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Student Guidance on Exceptional Factors

What are the Exceptional Factors Regulations?

Students are required to complete and submit assessments throughout their time at University. The University recognises that illnesses and other difficult situations do sometimes occur however, which may impact students' abilities to complete their assessments. If a student has valid, evidenced Exceptional Factors, they may be granted an extension or another assessment opportunity. The Exceptional Factors regulations outline what circumstances would normally be considered an Exceptional Factor by the University and the procedure for dealing with these. The full regulations can be accessed here:

What are Exceptional Factors?

They are exceptional, short-term events which have a serious impact on your assessment by:-

  • preventing you from attending, completing or submitting an assessment on time; or
  • significantly affecting your performance in an assessment.

Exceptional Factors are:

Severe: The event or circumstance must have had a serious impact on assessment performance
Unexpected: The student must had had no prior knowledge that a particular event would occur
Unpreventable: There must have been no reasonable steps that the student could have taken to prevent the event or circumstance from occurring
Relevant: The event or circumstance must have occurred at the time of the assessment or during the period immediately leading up to the assessment
Corroborated: You must meet the requirements for independent documentary evidence that are outlined in the regulations
Click Here for more detailed Types of Exceptional Factors.

What are not "Exceptional Factors"?

Please remember:

  • Exceptional Factors should not be submitted as an insurance against poor performance
  • Acceptance of Exceptional Factors will not result in your marks being raised

The following are not Exceptional Factors

  • Completing and submitting coursework late and missing deadlines
  • Non-availability of books or other resources
  • IT problems which include the loss of work
  • Financial problems (unless exceptional, e.g. bankruptcy)
  • House moves, holidays and travel, family celebrations or other events where you either have control over the date or could choose not to attend
  • Problems with postal delivery of work (you are advised to obtain receipts for assessments submitted in this manner)
  • Work commitments will not normally be accepted for full-time students. Part-time students should only submit Exceptional Factors if the work requirement in unexpected and/or non-negotiable
  • Appointments (e.g. legal or medical) which could be re-arranged.
  • A long-standing health condition, unless you have experienced a significant exacerbation of symptoms (please see the next section for further information on long-term conditions and disabilities)
  • Misreading the examination timetable;
  • Oversleeping or your alarm clock not going off causing you to be late for or miss an assessment


What about long-term illness or disability?

Long-term illnesses, chronic conditions and disabilities are not dealt with under the Exceptional Factors procedure. You should seek advice from the University's Disability Service, ideally at the beginning of your studies, if you have a disability of medical condition that may affect performance in assessments. They will be able to advise you of the extra support you may be entitled to.

If you experience an acute exacerbation of a long-term or chronic condition however, this may be considered a valid Exceptional Factor and you should follow the Exceptional Factor procedure if this has affected your performance in assessments.

What evidence is required?

You must provide relevant independent documentary evidence to corroborate your claims. Exceptional Factors will not be accepted without sufficient evidence.

Evidence must be:

  • Original (If you need to keep the original you must present it to Student Life Office who will take a photocopy and sign the copy).
  • Signed by an appropriate third party such as a GP, Police Officer, Solicitor or University Counsellor giving details of the circumstance, its dates and/or duration, and, where possible, its impact.

Medical evidence must:

  • relate specifically to the dates and duration of the illness
  • contain a clear medical diagnosis or opinion and not merely report the claim that you felt unwell
  • Post-dated medical evidence will not normally be accepted

What if my circumstances are confidential or sensitive?

All the information you provide will be respected by the University in accordance with data protection requirements. If you feel that the exceptional factors are highly personal, then claims should be submitted in a sealed envelope marked confidential. Prior to the meeting of the Exceptional Factors Panel, the Secretary to the Panel will open the sealed envelopes and anonymise your claim. All students are encouraged to allow information to be shared at least with Chairs of the appropriate Boards of Assessment. You should be aware that the Panel may reject your claim if you do not disclose any relevant information

How do I make a claim?

You must complete and submit an Exceptional Factors Form for all claims.

You can submit this electronically or in person to the Student Hub. All necessary evidence should be submitted along with the form. You may submit the form even if the evidence is not available at the time of submission, however the form must include the date when the evidence will be available.

When should I submit a claim?

You should ideally submit any claim before your assessment is due for submission or as soon as possible after the assessment. Your claim will not be considered after the assessment has been considered by an Assessment Board. After this time you will need to submit an academic appeal instead.

What if I need further assistance?

I’m still not sure what to do
If you require assistance with the procedural matters, such as how to complete the Exceptional Factors form or procedures in relation to the submission of Exceptional Factors to the University, you can discuss your claim confidentially with your Student Support Officer or the Student Union Advice Centre.

How will my claim be considered?

Your claim will be considered by an Exceptional Factors Panel. Exceptional Factors Panels meet at regular intervals throughout the year. The Panel will decide whether the circumstances you describe are valid Exceptional Factors, whether these are supported by sufficient evidence and whether they are likely to have adversely affected your performance in the assessment(s). The Panel will inform you of their decision. They will also notify the Assessment Board.

What happens if my claim is successful?

If your claim is successful, the Panel will recommend that the Assessment Board apply one of the following remedies:

  • Your assessment status will change. For example, if the assessment was a first attempt, you may be offered a further uncapped assessment as if for the first time. If it was your final assessment opportunity, you may be given a further final capped reassessment opportunity.

  • For coursework, the Panel may agree to offer you an extension.

What if my claim is unsuccessful?

If the Panel decides that you do not have valid Exceptional Factors your claim will not be accepted and you will not be offered an extension or have your assessment status changed.

How will I be notified of the decision?

You will receive notification by email of the panel decision. This will be sent within 5 working days of the panel meeting. A report of the decision will also be forwarded to the Programmes Office.

Can I appeal if my application is rejected?

Yes you can use the Academic Appeals Procedure. Guidance on the procedure and an application form can be found at: