The Best Student Life. Bristol SU

Extenuating Circumstances

Extenuating circumstances (ECs) are events that affect your performance in assessment and are usually either unforeseen or unpreventable and outside your immediate control. For example: 

  • Sudden illness, such as appendicitis or food poisoning

  • A flare up of a chronic condition 

  • A mental health difficulty 

  • Bereavement 

  • Responsibilities such as caring for someone close to you or jury service. 

The University has been making various adjustments to many aspects of teaching and assessment to account for the impact of the pandemic but if your studies have been particularly affected it is worth putting in an extenuating circumstances form via e-vision to explain this.  

Minor ailments such as colds and normal levels of exam stress or anxiety are not generally considered to be extenuating circumstances. Your circumstances will be taken more seriously if you can show that they were significant, unexpected, unavoidable and happened around the time of the assessment. 

If you're not sure about your particular situation, contact Just Ask or your school office for advice. 

It is a good idea to keep your school regularly informed of any personal matters affecting your studies. You are in charge of your personal information and what you do with it, so the University will only take into account what you choose to disclose. The only way that exam boards can be notified that a student has been affected by difficult circumstances is via the extenuating circumstances system. What this means is that you must fill in a form, even though you might also have discussed things with your tutor or another member of staff. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I submit Extenuating Circumstances?

Extenuating circumstances forms are available on eVision. Find more information and the link to the form here

When filling in your form, you will need to give as much information as possible but be clear and concise. There is a limit of 1500 characters for the 'explain your situation' section. You need to explain how your extenuating circumstances affected your studies. Make sure that you include all the units that were affected.  If you'd like help with wording your explanation of your extenuating circumstances, contact Just Ask and we can give feedback on your draft text. 

 

What evidence do I need?

As part of the enhanced package of mitigation introduced by the University in January 2021, evidence is not currently required if the circumstances relate to Covid-19. However, if you do have evidence available, we would suggest submitting it and if your extenuating circumstances relate to something else, we would strongly advise you to submit evidence if possible. If your extenuating circumstances are health-related you can provide a letter from your doctor, counsellor, psychiatrist or other health-care professional. If you have been a victim of crime, include a crime reference number or police report. Please contact Just Ask if you are not sure about this. 

Is there a deadline to submit Extenuating Circumstances?

The deadline for submitting your extenuating circumstances form is the first working day after each exam period. This includes the August/September resit period. Your school office will send you email reminders. If you don't submit your form before the deadline the University may not be able to consider your extenuating circumstances.  The eVision form will only allow you to submit the form for particular dates. If your circumstances continue for more than one date range, submit a form for each period. If you miss the deadline for submitting extenuating circumstances the only way you can get them taken into account retrospectively is by way of an academic appeal.

I’m ill, do I need to submit extenuating circumstances?

You need to submit an extenuating circumstances form with evidence if you are absent from an exam or timed assessment, or are ill during an exam, and have been unable to self-certify. See our page on self-certification.

I have been absent, do I need to submit extenuating circumstances? 

You need to submit an extenuating circumstances form with evidence if you are absent from teaching for more than seven consecutive days. We would also recommend that you let your personal tutor know about any periods of absence. 

I can’t finish my coursework, do I need to submit extenuating circumstances?

If you are unable to submit a piece of coursework by the deadline, or you submit it late, then you need to submit an extenuating circumstances form with evidence. 

I feel my performance in assessment has been affected, do I need to submit extenuating circumstances?

If you complete an assessment or exam but wish to tell the University about extenuating circumstances that affected your performance, then you need to submit an extenuating circumstances form with evidence. 

I have had an extension, should I still submit extenuating circumstances?

If you have had an extension for a piece of work, but you feel that your performance in the assessment was still affected, then you should submit an extenuating circumstances form with evidence. The extension and extenuating circumstances processes are separate, so it is important to do this if you feel the extension hasn’t adequately mitigated for your circumstances. See our page on extensions.

What happens to my form and what are the possible outcomes?

Your school’s extenuating circumstances committee (ECC) will review your form and evidence and assign a classification based on their severity and duration. The ECC provides the exam board with the classification. The exam board are told which assessments are affected but aren’t given any details of your circumstances or personal details. 

The exam board will look at your marks and your extenuating circumstances classifications and they will decide whether and how they can take your extenuating circumstances into account. Exam boards never change marks but possible options they can consider include: disregarding a mark for the purposes of calculating your overall degree classification, allowing a further attempt at a unit uncapped, allowing you to take a supplementary year uncapped. There is more information about this in the regulations (19.26-19.30)