a deferral is warranted. As above, emailed submissions to staff will not be accepted.  

Note, it is difficult for a student to do this accidentally: a student can only click the ‘Hand-in blank’ option if they have not uploaded any document to submit. If they click this option, the student then gets an additional warning message which they must acknowledge before they can click it again to confirm.   

If a student has uploaded a submission, it is impossible to select the ‘Hand-in blank’ option – even if they have not yet handed in their submission.  

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For questions related to marking, please contact Digital Education (digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk

For all other queries, please contact the Exams Team (examinations@ucl.ac.uk).