Page:Extenuating Circumstances
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Extenuating Circumstances

Extenuating circumstances can be any circumstances outside your control that impact your performance in an assessment.

Some common examples of extenuating circumstances are:

  • Illness - can be physical or mental health
  • Injury
  • Bereavement
  • Family circumstances
  • Personal issues
  • Difficult financial circumstances
  • Anything else that has affected your academic performance.

Even if you are not sure if your situation falls under extenuating circumstances , you should apply, or you can seek further advice from the Student Advice Centre.

Further advice and guidance is provided below.

  • Where you cannot submit an assessment in time.
  • Need an extension for an assessment or can’t submit it at all.
  • Where you cannot sit an exam.
  • Where you have sat an exam / submitted coursework  but due to extenuating circumstances your performance has been affected whether in the exam or in the preparation.
  • Where you have been absent from university for more than 7 days.
  • For a coursework extension you should aim to submit it as soon as possible and expect at least 5 working days for a response.

You need to submit a completed extenuating circumstances form to the admin staff in your department who will allocate it appropriately or your personal tutor.

If you are applying on the grounds of medical reasons and your GP is University Health service, you have to complete this extenuating circumstances form, which will also request evidence from the GP.

You should submit the extenuating circumstances form before the exam date if you can’t sit it / before the coursework due date.

If you have sat the exam/ submitted the coursework  you should aim to submit it  as soon as possible and definitely by the end of the exam period.

If your extenuating circumstances are based on a medical reason you need to see your GP before the exam day or assessment due day. At the very latest you must see them on the day the exam or assessment is due. This is so that they can verify your circumstances as accurate at the time of assessment as they will not be able to give retrospective medical evidence if you go to see them after the exam/assessment due date.

If you have been seeing a different GP, SAMHS or a different health professional they too can provide the medical evidence but they should know of your circumstances before the exam / assessment due date.

You need to submit extenuating circumstances as a safety net if things have affected you outside your control even if you think you may pass the assessment.

It can protect you from receiving a fail mark on your record, being penalised for late submission or non-submission of work or non-attendance at exam and give you extra time.

It could also prevent you from getting automatically withdrawn from the university if the module result causes you to have reached your maximum number of resit attempts.

For assessments/ exams that are marked as  ‘Not assessed’, it will also save you having to pay for a resit and getting a capped mark.

  1. NA= ‘Not assessed’- this would be in the case where you are unable to sit that exam or assessment at this particular time and would like to defer it to a later date without capping or fee.
  2. Not assessed would also be used in situations where you have sat the exam or submitted the assessment but believe you have not performed to your ability / standard due to your extenuating circumstances. It could also be where you were not able to finish an exam or assessment in time.
  3. NP - no penalty for late submission - this is to be used in coursework or assessments that you have submitted out of time by a few days but without an approved extension so that you don’t get marks deducted for submitting it late. You will need to explain why you couldn’t request an extension.
  4. DEX-deadline extension-this is to request an extension on your coursework/assignment/dissertation. You should submit it at least a week before the due date to give the department time to respond.
  5. AU-authorised absence - where you have been absent from the university for over 7 days, with the extenuating circumstances form it can go down as authorised absence instead of unauthorised which may negatively affect you.
  6. Although there is no corresponding option on the form, the form should be submitted if your academic performances due ot the extenuating circumstances has significantly affected your degree classification. You need to explain this in the description box and leave the outcome box blank. The exam board can look at raising your degree classification if you are borderline if they believe your extenuating circumstances warrant it.

It can also be used in cased on integrated masters course or year in industry courses where progression on the master’s year / industry depends on you achieving a certain average. If you were unable to achieve that average due to your extenuating circumstances but otherwise would have done so based on past performance, you can request the exam board to consider allowing you to progress despite not meeting the grade average.

If you have already submitted an extenuating circumstances form for a particular assessment but still have been unable to complete it due to your extenuating circumstances you need to submit another extenuating circumstances form and request for the work to be ‘Not Assessed’ so that it doesn’t go down as a fail mark or Not Completed, which also uses one of your sitting attempts.

