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Mitigating Circumstances

Boards of Examiners and Notification of Mitigating Circumstances

Assessment of student's work is generally carried out by a Board of Examiners, usually consisting of academic staff and, in the case of final-year students, one or more external examiners who are normally senior members of academic staff from other UK universities.

In all cases mitigating circumstances affecting the performance of individual candidates may be taken into consideration by the Board, but of course the Board can only do this if it knows about them in advance of its meeting and they are properly documented (e.g. by medical evidence). If there are special factors that affected your performance it is essential that you inform the relevant person in your department (as published in departmental information in the student handbook or on the department's website, normally the Mitigating Circumstances Officer (MCO)) before the deadline stated in departmental information which is normally befoe the meeting of the relevant Board of Examiners. Please note that while it is acknowledged that cultural attitudes to the disclosure of personal information may vary, students are expected to disclose all matters they wish to have taken into consideration by the Board of Examiners that they think may have had an adverse impact on them in academic terms.

If you are prevented for medical reasons from attending an examination paper or any part of an examination you should submit to your department a Mitigating Circumstances Form (MCF) to report mitigating circumstances arising during an examination. Relevant evidence must be submitted, e.g. a doctor's certificate note confirming your inability to take or complete the examination at the prescribed time and cases must be submitted on the MCF to the Mitigating Circumstances Officer within 24 hours of the examination in question. Evidence should be submitted within five working days of the submission being made.

Please note that the responsibility for informing your department of possible mitigating circumstances lies with you, the student. Please ensure any mitigating evidence is submitted to your department by the deadlines stated in the student handbook or on the department’s website in time for the meeting of the relevant Board of Examiners and please note that the University's appeal procedures cannot be used simply to present mitigating evidence late which could have been provided to the Board of Examiners' meeting.

More detailed information about mitigating circumstances and their treatment is available on the Teaching Quality Office web page at:


In connection with Ramadan, where this overlaps with the University's Summer Term examination period, the University's Board of Undergraduate Studies, at its meeting on 10th February 2015, resolved that students be provided with the following statement of advice:

It has been suggested that Muslim students undertaking the Ramadan fast may not be best placed to take examinations, perhaps especially in the afternoons, and the University’s Board of Undergraduate Studies, following consultation with the University Muslim Chaplain, has considered what advice should be given on the issue.

Students are reminded that presenting themselves for a University examination is taken to imply fitness to undertake the examination. If, however, a student feels that observance of the Ramadan fast has had a significant adverse health effect on their examination performance and can provide confirmatory medical evidence, they may request that this be considered as potential special evidence by the relevant Board of Examiners (in the same way as for claims of other special factors), should their academic performance be borderline and/or be significantly below the expected level for that student on the basis of their overall academic record at the University.

In this case, a student must notify the Board of Examiners in accordance with their department’s instructions regarding the notification of mitigating circumstances.

Consideration of this evidence and the determination of any consequence it may have for the student’s academic results will then be a matter for the Board of Examiners.