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All You Need to Know About the Exam Period: ECs, Deferrals and Fit to Sit

The exam season is just around the corner. It can be a very stressful time, even more so if you are facing unforeseen circumstances that have impacted your performance. However, there are ways to let the School know that you are in a difficult situation, so you are not at a disadvantage due to events outside of your control. With the COVID-19 pandemic still impacting our lives, the LSE made some changes to the policy to ease the process for you. Here is what you can do.

Before your exam

LSE has a “fit to sit” policy that applies to all students. If you submit an assessment or sit an exam, they consider you have declared yourself well enough to do so.


If you are struggling to meet a deadline (on an assessment longer than 24 hours), you can request an extension. You will need to state a reason for the extension but due to COVID-19, this academic year evidence will not normally be required. (it may assist in the consideration of your request, so it is always helpful to provide it). To submit an extension, you should submit an Extension Request Form to the relevant person in your department (details here). Remember that all extension requests must be submitted before the assessment deadline.


If your assessment has not been released yet and you do not feel as though you will be able to take it, you should consider a deferral instead, which will give you a chance to complete the assessment at the next available opportunity (this year for UG students in late summer 2021, and for PG students in January 2022).

To apply for a deferral you need to fill out this form specifying which assessment(s) you want to defer. Although usually deferrals require providing proof of evidence, this year you will be permitted to request a deferral based on self-declaration, meaning without providing any evidence, or approval from your Department (although LSE suggests contacting your programme director or academic mentor to discuss your case beforehand).

For 24-hour take-home assessments and shorter ones, you can only apply for a deferral up to the date and time the assessment is first released. For coursework and assessments longer than 24 hours you can apply to defer up to the relevant submission deadline(s). If you deferred, do not open the assessment once it is released, as you will be then declared ‘fit to sit/fit to submit’ and the deferral will be voided.


If you are a visa holder: Deferring your assessments may impact your visa to study. Check out this website before you defer. If you have any queries regarding your options, you can contact the International Student Visa Advice Team.

The LSESU Advice Team can advise on the process of both extensions and deferrals and look over any forms before you submit them.

During and after your exam

If you become ill during your exams or you have sat the exam with unforeseen circumstances having a detrimental impact on your performance you can follow the Exceptional Circumstances procedure. If you attempted the assessment the Exam Board will consider whether it was appropriate for you to have done so.

To declare your circumstances you need to complete an Exceptional Circumstances Form and submit this along with evidence. Evidence can include a medical note/letter, death certificate, police report, prescriptions, written correspondence with the School and so on. Typically letters from friends and family are not accepted. Evidence requirements will be more lenient for Exceptional Circumstances (ECs) this year due to COVID-19, but you should still try to do your best to substantiate your case. It is extremely unlikely that an EC application without evidence will be accepted.

These documents should be submitted within 14 calendar days after your final Summer Term assessment or by 25 June 2021 at the latest (UG students and 9/10 month PG students or for 12 month PG students, within 7 calendar days of your last assessment (e.g. normally this will be your dissertation or project).

Individual marks are never changed as a result of declaring your circumstances although the normal classification rules can be suspended to allow an award of a higher degree classification than your mark profile would usually allow.

As with extensions and deferrals, the LSESU Advice Team can advise on the process and look over any forms before you submit them.

Good luck with your exams!


Blog written by Dani Gruszka.

Dani works as an Advice Assistant in the LSESU Advice Team.


The LSESU Advice Team

The LSESU Advice Team is based on the 3rd floor of the Saw Swee Hock Building and we provide free, independent and confidential advice to all LSE students on academic and housing matters. We also administer the Hardship Fund, the Childcare Fund and the Graduation Gown Support Fund (GGSF).

Due to the ongoing Coronavirus situation, we will not be on campus for Summer Term. However, we are still open and can instead be accessed by emailing You can also book a telephone or Zoom appointment with an adviser through Student Hub.