Exceptional Circumstances

In this Section

 

Exceptional Circumstances

 

Important Information - Examinations Update - 6th January 2022

The University recently communicated an Examinations Update to all students via email on 6th January 2022.

All January 2022 assessments will now take place online, except for:

  • BF2264 Business Tax
  • BF3303 Audit and Professional Ethics        
  • BF3308 Tax Policy and Personal Tax           

If you are studying one of these your College will communicate with you directly.

The University are currently in the process of updating examination timetables to reflect this change. Please ensure that you check this by logging into My Aston Portal (MAP) prior to sitting your assessments as information will be updated in the days ahead. Colleagues within the University will be working on making these changes as quickly as they can. Where possible exams will take place on the same date, but it is important you check MAP. Please bear with The University as they work on updating arrangements.

The health and safety of our community remains a top priority, as does the ability of our students to progress with their studies.

The University will be updating their coronavirus FAQ page with the latest updates, including what to do if you are unable to sit an exam online at home, should you test positive for Covid-19, and if you are feeling so unwell that you are unable to participate in your scheduled exam.

If you have any questions about your exam timetable, please contact your College Support Team at the email address below:

 

Also keep an eye on the University's coronavirus FAQ page for the latest updates.

 

What if I am unable to sit exams due to positive test / Exceptional Circumstances

  • Should you test positive for Covid-19/Omicron during the examination period, or be in a period of isolation, you should report this to covid-19reporting (covid-19reporting@aston.ac.uk) and contact your Personal Tutor/Programme Team.
  • If you are not fit to sit your exam or assessment you will be deferred (see below).
  • If you test positive for Covid-19, or you are are not fit to sit your examination/assessment for other reasons you need to complete and submit an EC form available at My Aston Portal (MAP). For more information about submitting an EC see our exceptional circumstances webpage (or read our Students' Union information below on Exceptionanal Circumstances).
 

Deferrals / Examination Resits

  • Please note that now examinations have moved online, the deferral examinations will return to the normal timing of week commencing 22 August 2022.
 

Quiet spaces to revise/sit online exams

If you need to book space on campus to sit your online exam the following rooms are bookable and can be booked via the Library booking system.

  • Library L014
  • Library L017
  • Library L018
  • Library L208
  • Library L209
  • Main Building MB203
  • Main Building MB205
  • Main Building MB208
  • Main Building MB413

There are also non-bookable rooms available.

Where do I go for exam support?

Log into the LDC module in Blackboard which includes support for Exams and Revision, Effective Study at University and a section on Understanding Referencing. There's also a section Preparing for Maths Exams and extensive resources for maths revision, including practice questions and supporting videos. The maths drop-in centre is available Monday - Friday too - check out (Maths Support - LDC) for further information.

 

Keep an eye on The University's coronavirus FAQ page for the latest updates. For information on applying for exceptional circumstances please read the information below.

 

What are Exceptional Circumstances?

Exceptional Circumstances are circumstances which cause the student to:

  1. perform less well in coursework than might have been expected on the basis of other work,
  2. fail to meet submission deadlines,
  3. fail to attend a timed assessment or examination, and/or
  4. be adversely affected by an incident or issue occurring during an examination.
 

In general, exceptional circumstances can be short-term circumstances of a health related or personal nature significantly affecting a student at the time of an assessment or a period of time relevant (close) to the assessment, which can normally be supported by independent evidence.

Long-term or ongoing health conditions are only usually considered if there has been an unexpected worsening at the time of the assessments in question. This is because there are other processes for supporting students with disabilities, long-term and ongoing health conditions which can be discussed with the Enabling Team (Student Hub).
 

What should I do before deciding to submit an application for exceptional circumstances?

  1. If you have tested postive for Covid-19/Omicron, read the University's Examination Update above (Unable to sit exams due to positive test). For students who test positive for Covid, there is no need to complete an Exceptional Circumstances form. Students are asked to advise their School (via Personal Tutor) and email their positive result to covid-19reporting@aston.ac.uk.
  2. If you think you need to apply for exceptional circumstances to request an extension or to defer an assessment due to other circumstances, read the information below and the Guide to Exceptional Circumstances to check whether you are likely to meet the criteria and what evidence is usually required.
  3. Understand the University’s Fit to Sit Policy means that if you attend an examination or other fixed time assessment, you will be considered to have declared yourself ‘Fit to Sit’ the assessment and made a valid attempt at the assessment, subject to consideration of factors affecting performance which may arise subsequent to beginning the assessment. This means if you sit an exam any mark you gain is likely to stand even if you submitted an EC application. Therefore you need to decide whether you are well enough to sit the exam or not. This includes whether you were or will be well enough to sufficiently revise and prepare for the assessment. If you are unable or not well enough to attend an exam you should inform your School as soon as possible and complete an EC application.
 

How do I apply for ECs?

Applications for exceptional circumstances must be submitted online via MAP Task. The University’s Guide to Exceptional Circumstances provides detailed guidance on what circumstances are likely to meet and the evidence required.

