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Missing exams and deadlines (mitigating circumstances)

What do I do if my examinations or assessment are affected by circumstances outside my control?

From time to time circumstances arise which are outside your control and which may prevent you from performing to your potential. Such circumstances might include illness, the death of a close relative, or an accident. When such things occur close to your examinations or an assessment deadline, you may feel that your performance will suffer as a result. The College has mechanisms in place aimed at counterbalancing such circumstances. The Department will try to help, provided that your need is genuine and that you follow the procedures approved by the College.

Preparing for your exams & assessments

To help you perform at your best, the Exams Office has produced some helpful guidance about how best to prepare for your exams and/or assessments and how to access the various sources of support on offer at King's. 


What are mitigating circumstances?

The Mitigating Circumstances procedure applies to all students enrolled on taught programmes and modules who believe that their ability to complete an assessment of any type has been affected by mitigating circumstances that would have a significant and adverse impact on their academic studies or progression.

The College considers mitigating circumstances to be recognisably disruptive or unexpected events, beyond the student’s control, that might have a significant and adverse impact on their academic performance.

A student who attends, submits or participates in any form of assessment shall be considered by the College to be in a position to do so; that is to say, the student does not believe that they are affected by any mitigating circumstances which would have a significant and adverse impact on their academic performance.  As such, any result achieved in that assessment will stand.

In exceptional circumstances the Mitigating Circumstances process allows students who have attempted an assessment but who have genuine mitigating circumstances to report their situation in a timely manner (i.e. within 7 days of the affected assessment rather than waiting to submit an appeal).

Full guidance on the types of mitigating cirumstances that are normally considered acceptable can be found on the Mitigating Cirumstances webpages.

How to apply for Mitigating Circumstances

There are two situations in which the Assessment Sub-Board can take mitigating circumstances into account:

1) Where the mitigating circumstances mean that a student is unable to meet a published deadline for submission of assessed work

2) Where the mitigating circumstances mean that a student is unable to take an examination at the prescribed time.

The boards will use the information submitted to determine whether the mitigating circumstances provided by the student are an acceptable reason for missing an assessment.

Full details of how to submit details of your mitigating circumstances for consideration by the Assessment Sub-Boards can be found on the Mitigating Circumstances webpages. The Mitigating Circumstances Form (MCF) and accompanying guidance can also be found on this page along with guidance on mitigating circumstances that are normally considered acceptable, completing the MCF and the type of evidence needed to support the claim.

You should ensure that you read all the information on these pages carefully before completing and submitting an MCF.

You should also ensure that you speak to your Programme Administrator and Personal Tutor before submitting an MCF. They can advise you on the best course of action. Alternatively you can contact the Students' Union or Student Services for advice. You are strongly advised to consult a member of staff before submitting the MCF, if possible. This cannot guarantee your application will be successful but will reduce the chance it is rejected through lack of information. Each year a large number of requests have to be refused because forms have been filled in incorrectly or insufficient evidence provided.

Completed Mitigating Circumstances Forms (MCF) should be handed or emailed to your Programme Administrator no later than 7 days after your missed assessment.

Documentary evidence can be submitted up to 21 days after the missed assessment provided that you have submitted your completed MCF no later than 7 days after the missed assessment.  

Your Programme Administrator will pass the MCF and supporting evidence on to the Assessment Sub-Board Chair for a decision and you will be notified of the outcome via email.

Please note that the sooner the documentary evidence is submitted, along with the MCF, the sooner the Assessment Sub-Board Chair will be able to consider your application. However, if you are struggling with obtaining documentary evidence do not delay in submitting your MCF.


Please note that there is no mechanism within the academic regulations at King's to change individual module marks due to mitigating circumstances. If you have mitigating circumstances during the exam period, submit an MCF to apply for a replacement exam; if you have mitigating circumstances that prevent you from handing in a project thesis or similar coursework, submit an MCF to request an extension to the deadline. Receiving approval on your mitigating circumstances application will NOT result in marks being adjusted. For more information about attempts, please refer to the Reassessment and Progression Rules.

The regulations, for instance, mean that if you are supposed to be taking an exam in the May period and had mitigating circumstances through illness and your MCF was approved, you could sit the exam at the next available opportunity. This would be the summer (August) exam period for undergraduate students. For postgraduate taught students, this would normally be the following year, in the same term as when the original exam took place. Such retake examinations would be treated in every way the same as the original ones (the mark would not be capped).

Undergraduate students should also note that, for almost all modules, May and August are the only examination periods; in these cases, therefore, a replacement for an August exam only takes place in May of the following year.

It should also be noted that some other University of London universities do not offer August exams, so that replacements in intercollegiate modules may mean a one-year delay.

How do I change my registration status (interrupt/withdraw/transfer)?

Occasionally situations arise that are outside your control and may adversely impact your ability to engage with your studies, i.e. ill health, financial difficulties and other personal reasons.  On these occasions it is often necessary for you to make a change to your registration status.

If you are experiencing difficulties you should talk to your Personal Tutor before completing the necessary paperwork and submitting a request.  It is also advisable to talk to the College’s Student Advice Team in Student Services if you are considering an interruption of study, transfer or a withdrawal from a programme.

Please note that it is Faculty policy that a student may not apply for a period of interruption at a stage when a Mitigating Circumstances Form would instead be normally expected. If a student applies to interrupt their studies less than a week before an exam or a submission deadline then the period of interruption will only start after the exam or deadline; if a student wishes to withdraw from any assessment or coursework deadline in the 7 day period following the proposed start of an interruption period, they must apply to do so by submitting a Mitigating Circumstances Form.

Students studying at King’s under a Tier 4 Visa must contact the Student Advice & International Support Office for advice and to ask confirm that you are eligible to make the change under the terms of your visa.

If you wish to proceed, you will need to complete the online “Student Change of Circumstances” form.  Further details can be found on the Registry Services (Arts & Sciences) webpage:

Help and Support

The College has numerous branches of help and support which you are encouraged to take advantage of if you wish to do so:

King’s College NHS Health Centre
Tel: 020 7848 2613

Student Counselling Service
Tel: 020 7848 1731

Disability Advisory Service  
Tel: 0207 848 3398

Student Advice - Student Services 
Tel: 0207 848 7070

KCLSU Advice Service 
Tel: 0207 848 1588

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