Exceptional Circumstances

The exceptional circumstances form has been updated to ensure that you can provide all the relevant information.

January 2024

Exceptional Circumstances (ECs) are the only way to inform the Exam Board about circumstances  you feel may have affected you during your assessments. Appropriate corroborating evidence must also be submitted as part of your ECs.

Please read the Student Guidance on ECs before submitting your exceptional circumstances form. 

The School has a “fit to sit” policy that applies to all students. If you submit an assessment, or sit an exam,  we consider you have declared yourself well enough to do so. If you experience disruption to your studies prior to the assessment (e.g. due to personal difficulties, crime, bereavement, illness etc.) you must think carefully about whether you should attempt that assessment or whether you should apply for an extension or request to defer.

If you experience circumstances which are sudden, unforeseen, outside of your control close to when an assessment is due for submission, you should consider requesting an extension. This may be appropriate for an essay, project or dissertation.

If you feel you require more time to submit the work than an extension would normally allow, or if the assessment in question has a static deadline e.g. an exam or take home assessment released on a specific date, you  should consider requesting a deferral.

If having submitted an assessment or attempted an assessment, you feel your performance was directly impacted by circumstances which are sudden, unforeseen, outside of your control you should submit ECs in order to allow the Exam Board to take your circumstances in to account.

You should also submit ECs if you are unable to submit an assessment or were absent from an exam and you did not have permission to defer. You should also submit ECs if you submitted an assessment after the deadline to allow the Exam Board to consider whether or not to apply late penalties.

Submit an Exceptional Circumstances Form

The form will allow you to provide a summary of your circumstances, note why an extension or deferral was not appropiate, list the impacted assessements, explain the impact on those assessments and upload your supporting evidence.

Deadline

You must submit your ECs and supporting evidence by the following deadlines:

  • For assessments taken during the January postgraduate Resit and Deferred Assessment Period (RDAP) – within 7 calendar days (5 working days) of your last RDAP assessment or by 12pm midday (UK time) on 21 January 2024 at the latest, whichever is earlier. This deadline also applies to you even if you have deferred some assessments to a later period.  
  • All undergraduate and 9/10 month postgraduate students, and May/June postgraduate Resit and Deferred Assessment Period (RDAP) assessments – within 14 calendar days after your final Spring Term assessment or by 12pm midday (UK time) on 18 June 2024 at the latest, whichever is earlier. This deadline also applies to you even if you have deferred some assessments to a later period.
  • All 12 month/24 month or Executive postgraduate taught students – within 7 calendar days (5 working days) of your last assessment taken during the academic year (e.g. normally this will be your dissertation or project) and by 12pm midday (UK time) on 15 September 2024 at the latest, whichever is earlier. This deadline also applies to you even if you have deferred some assessments to a later period.
  • For assessments taken during the August undergraduate or postgraduate Resit and Deferred Assessment Period (RDAP) – within 6 calendar days of your last RDAP assessment or by 12pm midday (UK time) on 3 September 2024 at the latest, whichever is earlier. This deadline also applies to you even if you have deferred some assessments to a later period.

In all cases you are encouraged to submit ECs and evidence as soon as possible.

If the deadline for you to submit ECs falls on a public holiday, then your ECs will still be accepted on the next working day after the bank holiday. Anything submitted after this deadline may not be considered by the Exam Boards.

Supporting Evidence

EC submissions must include appropiate corroborating evidence in English. Forms submitted without evidence are highly unlikely to result in any action.

Please read evidence to support exceptional circumstances submissions for guidance on the type of evidence we expect, the technical requirements of the form, and how you can get documents translated. Please note that the EC form will only accept PDF uploads, you will need to convert your evidence to PDF before completing the form.

You must submit your EC form by the relevant deadline (see above) and it should contain all of your evidence. If your evidence is not complete then you should wait until it is all ready before submitting your form, so long as you still meet the deadline. If you are unable to obtain all of your evidence by the deadline, then you should submit the your EC form with the evidence you do have (or with no evidence) and explain why you have had to do this (there is a space to for this on the form). Remember that it is highly unlikely that exceptional circumstances submissions without supporting evidence will result in any action.  

