Illness and Special Provision


Illness on the day of the exam

If you are likely to miss an examination, you should contact the Student Services Centre as soon as possible on +44 (0)20 7955 6167. An answer-phone is available outside of normal School hours and messages will be responded to as soon as possible.

Please refer to the Examination Procedures for Candidates (PDF) for further information on illness during the examination period.

Special exams provision

BA/BSc or Masters students: Special Exam provision in "very exceptional" circumstances

1.1    The Academic Board agreed on 13 June 2007 to re-establish a provision whereby a special exam paper can be set for a BA/BSc student or a taught Masters student who wishes to sit such an exam, having been unable to attempt or complete it due to "very exceptional" medical or other exceptional circumstances that arose up to three calendar days prior to or during the affected examination(s).

1.2    The definition of "very exceptional" is limited to the following criteria:

· serious injuries incurred in an accident – i.e. resulting in hospitalisation and rendering them physically unable and/or medically unfit to sit an exam(s).

· the sudden contraction (or complication) of a very severe or contagious disease, illness or condition (e.g. pregnancy) – in the period immediately before an examination i.e. rendering them physically unable and/or medically unfit to sit an exam(s). In the case of a contagious illness, this rule refers to an illness which may pose a serious risk to the health of others, meaning that it would not be advisable for the student to attend the School because of the risk of infecting others.

· the death of a close relative – i.e. a member of the immediate family (parent, sibling, spouse, child) or, where there is clear evidence, someone else whose death would have a similarly devastating effect.

1.3    This provision will only apply to students who cannot otherwise graduate or progress because of the missing exam.  A special exam will not be required for a student:

  1. who is not due to graduate in the current session and who can continue to the next year of study carrying an absence in the affected paper(s) - e.g. a BA/BSc student who passes all other papers in the current year and can carry forward the affected paper; or a student registered part-time or on the first year of a two-year Masters degree.
  2. who has received a bad fail in any exam or failed more than one exam that was not affected by the "very exceptional" medical or other exceptional circumstances.

1.4    The Special Exam provision will be put into operation along the following lines:

  1. Any student who thinks s/he meets the "very exceptional" criteria and who wishes to sit a special exam should normally contact his/her department or the Student Services Centre (i) prior to the affected examination(s) or, (ii) if that is not possible, within five working days after it (them).
  2. In all cases, the student will need to make a request to sit a special exam in writing to the Student Services Centre.  S/he will also be required to provide documented supporting evidence.  In the case of accident or severe illness, the evidence will include a hospital report and/or medical letter from a local GP practice (the School may also seek guidance from the St Phillips medical centre, in order to judge whether a particular condition meets these criteria).  In the case of death, there will need to be a copy of the death certificate and proof of the relationship of the deceased to the student.
  3. A view on the merits of the application will be sought from the student's home department and, if different, from the department(s) responsible for the affected exam(s).  In respect of the former, this will normally be the Sub-Board Chair and/or Head of Department, in consultation with the student's supervisor/tutor and/or Programme Director.  In respect of the latter, this will normally be the Sub-Board Chair and/or Head of Department, in consultation with the lead examiner for the affected exam.
  4. All decisions will be taken by the Undergraduate or Graduate School Board of Examiners (SBE/GSBE) or its Chair to ensure equity across the School and consistency between years.  If the SBE/GSBE does not approve a student's request, it will be open to her/him to appeal the decision.  The appeal would need to be made in writing within five working days to the Academic Registrar on the grounds that (i) there is evidence which the SBE/GSBE has failed properly to consider or (ii) the SBE/GSBE has not followed correct procedure.  If the Academic Registrar determines that proper grounds have been established, the case will be referred back to the SBE/GSBE for re-consideration.  If the Academic Registrar finds that proper grounds have not been established, the student will be able to appeal (i.e. in respect of the validity of grounds) to a Pro-Director.
  5. The examination will be scheduled to take place as soon as is practicable, and normally no later than the middle of November.  The exam date will be negotiated between the SBE/GSBE Secretary (on behalf of the student) and the Department responsible for the course, subject to ratification by the SBE/GSBE Chair.
  6. The paper will need to be marked and ratified in accordance with the procedures outlined in the School's Instructions for Examiners, within a timescale to be agreed by the SBE/GSBE Chair, taking into account the need to have a confirmed mark before the start of the next academic session.