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Extensions, Deferrals and Exceptional Circumstances

Exam season can be a very stressful time, and with the ongoing developments in the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be facing difficulties with meeting your deadlines or studying for the exams. If you are struggling with your assessments this year and feel that your circumstances are going to have an impact on your performance, below are some options you might want to consider.

1. Extension

You might want to seek an extension if you have assessments with upcoming deadlines, and think that you’ll need more time to complete the work due to unforeseen circumstances. Extensions can only be given for coursework assessments, or for take-home exams longer than 24 hours. You will need to request an extension before the deadline (ideally, as soon as you think you will need one). The maximum extension you can be given is 50% of the assessment period concerned (so, for example, if you had two weeks to submit the work, you could get an extension of one additional week at most).

To request an extension, you’ll need to submit an Extension Request Form to your department. In the form, you need to explain your reasons for seeking an extension, and you’ll need to provide evidence to support your claim.

Because of the current COVID-19 situation, the School is taking a more flexible approach to certain kinds of evidence. If you are seeking an extension because of illness, departments will now consider granting extensions of up to seven days without external evidence. You’ll still need to provide evidence of health problems if you want a longer extension.

Remember that all extension requests must be submitted before the deadline! If your request is not accepted, or you submit the request after the deadline, and you submit the work late, LSE will impose late submission penalties on your work.

2. Deferral

If you have upcoming exams and you don’t think you’ll be able to perform your best, you could consider seeking a deferral to postpone the exam. This will let you take the exam at a later date (generally, this means the next exam period for your program).

To apply for a deferral, you’ll need to complete the Deferral Form and attach supporting evidence of your situation. Right now because of COVID-19, if your deferral request is based on illness, you won’t be expected to submit further evidence (although this can always help!). Make sure that you clearly explain in the form your reasons and how they will impact your ability to take the exam. If you want a deferral based on other reasons, you will still need to submit evidence as well.

After filling out the form, you need to speak with your Academic Mentor and gain approval from your Programme. You can seek a deferral up to the day of your exam, but it is always better to start the process earlier.

3. Exceptional Circumstances

A key thing to know is that the school operates a “fit to sit” policy, which means that by taking an assessment, you are declaring yourself fit and able to do so. That’s why it’s important to try to get a deferral or extension if you’re aware of the circumstances before your exam. However, sometimes life gets in the way and this isn’t possible. If you attempt your assessment while unwell and it impacts your work, or you miss the assessment without being able to receive a deferral or extension, you may be able to submit a claim for Exceptional Circumstances. This makes the Exam Board aware of your circumstances and allows them to take it into consideration for your final classification. This application won’t change your individual marks, but it can change your final classification. It can also lift a late submission penalty or discount a failed attempt.

 If you decide to submit an Exceptional Circumstances claim, you’ll need to submit the EC form to the Student Services Centre, along with any relevant evidence about your situation. The form should be submitted no later than 7 working days after your final assessment of the academic year, and you will not receive the results of your application until the release of your final results.

If you need further information about any of these applications, feel free to get in touch with the Advice Team!  This is a challenging time, and we are always happy to provide more guidance.  You can reach us at: su.advice@lse.ac.uk or find us online at LSESU Advice.

Good luck with all your assessments!

Blog written by Roxana Parsa.

Roxana 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).

Our service is currently operating using a hybrid working pattern. We are still open and can be accessed by emailing su.advice@lse.ac.uk. You can also book a telephone or Zoom appointment with an adviser through Student Hub.