The Best Student Life. Bristol SU

What are Extenuating Circumstances?

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Because circumstances affect students in different ways, it’s hard to define this exactly. If you are unsure then it is a good idea to consult the Just Ask team or one of your tutors as soon as possible for advice.

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

  • Sudden and unforeseeable illness, such as an appendicitis or food poisoning 
  • Exacerbation of a chronic condition, such as a significant mental health problem 
  • Bereavement, such as the death of a parent or sibling, or other close family member 
  • Other unexpected responsibilities, such as caring for the well-being of someone close to you or jury service.

If it is felt that the circumstances would not have significantly affected the outcome of the assessment, for example the loss of only one revision day, then no change will be made. 

What circumstances are NOT normally regarded as extenuating?

It’s difficult to have a comprehensive list as each case is considered on its own merit, but generally if the circumstances could have been foreseen or avoided, it is unlikely that the University will deem them to be extenuating. Some examples are:

  • Transport problems: you are expected to plan your journeys so as to arrive at exams well ahead of the start time. Missing the bus or getting stuck in traffic will not normally be considered as unpreventable. 
  • Computer or IT problems: you are expected to plan your work schedule and remember deadlines. A computer problem on the day of hand-in would not normally be seen as an extenuating circumstance, as this could be prevented by better time management. 
  • Paid employment: that impacts upon your studies and/or prevents you from attending teaching or assessment.
  • Minor ailments: such as colds that are considered to be part of everyday life, which may have only mildly affected your performance in assessment, if at all. 
  • Normal levels of exam stress or anxiety that any student might experience.