In Oxford - Sheldonian Theatre
In Oxford - Sheldonian Theatre

Problems completing your assessment

There are a number of University processes in place to help you if you find that illness or other personal circumstances are affecting your ability to attend exams or submit assignments.

It is your responsibility to take action if you experience problems. This page includes details about the different processes available.

More detailed guidance including FAQs is available in the more detailed Student guidance on problems submitting work or attending an exam.

You can’t submit coursework on time

Self-certification up to 7 days

You can apply directly for an extension of 7 calendar days (1 week) without providing independent evidence. This will normally be because of a short term illness or flare up of a chronic condition. You can apply using this online form.

There are limits on applications, you can only:

  • self-certify once per submission.
  • make two applications using self-certification per academic year. An application may include more than one submission if it is due in the same working week.
  • apply up to 2 weeks in advance and up to 24 hours after the deadline.

Further extensions, or applications made later than 24 hours after the deadline, will require independent evidence and will need to be applied for via your college (or your department if you don’t have a college).

Extensions

All other applications for extensions must be applied for via your college (or department if you don’t have a college) and must be supported by independent evidence. The Proctors grant extensions to allow for time lost through ‘illness or other urgent cause that was unforeseeable, unavoidable and/or insurmountable’.

  • Your college can apply for an extension up to 4 weeks before the submission deadline. Wherever possible applications should be submitted in good time before the deadline.
  • The amount of additional time you can ask for should t0 be proportionate to the time you have lost through ‘illness or other urgent cause that was unforeseeable, unavoidable and/or insurmountable’ and, it has to be supported by the evidence you can provide – see the Student Guidance to find out what evidence you need.
  • The maximum total length of extensions that can be granted for the same assignment is 12 weeks.  
  • If there is a reason outside of your control why a request couldn’t be made within 14 days of the deadline, your college or department may be able to make an exceptional dispensation request to Education Committee to have your original application considered.  
  • If you decide to submit your assignment before you have had a decision, and your request is later granted, you will be given one opportunity to re-submit your assignment before the new deadline.
  • If your request is declined the Proctors will give you a reason why it has been declined and you will have an opportunity to appeal via Education Committee.

If you need more time to submit an assignment due to a disability or chronic condition, you should discuss with your college or department as there are different options available.

Submitting late

You are expected to submit your coursework on time. If you submit after the deadline the examiners will apply a late penalty, deducting marks in line with the examination conventions for your course.

If you couldn’t submit on time due to ‘illness or other urgent cause that was unforeseeable, unavoidable and insurmountable', you can apply to have the late penalty removed:

  • Your college (or department if you don’t have a college) must apply to the Proctors within 14 days of your deadline. If you have submitted late contact your college immediately to make an application.
  • You will need to provide evidence, see the Student Guidance to find out what you need to provide.
  • If your request is declined the Proctors will give you a reason why it has been declined and you will have an opportunity to appeal via Education Committee.
  • If there is a reason outside of your control why a request couldn’t be made within 14 days of the deadline, your college or department may be able to make an exceptional dispensation request to Education Committee to have your original application considered.

Incorrect submissions

Information on what to do if you have submitted your work to the incorrect location, or have submitted the wrong document is available on the Submissions page.

You can’t attend an exam (online or in-person)

If you can’t attend an exam due to ‘illness or other urgent cause that is unforeseeable, unavoidable and/or insurmountable’ your college (or department if you don’t have a college) can submit an application for you to be excused from attending:

  • Your college/department can apply up to 4 weeks before the date of the exam and within 14 days after.
  • You will need to provide evidence as to why you can’t attend, see the Student Guidance to find out what you need to provide.
  • If your request is declined the Proctors will give you a reason why it has been declined and you will have an opportunity to appeal via Education Committee.
  • If there is a reason outside of your control why a request couldn’t be made within 14 days of the deadline, your college or department may be able to make an exceptional dispensation request to Education Committee to have your original application considered.

If your request is granted the exam board will decide whether you can be classified on the work you have completed or whether you need to take the exam at a later date.

You cannot be excused from an exam if you have attended any part of the exam or if you have accessed an open book exam paper. If you become unwell during an exam you should submit a mitigating circumstances notice to the examiners.

If your preparation or revision for the exam has been affected by illness or other urgent cause you should attend the exam (if you are well enough to do so) and submit a mitigating circumstances notice to the examiners.

Problems with online exams

Submitting late - for online exams that require an uploaded response(s)

If the mode of completion for your online exam is 'Typed answers with supplementary uploads' or 'Uploaded answers only', all or part of your exam response will be uploaded into Inspera. For example, a question may require you to hand draw a diagram, scan it and then upload it to Inspera. To allow you to do so, your exam board will have incorporated technical time into your overall exam time in Inspera. You are expected to use this technical time to upload your exam response(s), as required, within the exam duration - you must not leave it until the last few minutes to do so. 

