Assessment Deadlines and Exceptional Circumstances


  • You are responsible for managing your learning, revision and assessment activities throughout the whole duration of each semester, including the assessment period(s). It is important that you plan this activity carefully and that you do not leave too much assessed work or revision for examinations until the last moment.
  • York St John University recognises that illnesses and difficult or distressing personal circumstances occur as part of everyone’s life. Such circumstances are a normal part of life, however, and can normally be absorbed.  You are expected to meet the deadlines for all assessments, and you should plan your work so that you are not affected by unexpected last minute problems.
  • If your circumstances are so serious that you cannot engage with your assessment, you should consider suspending study. If you remain on the programme, you are considered to have made the decision that you were in a position to engage with the programme.
  • In exceptional circumstances, if you cannot meet the deadline for an assessment, the University may agree a deferral of the deadline. “Deadlines” include the date for submitting written assessments and the dates for examinations, practical demonstrations, presentations, performances and other forms of assessment.

 For this to apply, you must show that:

  • You could not have reasonably avoided the situation or otherwise acted to limit the impact (such as requesting to suspend your studies);
  • The events concerned are genuinely exceptional. Such events might include loss of a close family member, or a sudden and severe debilitating illness at the time of an examination or submission of assessed work. Circumstances such as the normal pressures of academic stress, paid employment, relationship issues, computer difficulties, transport difficulties, and financial difficulties are unlikely to be accepted.
  • The events must have had an impact on your ability to study or complete an examination, presentation or submit an assessment 
  • The timing of the exceptional circumstances must be related to the timing of the impact for which you are claiming 

Types of Claims 

There are two types of claims, with two different procedures to follow:

  1. Reasonable Adjustment: If you have a long-term health condition, disability, a specific learning difficulty, mental health diagnosis, which may have an impact on your ability to meet deadlines, you should follow the Reasonable Adjustment Process.
  2. Exceptional Circumstances: If you have short-term unforeseen circumstances, you will follow the Exceptional Circumstances Process outlined below.

Reasonable Adjustment Process

For chronic and long-term health conditions, disability, specific learning difficulties, mental health diagnosis

  • You will need to meet a member of the Disability Advice Team so that discussions can take place about the appropriate support the University can provide. Usually, a Learning Support Plan is produced to support you in planning your learning and assessment.   For more about student support, see our web pages.  Guidance for staff is also available: Reasonable adjustments (staff) (PDF, 481.8KB) 
  • Where you have a Learning Support Plan in relation to a particular condition, you should seek advice from the Disability Advice Team if the condition causes additional issues.
  • The Reasonable Adjustment Process is in place so both you and the University are clear about what can be done to help you manage your learning and assessment. However, exceptional circumstances can still occur which could not have been predicted through the Reasonable Adjustment Process.  In these exceptional circumstances, you should follow the Exceptional Circumstances process below.

Short-Term Conditions (Exceptional Circumstances) 

Exceptional Circumstances Process- applying for an extension to the published deadline because of unexpected acute crisis events

Evidence to support an application for Exceptional Circumstances

  • You must provide evidence of the impact that the unforeseen event has had on your ability to study, submit your assessment, or complete the examination. This must show:

1. that the unforeseen event occurred

2. evidence of the impact this has had on you

3. that the circumstances will affect, or were affecting, you at the time of the assessment

4. the duration for which you were affected

  • In matters relating to health, evidence provided by a GP or other professional should be evidence created/gathered at the time of the problem and should be provided by the medical professional who has diagnosed and/or treated you.
  • Evidence that simply states that you have been unwell is not acceptable. The evidence must say how the illness has affected your ability to complete your work, and for how long.
  • Even if your circumstances are sensitive, you must submit evidence. Disclosure to a member of staff is not accepted as an alternative to evidence.
  • Supporting evidence should be provided in English. Where the original document is in another language, you must provide both the original document and a translation into English. This need not be a professional translation – you may provide your own translation. You can expect the University to check the accuracy of your translation.

The University will only share the evidence with those people who need to make the decision.

Your request must be supported by appropriate evidence.  Guidance on appropriate evidence can be found under Frequently Asked Questions - Exceptional Circumstances (PDF, 0.3 MB).

If your request is subsequently turned down, it is important to be aware that the maximum mark you can be awarded is the pass mark, if you submit with 5 working days of the original deadline.  This applies to first attempts only.  Late submissions for re-sits are not accepted.


  • Applications relating to examinations may be submitted up to five working days after the examination.
  • Applications relating to assessments must be submitted, with evidence, before the published deadline. (In cases where the evidence is not available, the application must be received before the deadline, indicating the date the evidence will be submitted.)
  • Extensions are normally granted for 1-3 weeks. In very compelling cases, this time limit may be extended, but this may prevent you from being able to progress to the next year of your programme and/or complete your programme within the set time limits.
  • If you have missed the deadline, your application will not be processed. At this point, your only option is to appeal after the publication of the mark you believe to have been affected. An appeal will only be accepted if you can show that you had a good reason for not raising your exceptional circumstances at the time of the assessment, or else that you did raise your exceptional circumstances earlier but the University did not follow this exceptional circumstances procedure correctly.

For any queries regarding this policy please contact Registry.

Claim Form

Exceptional Circumstances Claim Form (DOC, 58.9 KB) 

Please complete the above claim form and email it to the School Administration Unit.

For guidance, you can check Frequently Asked Questions - Exceptional Circumstances (PDF, 0.3 MB).

Information on jury service is available at the following page: Support with Jury Service

The previous policy (pre-September 2017) is available for information: Archived Mitigating Circumstances Policy (PDF 96.3KB).

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