Exceptional Circumstances

Exceptional circumstances allow you to make the exam board aware of any difficulties which you feel may have had an impact on your performance

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 click on the link below for student guidance on Exceptional Circumstances (ECs):

Student Guidance on ECs


The School has a “fit to sit” policy that applies to all students. If you submit an assessment, or sit an exam,  the School considers 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 it 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 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 exam, 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 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.



You must submit your Exceptional Circumstances (ECs) and corroborating evidence by the following deadlines:

  • For assessments taken during the January postgraduate Resit and Deferred Assessment Period (RDAP) – within 5 calendar days of your last RDAP assessment or by 12 noon Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) on 23 January 2023 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 Summer Term assessment or by 12noon British Summer Time (BST) on 22 June 2023 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 of your last assessment taken during the academic year (e.g. normally this will be your dissertation or project) and by 12 noon British Summer Time (BST) on 20 September 2023 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 5 calendar days of your last RDAP assessment or by 12 noon British Summer Time (BST) on 31 August 2023 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 students are encouraged to submit ECs and evidence as soon as possible.

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


You must  submit your ECs, including supporting evidence via the Exceptional Circumstances Form.


Supporting Evidence

If you are able to obtain corroborating evidence, but will not be able to submit the evidence within the deadline, you must still complete and submit the EC form and indicate on the form that the evidence will follow shortly. The evidence must then be submitted as soon as possible. To submit further evidence, you should reply to the EC confirmation email that you receive once your EC form is submitted. If you cannot find this email, then please submit the further evidence here

If you are unable to meet the School’s Standard of Evidence: you must submit any corroborating evidence you do have within the normal deadline or as soon as possible and the Exam Boards will consider whether the evidence is acceptable. It is not possible for Exam Boards to consider evidence once results have been formally ratified. Therefore, evidence must be submitted in good time.

It is your responsibility to ensure that your submission is received by the SSC within the deadline and that all documents are included.


After submitting ECs

Once you have submitted your ECs, you will receive an automated email confirming they have been logged and filed.  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).  

Note 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. However, if you have any queries once you have submitted ECs please direct them via the online enquiries form (https://lseportal.force.com/studentservices/s/enquiry-form).


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. 


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 on LSE for You. You will only receive individual notification if you have been granted an exceptional third attempt or had attempt(s) 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 (ECF) 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 ECF, 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.

Only the Chair of the Exam-Boards may know your identity at Exam Board meetings at which your Exceptional Circumstances Form is considered. Your identity will remain anonymous to the other members of the Examination Boards.

The School will consider your exceptional circumstances submission in confidence. It will not inform anyone outside of the exceptional circumstances 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 an Exceptional Circumstances Form within the seven day deadline.

It is an important part of the exceptional Circumstances 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.

Exceptional circumstances that are not declared within the seven day 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 exceptional circumstances.

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

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 the Form, 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.