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Exceptional Circumstances

Let your School know when your work is affected

We hope that during your time at Keele you will feel able to perform at your best in your assessments. However, sometimes unexpected things can happen that have an impact on your performance, ability to sit your exams or submit your assessments on time. When this happens, you can submit an Exceptional Circumstances claim to ask for an extension or further assessment attempt.

You can find more information about ECs and details about the process in the University’s Exceptional Circumstances page. The University has also produced a video to guide you through how to make a claim online. *The information is now slightly out of date but is still helpful in guiding you through the form*


You must submit ECs using the approved form on eVision. ASK can help you to complete the form if any part of it doesn’t make sense.

You need to select the assessment from the menu, then select what outcome you would like. 

If your assessment is eligible for an extension, your options will include an automatic five working day extension. If you request this you will not need to include a statement but you are encouraged to do so.

If you are selecting one of the other options - further assessment opportunity or deferred placement - your case will be decided by the Student Experience and Support Officer, so you must also fill in the statement section and upload evidence.

You can only get an extension of five working days. Working days do not include weekends, bank holidays, and days the university is closed.

The extension is automatic, which means it does not need to be approved by anyone and your claim is unlikely to be read. If you  would like any support or just to chat about your issues please reach out to your Student Experience and Support Officer, ASK, or the counselling team. There is also a box you can tick on the form if you would like someone to read it.

You cannot ask for an extension of longer than five working days, unless you are in the Health Faculty. However, it is possible that your School would decide a later submission date would be more appropriate than a reassessment, e.g. for a Final Year Project. You would need to ask for a reassessment opportunity and if it's accepted the School will decide the best approach. You can try writing in your statement that a longer extension would be more suitable, and explain why.

We are aware there have been some problems in setting up this new system - if your assessment isn't showing an extension option and you think this is a mistake, contact your module leader to ask them to look into it.

**When requesting an extension you must make sure you give the correct submission date - if you put the wrong date you will be given the wrong extension deadline and risk submitting the work late. The School will always go by what should have been the correct extension deadline; not what you were given after putting in the wrong date.**

If you are struggling to write the statement  you can try using the headings below:


What are your exceptional circumstances?

Give details of what has happened - include dates and enough detail to allow the school to make a decision on your claim. If you have multiple circumstances that have impacted on you then put them in separate paragraphs to keep it clear.


How have the ECs prevented you from studying/revising/attending lectures?

Give details of how the circumstances you described have affected your performance. Be specific, even if it seems obvious!  For example, if you have been ill you may have had no energy to study or you could not concentrate on studying. If you have had to return home because of a family emergency then state that you were not at Keele so could not attend the exam. Remember that your circumstances will be treated sensitively and will not be disclosed to staff not involved in the EC process.

Evidence is an important part of completing an EC form, the form gives detailed guidance on the types of evidence you will be expected to provide to support your claim. If you are struggling to provide evidence speak to your school or come and see ASK for guidance.

It is really important that you submit an EC form as soon as you realise that your studies are going to be impacted. Don’t wait until your results are released because you will then need to consider an academic appeal.

You can get an automatic extension of five working days without needing to explain your circumstances.

For other ECs requests there isn’t a definitive list of circumstances that will be accepted - each case is considered individually. However, the University emphasises that ECs should be unforeseen and lists the following common examples: 

  • Acute illness or injury
  • Extended illness or injury
  • Bereavement
  • Significant domestic and/or personal problems
  • Court Attendance
  • Unforeseen Work Commitment (Part-Time/Distance Learning/PG students only)
  • Unforeseen representation of County or Country at Sport
  • Active Exercise of Citizenship
  • Unforeseen Major Transport Difficulties
  • Acute Illness of another person
  • Victim of Criminal Activity

Don’t worry if your circumstances don’t fit within the above examples, you can still submit a claim under the 'Other' category.


Are there any circumstances that would not be accepted?