In summary, you will need to explain how your circumstances are exceptional, the significant impact on you and your academic work and also the time period you been or are likely to be affected which must be relevant to the dates of the assessment. Try to provide as much detail as possible about how your circumstances have been affecting you. It may help to think about how your ability to study, prepare and complete your assessment(s) have been affected. Your circumstances must be relevant to the time period of the assessments. In order to support your application you will also need to provide evidence that confirms your circumstances.

What Evidence Do I Need?

You also need to provide evidence of your exceptional circumstances that must confirm your circumstances, how they affected you and your studies and it should also include the period of time you were affected. The University’s Guide to Exceptional Circumstances provides detailed guidance on what circumstances are likely to meet the EC criteria and the evidence required.

Circumstance Supporting Documentation
Illness which prevented you from attending an exam/ assessment or occurred after the start of an examination or assessment
  • Letter/certificate from a health professional/counsellor confirming any health circumstances, the impact on your studies and the period of time you have been or will be affected.
  • Hospital appointment letters, a copy of prescription or medicine labelling may also be considered.
  • If your illness is a self-limited, common ailment not requiring medical attention, you should be aware that this will not normally qualify as an Exceptional Circumstance warranting an extension for written assignments. If such an illness affects your attendance at an examination, oral assessment or other form of test, you should inform your School as soon as possible and seek their guidance on how best to provide the necessary evidence. Please also see the paragraph on weighting of evidence in The University’s Guide to Exceptional Circumstances.
Illness which prevented you from completing an assessment (coursework) on time – see section on late submission
  • Letter/certificate from a health professional/counsellor confirming any health circumstances, the impact on your studies and the period of time you have been or will be affected.
  • Hospital appointment letters, a copy of prescription or medicine labelling may also be considered.
Unforeseen major travel disruption which caused you to be late/miss an exam
  • Letter from transport company.
Legal matters
  • Letter/documents from court/solicitor.
Personal/domestic problems which occurred in the period leading up to an examination/assessment deadline
  • Letter from someone who has direct knowledge of the problems and/or has been involved in supporting you (e.g. religious leader, student finance advisor, employer, chaplaincy, Student Services Adviser, an adviser from the Union’s Advice & Representation Centre).
Bereavement
  • Death certificates; supporting evidence of effect of bereavement from parent/guardian, doctor or counsellor.
Jury Service
  • Official letter from the court requesting your attendance.

For long term issues, such as on-going health/personal/financial issues, which affect your ability to study or your ability to perform generally, would not usually be accepted as exceptional circumstances by the University.

EC applications would not usually be accepted for students with long-term chronic long term health conditions, disabilities or learning differences unless there was evidence of a sudden, unexpected temporary flare up or worsening of the condition. This is because there is support for students with significant ongoing long term health conditions or disabilities which affect their studies that can be accessed through the University’s services such as the Enabling Team who can potentially arrange for support such as reasonable adjustments for study and assessments to be put in place.

If you will not be able to obtain the evidence before the deadline for submitting the EC application, you must still submit the EC application on time and let your School know the evidence will be provided later.

When is the Deadline for Submitting an EC application?

Deadlines for each School are listed on the University’s Exceptional Circumstances webpage. If you are unsure you should contact your School as soon as possible for this information.

If you will not be able to obtain the evidence before the deadline for submitting the EC application, you must still submit the EC application on time and let your School know the evidence will be provided later. However, please note that EC applications and evidence for exceptional circumstances will not usually be accepted after the published deadlines unless you can provide good reason why you were not able to submit them earlier.

Where do I submit the EC application?

Applications for exceptional circumstances must be submitted online via MAP Task. Should you require information from your School, the email addresses for each School can be found on the University’s Exceptional Circumstances webpage. You will need to scroll down the page until you find your School who will have listed an email address for who to contact should you have any questions or require any support regarding your application.

What happens after I submit the EC application?

The Exam Board, or more often, the Exceptional Circumstances or Absence Panel (ECAP), will recommend whether your claim of exceptional circumstances meets University regulations or not.

 

Who can I talk to at University if I am experiencing difficulties?

There are a range of people available to discuss any problems affecting you and your studies:

  • SU Advice & Representation Centre (ARC) (That’s us!) – Confidential advice service, we provide advice on the options available and provide advice on submitting an Exceptional Circumstances application.
  • Personal Tutors/Advisors/Programme Directors (In your School). If your School are aware they can potentially provide support including allowing you a break from your studies until the issue is resolved
  • The Student Hub - provides advice on various issues which includes student finance, fees, funding and visas. You can also access other University services such as:
    • Counselling and Mental Wellbeing Service - Qualified counsellors/psychotherapy/mental health practitioners supporting students with a wide range of issues including anxiety, academic stress, low mood and depression, relationship difficulties, and bereavement.
    • Enabling Team - Provide support and guidance for students with disabilities and long-term health conditions.
  • Residence Tutors (Aston Student Village) – Provide pastoral care and welfare support for their residents
  • Chaplains (MLK Multi-faith Centre) - Experienced at listening and offering pastoral and spiritual guidance, prayer, support and friendship to all – regardless of background.