Special Circumstances


The University aims to assess all its students rigorously but fairly according to its regulations and approved procedures. It does however rely on students to notify it of special circumstances which may affect their performance so that it can treat all students equally and equitably. Examples of Special Circumstances include, but are not limited to: short or long-term illness, severe financial problems, major accommodation problems, bereavement or other compassionate grounds.

If you do wish to let the University know of special circumstances, please complete the enclosed form fully and forward it to the designated people in ALL your departments together with original copies of the supporting evidence. If you need to retain the original evidence, departments will arrange to copy and verify the evidence before returning the originals to you. If you have to submit evidence to several departments, the original evidence only needs to be submitted to your Home Department, with a photocopy being submitted to other relevant departments. It is important that you clearly identify the impact that the special circumstances have had on your performance in the assessments you have listed on the Special Circumstances Form. For example, “I could not complete the listed assessments since I was in hospital between 1-4 November 2014”, or “I was not able to complete the examination to my usual standard since I was taken ill during the examination sat on 15 January 2015”. You must submit independent evidence to corroborate the impact that you detail on the form.
You may, if you wish, submit the evidence in a sealed envelope, marked 'confidential' but please ensure that your Full Name and Student ID number also appear on the envelope. It will be treated in accordance with the University's Statement on Confidentiality and will be used by Examination Boards to assess its impact on your performance in the relevant assessments. It will not be used for any other purposes. You will under no circumstances be disadvantaged by submitting this information.

Acceptable documentary evidence includes, but is not limited to:

  • a medical/health certificate with relevant date to the assessment;
  • a death certificate;
  • a letter of support/explanation from a support service in the University, or other appropriate external support organisation, for full details of the types of letter that may be provided by the University, please visit: http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/student-support/letters/
  • where your ability to submit coursework on time has been affected by circumstances involving a third party, you should submit independent documentary evidence that explains the impact that this has had on you.

Documentary evidence that will not be accepted includes, but is not limited to:

  • self-certification;
  • a statement written by you;
  • a medical/health certificate that is not relevant to the date of the assessment.

The following are not considered to be special circumstances:

  • problems with computers or printing;
  • lack of access to resources;
  • illness for which no medical evidence is available;
  • more than one deadline on the same day;
  • inability to answer question or struggling with material;
  • crisis games, performance productions, departmental study trips;
  • non-academic activities (e.g. military training).

Please note the University requires students to notify it of any exceptional personal circumstances which may have adversely affected their academic performance as soon as possible, preferably at the time you have been affected, and in any case before the meetings of Examination Boards. (Please note that Examination Boards normally meet one or two weeks after the examinations have ended – please check with your department(s) to ensure you submit information in time for consideration.) The University will not consider appeals based on special circumstances which could reasonably have been notified to departments before the Examination Boards or where, exceptionally, the relevant evidence becomes available only after the release of results. You should make every effort to provide as full and detailed a case as possible, supported by appropriate evidence, to avoid the uncertainty and worry of an appeal which can impact upon sponsorship, loans and accommodation.

Students who are unable to take examinations due to special circumstances such as temporary injuries/short term ill health are usually expected to resit in August. Other arrangements will only be allowed in exceptional circumstances, subject to the provision of appropriate medical evidence. Where requests are received five term time weeks before the student’s examination the University will endeavour to make adjustments subject to the nature of the request and the practical considerations of implementation. Adjustments must be both reasonable and practical to implement within the time available. It will not normally be possible for the University to implement requests received fewer than seven working days before the examination. Students who have obtained medical evidence must make an appointment to meet with an Accessibility Adviser in Student Support Services. On the basis of the evidence submitted and mindful of the practicality of the adjustment requested the Adviser will make a recommendation to the Superintendent of Examinations.

Further information on Special Circumstances is available under the Examination Conventions, and at http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/student-support/letters/

Downloads: Special Circumstances Form

(See the Staff List for details on who to send this to).