You can get an automatic extension of five working days without needing to explain your circumstances. However, if you are submitting a request for a different outcome, there are some circumstances that won't usually be accepted.

  • Mistaking the date/time of an examination or coursework deadline
  • General pressure of academic work e.g. a number of assignments with similar deadlines, as you are expected to plan your work schedule
  • Employment commitments (though there are some exceptions – seek advice)
  • Alarm failure on the morning of the examination
  • Holiday
  • Family events
  • Personal computer/other IT device failure as you should have taken adequate precautionary measures e.g. backups
  • Not leaving adequate time to access IT equipment/printing facilities and then finding that they are not available unless there has been a documented systems failure
  • Non-compatibility of your IT equipment with University IT equipment, as it is expected that you should have planned and checked that it was possible to transfer files from your computer to the University systems well before the assessment deadlines
  • Religious observance – as such issues are not unforeseen and students should submit a 'special provisions' claim to their Schools or Exams - see Personalised Exam Arrangements for more details.

Extension requests must be submitted before the deadline. Requests for further assessment opportunities may be accepted after the coursework deadline or examination, but they must be submitted before the marks are confirmed and each School will set its own deadline - speak to your School(s) to make sure you don’t miss their deadline.

There are a few possible outcomes:

  • A further assessment opportunity as the same attempt. If you're submitting ECs for your first attempt, you can get an uncapped resit.
  • An  extension of a deadline for coursework submission.
  • Deferring or extending a placement.

You may also be contacted to discuss the Support to Study process, as this may be more beneficial for you.


Are there any outcomes I can't ask for?

The University will not raise your mark. You also cannot take a reassessment if you've attempted the assessment and passed the module - instead, your EC will be kept on record and considered again at the end of your course if you have a borderline degree.

You cannot ask for an extension of longer than five working days, unless you are in the Health Faculty. However, it is possible that your School would decide a later submission date would be more appropriate than a reassessment, e.g. for a Final Year Project. You would need to ask for a reassessment opportunity and if it's accepted the School will decide the best approach.

Contact ASK for advice on your options if your EC claim is not accepted or you have any further questions.

Depending on why your claim was rejected, you may be able to submit another EC. For example, if your first claim was rejected because you didn't have any evidence, you may be able to submit a new claim if you're within the deadline and now have evidence you can include.

If the University won't change the decision, you may have grounds for an appeal but you cannot submit an appeal until you have your official results. Make sure to note the deadline on your results email as you will only have 10 days to appeal.

If your circumstances are long-term you may want to consider taking a Leave of Absence (LOA). This could be for a few weeks, in addition to any ECs claims, or it could be for a longer time - you may decide to suspend your studies for the year and come back next year, to repeat the year or Semester 2 (depending on when you went on LOA). You can read more about LOAs on the University website.

If you're continuing, the University may decide to put you on their Support to Study process to give you extra support and tailored deadlines. You can also request to be put on this process if you think it would help you complete your work. Information about Support to Study is on the University website and you can talk to your School and Student Services if you'd like to know more.

If you have a long-term disability or condition you may be able to get adjustments for your studies and assessments by speaking to Disability and Dyslexia Support. Students who have an adjustment that allows for flexible deadlines should not need to submit ECs; you can instead speak to your School's Student Experience and Support Officer or Disability Liaison Officer, who will consult with your module leader to arrange a suitable deadline.

The University has a free counselling service, which is still operating remotely. You can visit the Counselling webpage for information about their service, how to contact them, and for some great self-help resources.

In addition to all other University support services, Keele University is working with Health Assured to enable all students to access to a 24 hour confidential helpline and digital resources to help you through any of life’s issues or problems. This service is sometimes called a ‘Student Assistance Programme’.

You can also talk to your GP to discuss support, which could include accessing NHS mental health services or trying medication.

Our Mental Health page has links to a number of support services you can contact, including Samaritans.