Extenuating Circumstances: The Basics

We know that life sometimes throws a curve ball your way, and sometimes that curve ball comes slap bang in the middle of exam season. For times like these, there are extenuating circumstances (ECs).

What are extenuating circumstances?

These count as instances or issues which are outside of a student’s control, and which may temporarily prevent a student from undertaking an assessment, or have a significant detrimental impact on their ability to undertake assessment to the standard that is normally expected. They are outside of your control, as they are unforeseeable and unpreventable.

While the College will look to support you when such circumstances arise, please keep in mind that allowances can only be made within the regulations set by the relevant exam board.

Your ECs will also have to be evidenced, and that evidence accepted, before the exam board can make an allowance.

It’s very important that you inform your department, staff from Student Support Services, or our Advice Centre at the earliest opportunity, so that we can let you know what necessary steps you need to take next.

What counts as an EC?

Below is a list of issues that are considered as extenuating circumstances:

  • Illness (excluding minor illnesses)
  • Hospitalisation
  • Bereavement
  • Worsening of a long-term condition
  • Major adverse family circumstances
  • Acute personal circumstances

Some issues that will not be considered as extenuating circumstances include:

  • Short-term illness (coughs, colds, sore throats etc.)
  • Computer/tech failure
  • Transport issues
  • ‘General exam stress’ (unlinked to mental illness)

It’s important to bear in mind that this list is not exhaustive, and if you think that your personal circumstances are impacting on your academic performance then you can speak more about this during the drop-in sessions. Although exam stress isn’t considered to be an EC, we are running plenty of fun and rejuvenating Stressbusters activities across campus to help you get through the exam season.

SU Advice Centre Drop-Ins

To give you a helping hand, the SU Advice Centre we will be holding drop-in sessions to answer any questions you may have relating to extenuating circumstances. These sessions will take place every Tuesday at 10:00 – 13:00 and 14:00 – 16:00 and will be running from 30 April until 28 May, with an additional service on Monday 3 June. If you’re going through anything that you feel is affecting your studies, you can come along to speak to Charlotte, our Academic Support Advisor at the SU, to go over any concerns you may have.

When can I submit my extenuating circumstances?

For Undergraduate students, the deadline for submitting your extenuating circumstances form, along with relevant supporting evidence is Tuesday 4 June at midday. Postgraduate students will need to contact their department to find out when their deadline is. It is the student’s responsibility to inform the department and submit the relevant proof to support a claim.

Remember, these processes are in place to be a support for you during your time at Royal Holloway. If you wish to discuss anything in more detail, please email advice@su.rhul.ac.uk.