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Special and Mitigating Circumstances

Special Examination Arrangements

Special examination arrangements are available to students who have a medical condition affecting their ability to take the written examination under the usual conditions during exam time.

Students should apply for special arrangements via the Disability Office. They should apply as soon as they possibly can and no later than 15th March. Students who do not register for special exam arrangements by this deadline may have their request refused by the Department.Students who for reasons of religious observance prefer not to sit exams on particular day(s) should fill in the Religious Observance Form and submit it to the University Exams Office by 1st February.

If a student cannot attend an examination for medical reasons or due to other exceptional circumstances, they must let the Department know as soon as possible. The Department may be able to make special arrangements for the student, but if this is not possible the student should submit to the Department evidence, such as a medical note, showing that they were unable to take the examinations at the scheduled time. This evidence should be submitted no later than three working days after the date of the student's last examination, and before the meeting of the relevant Exam Board.

Mitigating Circumstances

Extenuating or mitigating circumstances are those events which have had a detrimental effect on your study. It is in your interest to draw the department’s attention to them and ask for them to be considered in mitigation of underperformance. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) illness, both bodily and emotional; the severe illness or death of a close family member; a shocking or traumatic personal experience. In addition, sudden, unexpected changes in family circumstances might affect your ability to make academic progress as a consequence of their demonstrable emotional impact upon you, and may also be considered as mitigation.

The Department understands that for many students it may be difficult to disclose the details of these kinds of circumstances to those outside their family. However, the department and the University are fully supportive of students in difficult circumstances and want to assist if at all possible. All information received is treated confidentially. If you feel inhibited from talking to a personal tutor or other member of staff in the first instance, you may also consider talking to a member of the SSLC, the Students’ Union, or a counsellor for initial, informal advice.

Clearly, though, in order for your circumstances to be considered , they must be conveyed formally. The University expects that you will discuss your circumstances before Exam Boards meet, so that they may be taken into account in good time. You should be aware that, in the event you feel you need to appeal the outcome of an Exam Board, offering extenuating or mitigating circumstances at that point will need to be accompanied by a good reason why you withheld the information earlier. Without wanting to invade your privacy, the University does expect that you bring such circumstances to your department’s attention in a timely manner, despite the discomfort you might feel in so doing. Failure to disclose such circumstances at a time when you could have done so may subsequently be problematic. Your department will do all it can to support you in difficult situations.

If you believe that your examination performance may be affected by medical or other difficult personal circumstances you have experienced, this may be taken into consideration at examination boards. Your degree classification; and/or your right to sit the examination again/at a different time; and/or a decision to waive lateness penalties if assessed work is submitted without prior consent for an extension may be affected by such information. Such information is, however, subject to the Data Protection Act and we may therefore only take it into consideration at examination boards if you have explicitly authorised us to do so. In order to give us the required permission, you MUST complete the 'Special Considerations Form'. If you submit the 'Special Considerations Form', please make sure that your Personal Tutor (or the Exams Secretary or other member of staff) is informed of your reasons for doing so in case s/he is needed to represent your interests. Members of staff may also put forward evidence to the Special Considerations Panel, but they will need your consent to do so. The form should be filled in and given to the Undergraduate Secretary (Room H342). Students must present the form, along with any relevant evidence, within a timely period following medical diagnosis, medical treatment or other incident for which the student is seeking special consideration. There is no formal deadline for submitting this form, but students who fail to do so in time for the two meetings of the Special Considerations Panel in mid-May and mid-June may not have their cases considered. Please note also that we may only consider such circumstances if you provide such evidence as may reasonably be expected for the difficulties you have experienced.

If you have any questions, please contact the Examinations Secretary, Dr Jonathan Davies.

Special Considerations Panel

The Special Considerations Panel meets to consider cases put forward by students or members of staff in mid-May (following the assessment submission period) and in mid-June (directly before examination boards). Members of the panel are bound by the confidentiality requirements specified by the Data Protection Act. Normally the panel will act on the recommendation of the Personal Tutor or appropriate staff member; and students should be reassured that detailed disclosure will only happen to the extent that is absolutely necessary. Students will be informed of the outcome of the panel's deliberations. The recommendations of the panel (but not the circumstances themselves) are then considered by the relevant examination boards.