Extenuating Circumstances FAQs

You never know what life may throw at you while fulfilling your degree, so our Advice Centre has put everything you need to know about extenuating circumstances into a short and sweet blog!

It's the second week of term three, and exam season has well and truly begun. We know this can be a stressful time, especially for those of you who may come up against unforeseen circumstances that prevent you from completing your exams. If this is the case, you'll need to apply for extenuating circumstances. 

Detailed information on extenuating circumstances, including how and when to apply, is available on the Student Intranet and on our web page. However, we also know that in the midst of all the exam and assessment stress, you have concerns that need answers quickly. Therefore, our Advice Centre has curated a helpful extenuating circumstances Q&A to provide you with some answers to the most commonly asked questions. 

What do I do if I can’t sit one of my exams?

You are expected to meet all your deadlines and attend all exams throughout the year, but there may be instances where due to unforeseen circumstances you are not able to sit an exam. If you are not able to attend an exam, you must let the Student Services Centre and/or your School know before the exam begins as detailed on page 17 of the College's Assessment Guidance for 2021/22 document. There are no extensions available for exams, but you can apply for extenuating circumstances for any exams you missed due to circumstances out of your control. 

What are extenuating circumstances?

Extenuating circumstances (ECs) are situations that are outside of your control. They are unforeseeable and unpreventable, which may temporarily prevent you from undertaking an assessment, or have a significant detrimental impact on your ability to undertake an assessment to the standard normally expected. 

Some examples of ECs include serious illness, unexpected hospitalization, bereavement, worsening of a long term physical or mental health condition, or major adverse personal or family situations. 

Some issues that will not be considered as extenuating circumstances include short-term minor illness, technology failure, transport issues and workload. You can find more information about what circumstances do and do not count as ECs on the Student Intranet.

How do I apply for them?

Applications for ECs are made via an online form. The forms for 2021/22 can be accessed via the Student Intranet. You will need to submit a statement explaining your circumstances, with evidence attached. 

What is the deadline for applications?

You can apply at any point throughout the year, but it is advised that you wait until after the final assessment that is affected by your circumstances, as you must evidence how your circumstances affected your performance, not how they might affect it in the future.

This year, the final deadline for undergraduates and for postgraduate students’ term 1-3 work is midday on Monday 30 May

What evidence do I need?

You can find a detailed guide to the kinds of evidence that will be accepted in this guidance document, starting on page five.  

If you do not submit sufficient evidence your application will not be accepted, and you won’t have the chance to re-apply so make sure you have suitable evidence ready to submit with your form. 

What if I can’t get the evidence recommended?

If you cannot get the evidence recommended, you should try to find any alternative evidence that is relevant. Then you should email the Extenuating Circumstances team to ask whether it is likely to be acceptable. Unfortunately, you won’t get the chance to submit any further evidence for your application after the deadline, so make sure you are prepared in advance.

When will I find out if my application is successful?

You won't receive an outcome from your extenuating circumstances application right away. You will receive an email to confirm your submission has been received, but you will usually only be notified of any mitigation taken as a result of your application when you receive your final results for the year. 

When you receive your final results, you will also receive a progression letter which sets out your options if you have not progressed to the next stage of your degree, as well as the options available as a result of any ECs applications that have been accepted. 

What outcomes can ECs give me?

There are a limited number of actions that can be taken as a result of an extenuating circumstances application - these include, the lifting of a late submission penalty, or the opportunity to take the assessment again at the next available opportunity (this may be the next academic year). Resits granted through ECs applications are First Sits, meaning they are uncapped and have no fee associated. 

ECs cannot increase module marks, a year or degree average or Classification.

When are resits?

Your progression letter will outline what resits have been offered to you. Depending on the course and type of assessment, you may be offered the chance to resit in the Summer Vacation Assessment Period, which runs from 22 August to 2 September. If you have to resit a significant number of credits, or your course requires it, you may only be able to resit assessments in the next academic year. Your progression letter will let you know what you have been offered. 

When will I get my resit results?

Results for assessments sat during the summer vacation assessment period will be released at 10:00 on Thursday 15 September 2022

You can read more about resits on our web page.

Further support

Our Advice Centre is a free, independent and confidential service for all students here at Royal Holloway. Our friendly, experienced and professional staff will provide a listening ear and offer general and specialist advice. We’re here to support you with a whole range of issues, big and small, and if we’re not the best people to help you with a particular issue, we’ll point you in the right direction.

Our advisors hold drop-ins on Zoom every Tuesday and Thursday during term time. You can find more information on our events calendar and can join the virtual drop-ins using this Zoom link.

Email us at advice@su.rhul.ac.uk with any questions or to ask for a different meeting time.