There are no published deal dienes for extenuating circumstances form and each department will have their own so check with your department if you’re unsure. However, the general rule is that you aim to get the form into the department by the last day of the exam period or at least the first few days of the week after before the exam boards meet.

If you don’t submit extenuating circumstances, you could:

  • Fail the piece of work/ module.
  • If you don’t sit/ submit it will be a ‘Not Completed’ which is similar to a fail.
  • You will have used one of your sitting attempts and could find yourself automatically withdrawn from the university if you do not pass.
  • Resit could be capped
  • You would have to pay for any further resit
  • If you are in final year undergraduate it is very important to submit extenuating circumstances form as your whole degree classification will be affected by your grades. If you don’t pass a module and have to resit it, you would not be able to graduate with an honours degree.

You should always try to include evidence with your extenuating circumstances form as this will reduce the possibility of it getting refused.

Medical - If your GP is the university Health Service you will be using the online extenuating circumstances form, and the GP will complete the section required for them to give medical evidence. If you have a different GP or health professional, you can use the Section 5 of the paper extenuating circumstances form and get a health professional/ GP to complete that.

Alternatively, you can get a letter from your GP, SAMHS or other healthcare professional. They must explain what your health issue is, how its affected you and how it impacted your studies and ability to complete the exam / assessment / why you need an extension etc.

Personal circumstances vary and sometimes are not always easy to evidence, often a supporting letter from someone in authority can help or even from family or friends who are aware of the situation. If you are unsure what to provide, please make an appointment with an adviser at the Student Advice Centre who can advise on your individual situation.

There is a possible choice of two extenuating circumstances forms:

  1. If your extenuating circumstances are medical and your GP is with the University Health Service you need to complete this form.
    You need submit the request online and then collect the form that will have been completed by the doctor, you need to collect the completed form from the University Health Reception 7 days after doing the online submission. If this may make your form late to submit you need to inform the department of your circumstances and explain you are waiting for your form from the doctors.
    Once you have collected the form, you then take it to your department / personal tutor and submit it.
  2. If your extenuating circumstances are not medical or they are medical but you are using a different health professional or GP to University Health Service, you need to complete this paper form. You should first complete the Microsoft Word version and then print it out. This will allow you to expand on the section where you explain your circumstances.
    You need to submit the form with any evidence to your department or personal tutor.

Tips on completing the form:

  • Ensure where you are asked for details of your extenuating circumstances, you explain fully what your circumstances are, how they have affected you, how they have affected your studies and in particular this piece of work/ assessment/ exam.
  • Module codes can be found on your MOLE.
  • Dates affected to / from; you should state when this particular circumstances started affecting you from and usually if it is still affecting you, you would write; to current’.
  • Explanations of outcomes that can be requested are given above.

If you have requested an extension you should expect a response in around a week and if you don’t you should chase it up with your debarment.

For the other options such as ‘Not Assessed’ and ‘No Penalty for Late Submission’, you will not find out whether the extenuating circumstances have been accepted until the exam / assessment results are released. 

This can be very stressful especially in the case where you have requested to defer the exams, therefore it is important to include all appropriate evidence with the form. Sometimes your department may be able to tell you earlier if it has been accepted or not.

If the exam board has not accepted your extenuating circumstances, the only way this can be challenged is through Academic Appeal. However you will need to provide new evidence to support your circumstances, that you were not able to for a valid reason, submit at the time.

Further information on Academic Appeals can be found here.

Exam Planning & Advice

The examination period can be challenging, you can find a wide range of exam information and advice to help you here.

Please note: The information given below is also applicable to other assessed pieces of work such as coursework.

  1. You could go to the 301 Study Skills Centre on Glossop road for helpful workshops on revision and study technique.
  2. You should speak with your tutors if there are any subject related issues you have.
  3. You should submit an extenuating circumstances form if you are unable to do the exam/ don’t think can perform well due to external factors.