If you experience difficulties – either acute illness or technical problems – that mean you are unable to upload your response(s) to Inspera before the end of the exam:

  • As soon as you are able to you should complete the Online Exams Help form and attach the missing exam response files. 
  • You do not need to provide an explanation why your response is late or attach evidence to the form.
  • Your exam response will either be accepted and sent for marking, or referred to the Proctors.
  • If your late response is referred to the Proctors you will be asked to provide more information about why your exam response(s) are late and supporting evidence – see the Student Guidance to find out what you need to provide.
  • Exams responses more than 24 hours late will not be considered. 
  • If you late response is not accepted by the Proctors, only the work that you submitted before the end of the exam duration will be marked (if no work was submitted you will receive a mark of 0).

Replacing an incorrect exam response - for online exams that require an uploaded response(s)

You are expected to check you exam response(s) carefully before you press the ‘submit now’ button. Further guidance can be found on the Online Exams page.   

If you do identify a substantive error in a file or files you have uploaded (e.g. you have uploaded the wrong file, there are missing pages to your scan or the scan is blurry), you may submit a replacement within 30 minutes of the end of your exam duration:

There is no mechanism to replace an incorrect or incomplete file from 30 mins onwards. The work you uploaded will be marked.  

Online exams with typed answers only

If the mode of completion for your online exam is 'Typed answers', you are expected to type your answers directly into Inspera, where they will be automatically saved.  

If you decide to work outside of Inspera, with the intention of copying and pasting your answer into Inspera before the end of the exam duration, you do so at your own risk. Any work not entered into Inspera by the time your exam ends cannot be accepted for marking. Only the text saved within Inspera at the end of the exam duration will be marked.

If you lose your internet connection during a typed online exam, you can continue to type into Inspera. If you are offline when the exam ends, do not close your browser window. You will be able to download a record of your exam responses as a .ia file. This is an un-editable file which contains only answers completed within your exam duration and is therefore not considered a late upload. You should then contact the Online Exams Support Desk, by completing the Online Exams Help form.  

Further guidance for online exams can be found on the Online Exams page.   

Starting an online exam late

You are expected to start your exam promptly at the published start time. If you are prevented from starting your exam on time, you will not lose time from your exam duration if you start within 30 minutes of the scheduled start time. If you start more than 30 minutes late, you will not be penalised but you will have a proportionately reduced exam duration. 

Mitigating circumstances notices to examiners (MCE)

If you believe your performance in assessment has been seriously affected by illness or personal circumstances you can submit a mitigating circumstances notice to your examiners (MCE) to let them know, and to allow them to consider whether your outcome for affected papers or outcome overall should be adjusted.

You can submit an MCE either directly or via your college or your department if you are a non-matriculated student.

You should read the student guide to MCE before you submit a notice to understand the process, what information you should provide, and what the range of possible outcomes are.

Submitting an MCE

Before submitting your notice you can seek advice from your college office or your department if you don’t have a college. For technical instructions on submitting an MCE notice please refer to the Student self service manual, page 54.

  • You may submit an MCE directly in Student Self Service.
  • You can also submit an MCE via your college, or department if you don’t have a college, if you need the MCE to be raised on your behalf, but you will need to supply them with your statement and supporting evidence.
  • You are encouraged to submit one main MCE for each University Examination (e.g. FPE, FHS, formal Part of the FHS, whole of a PGT course etc.), however you can submit a further MCE if new circumstances have arisen since you submitted your first.
  • You should submit a statement in support of your MCE to explain in a clear and concise manner how your performance in assessment has been impacted (either in the box provided or as an attachment) along with supporting evidence. Evidence could include – medical certificates or letters, statements from college officers or tutors, statements from a counsellor or other support person. The student guide provides more information on what to include.
  • Any additional information should be uploaded as supporting documentation (2MB file limit per document). Please make sure that any supporting documentation submitted with your notice is not password protected as this will prevent your notice from being processed.
  • Notices should be submitted as soon as possible after completing the affected assessments and must be received prior to noon on the day before the exam board.
  • The examiners will consider your mitigating circumstances and any supporting documentation and decide what, if any, action they can take.
  • You will be able to view the outcome of your MCE via the results screen in Student Self Service when your year outcome has been released.

Academic appeals

  • If you have concerns about the conduct of university exams - raise these initially with your senior tutor or department if you don’t have a college.
  • If you are a graduate research student you should raise your concerns with your director of graduate studies
  • If, following such a discussion with your department or senior tutor, you have a concern about procedures not being correctly followed during an exam, or you have reason to believe that your exam was not conducted fairly, you may make an academic appeal to the Proctors.

Complaints 

If you have concerns about circumstances that have affected the teaching or tutorial support on your course you should raise these with your department/faculty under the complaints procedures.

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