After submitting ECs

Once you have submitted your ECs, you will receive an automated email confirming they have been received. Your ECs will be considered by the relevant Exam Board when they are formally ratifying your marks. However, you will receive no further correspondence unless the Exam Board makes a decision that results in you having to take further action (e.g. you are granted the opportunity to retake an assessment).  

Please be aware that the Exam Boards will be looking for very specific conditions before the normal application of the classification scheme rules can be suspended. As such it is quite rare that any action is taken as a result of submitting ECs, so it is normal not to receive any further correspondence from the School.

If you have any queries once you have submitted ECs please conact the Student Services Centre using our online enquiry form (select Exams and other assessments then Exceptional Circumstances).

What can ECs do

Please note that the actions Exam Boards may determine to take will always depend on your individual circumstances and the merits of the ECs submission and supporting evidence. Depending on the circumstances, the Exam Board may determine to:

  • Discount a failed/absent attempt, essentially treating it as a deferral
  • Grant additional attempts where attempts at an assessment have been exhausted
  • Remove late penalties that were applied due to late submission
  • Award a higher degree classification, if you have a borderline mark profile as defined by the General Proviso in the Classification Scheme for your programme. If you are a continuing student or not currently eligible for classification but have passed all your assessments, your ECs will be considered by the Exam Board again at the point you become eligible for classification.

What can’t ECs do

Individual marks can never be changed as a result of the submission of Exceptional Circumstances (ECs). However, ECs may result in the lifting of a penalty where late submission penalties have been applied, see above. 

It is not possible to discount a course or assessment that you pass even if you feel you have underperformed. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When will my Exceptional Circumstances be considered?

Decisions about exceptional circumstances are confirmed on the day your formal results are released and can be seen by checking your results. You will only receive individual notification if you have been granted an exceptional attempt or have had  an attempt or attempts discounted. Candidates are not sent separate notification if their exceptional circumstances have not resulted in a suspension of the regulations. 

Please note that the School has very few instances in which the regulations are suspended. This means that although all forms will be considered very carefully, the vast majority of submissions will not result in a suspension of the regulations.

What if I have already informed my Department or Academic Advisor about my circumstances?

All marks and exceptional circumstances are considered anonymously at Exam Board meetings. Therefore, the only way in which your circumstances can be considered by the Exam Boards is by submitting an Exceptional Circumstances form with evidence to the Student Services Centre.

This includes if you have requested and were granted an extension but still feel that your performance was impacted by circumstances beyond your control. When considering your ECs, the Exam-Boards reserve the right to determine whether or not the extension was enough to compensate for your circumstances and/or whether it was appropriate for you to attempt the assessment.

I am worried that the content of my submission contains extremely confidential and private information.

Information submitted through the exceptional circumstances process will only be made available to staff who are directly involved with the process.

Outside of the Student Services Centre, only the Chair and Secretary of the relevant Exam Boards. Your identity will remain anonymous to the other members of the Exam Boards.

The School will consider your exceptional circumstances submission in confidence. It will not inform anyone outside the process about your circumstances. For the avoidance of doubt, the School will never talk to any external agencies about your circumstances or any of your personal details (not even to confirm that you are a student at the School) without your express authorisation.

I do not know how much my circumstances may have affected my performance. Can I just wait until I see my results and submit an appeal?

No, if you are aware of your circumstances before your results are known then you must submit ECs within the deadline.

It is an important part of the EC procedure that you submit information about your circumstances before your results are known. This is so that the Sub-Board for your programme can properly consider them at the point of classification and if necessary suspend the regulations before your results are formally released.

ECs that are not declared within the deadline normally cannot later be taken into account, i.e. they cannot be used as the basis for an appeal unless there is an extremely compelling reason why the circumstances were not declared to the School within the seven day deadline.

Failing a course or failing to be awarded a degree is not considered to be evidence that the assessment was affected by ECs.


If you are experiencing difficulties and require advice, you may wish to approach your Academic Mentor in the first instance. Please note, however, that any information given to your department will only be made available to the Exam-Board if you submit ECs.

If you would like further support in relation to sexual violence, including sexual harassment, a Safe Contact will be able to refer you to LSE and external specialist sources of support.

For specific advice on submitting ECs, and on degree and classification regulations, please contact the Student Advice and Engagement Team.

The Students’ Union Advice Service can provide independent advice on your case.