Whether the circumstances have affected you in the lead up to the exam or during the exam, or affected your ability to sit it all, you need to submit an extenuating circumstances form. Please see our detailed guidance above of extenuating circumstances and extenuating circumstances forms above for more information.

For all Personal Circumstances and non University Health Service matters use this form.

For students who have consulted the University Health Service about the matter and will be obtaining medical evidence from them it is this form.

Useful Support Services to contact

Central Welfare and Guidance- CWAG

University Health Service

Student Access to Mental Health Support (SAMHS)

  1. You could try alternative revision Spaces- such as The Diamond, IC, Western Bank, and Students Union.
  2. Seek support from SAMHS- Student Access to Mental Health Support
  3. If the issue is housemate issue is housemate disputes, bullying or harassment, contact Central Welfare and Guidance (CWAG) for support.

If the issues have significantly impacted on your ability to prepare for the exams, you should complete an extenuating circumstances form. You need to complete this extenuating circumstances form if the issues affected your mental health and you have sought support from the University Health Service. if you sought support from CWAG, SAMHS, your home GP or a different healthcare professional, the form given above can be used.

You should try and use alternative revision Spaces- such as The Diamond,  IC, Western Bank, and Students Union.

Inform department straightaway and then submit an extenuating circumstances form (guidance given above). If it is anything linked to medical / health issues, you need to see a doctor straight away, unless you have been seeing them regularly about this issue if it is long term.

First inform your department by email and then submit an extenuating circumstances form. You will need to see the GP either before the exam or on the day if it is medical/ health related, as you will need medical evidence.

  1. It is important to have informed the  invigilator as then they can give you a report.
  2. Inform your department what happened.
  3. You need to see your GP or go to the Walk in Centre on the day so that it can be documented and verified that you were unwell.

Complete extenuating circumstances form and submit to your department.

If you can, you should request a report from the invigilator at the time to confirm this happened. If you canno,  then you should email your department / personal tutor and tell them what happened.Use these for evidence with your extenuating circumstances form.

You should then (and even in the absence of this), complete and submit an extenuating circumstances form.

  1. Inform your department straightaway.
  2. If there were any extenuating circumstances that contributed to the lateness, you should complete and submit an extenuating circumstances form.
  1. Inform your department.
  2. See your GP about it if you haven't already.
  3. Submit an extenuating circumstances from with medical evidence.

If your GP is the university Health Service you will be using the online extenuating circumstances form, and the GP will complete the section required for them to give medical evidence. If you have a different GP or health professional, you can use the Section 5 of the paper extenuating circumstances form and get a health professional/ GP to complete that.

Contact the exams team on 0114 222 1288 or email exams@sheffield.ac.uk

If you are already registered with DDSS (Disability & Dyslexia Support Service), you should have a learning support plan and any special arrangements should have already been made for you.

If you don’t have a learning support plan, you have a long term health condition or disability or SPLd,  you should arrange an appointment with a DDSS adviser who should be able to assist with this.

Alternatively you can go and see a doctor at the University Health Service who will be able to make a referral for special arrangements.

You can also contact the Exams Team in the university for help and support with this.

Firstly,  inform your department by email and then submit an extenuating circumstances form.

You will need to see the GP either before the exam (or submission date),  or on the day if it is medical/ health related, as you will need medical evidence.

  • This form for health related reasons, and have been seen by the University Health Service
  • This form for non-health reasons (eg personal, bereavement etc) or health reasons where the GP or healthcare professional consulted is not the University Health Service.
  1. Speak to your personal tutor
  2. Complete and submit an extenuating circumstances form if applicable. Full guidance on  extenuating circumstances is given above.

In the first instance you should speak to your tutor first, to see if any informal resolution can be reached.

If extenuating circumstances are involved, you need to declare them to your department, and ask if they can accept a late extenuating circumstances form if you haven’t already submitted one.

You cannot submit an appeal until results are officially published.

Further information on Academic Appeals can be found here.