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Extenuating Circumstances

Extenuating Circumstances

What are Extenuating Circumstances

These count as instances or issues which are outside of your control, and which may temporarily prevent you from undertaking an assessment or have a significant detrimental impact on your ability to undertake an assessment to the standard normally expected. Extenuating circumstances are outside of your control as they are unforeseeable and unpreventable.

The University can make allowances for when such circumstances arise through the extenuating circumstances process. First and foremost, it’s important that you inform your personal tutor, staff from your department, or contact the advice team at the earliest opportunity so that we can let you know what necessary steps you need to take next.

There is further information available on the student portal:


Some examples of extenuating circumstances are:

  • Illness (excluding minor illnesses)
  • Hospitalisation
  • Bereavement
  • Worsening of a long-term condition
  • Major adverse family circumstances
  • Acute personal circumstances

Some issues that will not be considered as extenuating circumstances include:

  • Computer/tech failure
  • Transport issues
  • The workload/ number of submissions for your course
  • Appointments of any kind, which could be rearranged

It’s important to bear in mind that this list is not exhaustive, and you can find more information about what circumstances do and do not count as ECs on the student portal. If you're unsure of whether you should apply for ECs, you can speak to an advisor to discuss this further.


The form is online and can be accessed via the student portal. There is also guidance available for students who are considering applying for ECs.

Type of assessment

Deadline for submitting claim for ECs


No later than 10 working days after the published deadline for submission of coursework


No later than 10 working days after the date the presentation/performance was originally due to be delivered on


No later than 10 working days after the date the test was originally due to be taken

Examination (this includes formal face-to face invigilated examinations, online proctored examinations, and online time limited open book assessments e.g., those with a 48-hour window for completion)

No later than 10 working days after the date the examination was originally due to be taken

PGR milestones

No later than 10 working days after the deadline of the research degree milestone


If you are experiencing circumstances that affect you for up to five working days you only need to submit an extenuating circumstance claim form, you do not need to submit any evidence with it. You should clearly explain in your claim form what the issue is and how it is affecting your ability to attend or complete the assessment(s).

If you are experiencing circumstances that affect you for more than five working days, you must submit evidence with your claim form, unless you have previously been assessed for a long-term health condition


Claims should normally be submitted within the timescales detailed above. However, you can submit retrospective Extenuating Circumstances but they would need to be supported with details and evidence as to why you did not submit them at the correct time.

Some valid reasons and what sort of evidence would likely be acceptable can be found on Page 7 and Page 9 of the Extenuating Circumstances policy.


Remember, these processes are in place to be a support for you during your time at Plymouth University. If you need help understanding/completing the process, or want to discuss extenuating circumstances further, please contact the Advice team. We are an independent and confidential service offering impartial advice.

                                                                                                                                 Last Updated: April 2024