What to do if my coursework or exams are affected by coronavirus

We know that the current COVID-19/coronavirus situation is creating anxiety amongst our students who have coursework and exams coming up. 

If you feel you are unable to submit your work before your assessment deadline, you can apply for extenuation. However, before you apply, it is important to consider if this is the best option for you.

You can apply for extenuation for an assessment component in any or all modules. An assessment component is an exam, project, report, presentation or other form of assessment. We have used ‘assessment’ below to mean all types of assessment.

Extenuation is not a deadline extension on your current assessments. In many cases, extenuation will result in a new assessment during the resit period. This usually happens in July. This might be suitable if you are unable to complete some of your assessments by the deadline. However, if you apply for extenuation for all your assessments, you will have the same number of assessments due in the resit period in July, which may increase the pressure on you.

The University is currently developing alternative assessments for original face-to-face assessments such as exams or presentations. We recommend you wait to see what your alternative assessments look like before you apply for extenuation. This was announced on 27 March 2020.

To help you to decide whether you should apply for extenuation, you should read through the information and case studies below and the guidance notes on the University website. Neither the University nor the Students’ Union will be able to make your decision for you. Therefore, it is really important to make sure you understand the impact before you apply. Once you have read through the information, you can complete the form

How many attempts do I have?

Students have two attempts to pass each module: the original attempt and the re-sit attempt. If you do not pass either attempt, you will usually be required to repeat the whole module in the following academic year. If you fail a lot of modules, you may be required to repeat the entire year or you could even be removed from your course.

What does capping mean?
When re-sitting an assessment where extenuation has not been granted, your mark will have a maximum cap applied. Your result will be a pass mark only, regardless of how well you perform in the exam. For example, if you get 65% of the material correct, your mark will be 40%. If you get 30% of the material correct, your mark will be 30%. In some course, the pass mark is higher than 40%; the cap will be set at the pass mark.

However, if you are granted extenuation, this cap will not apply. In the above examples, you would receive marks of 65% or 30% respectively.

If extenuation is not granted for an assessment, and that assessment is capped due to a failure, the whole module will continue to be capped for any later attempts. It cannot usually be ‘uncapped’.

What is the seven-day window?
If you are granted extenuation for an assessment but manage to submit the assessment within seven days of the original deadline, the assessment will be marked as if it had been received on time before the original deadline.

Which academic framework am I on?
It is important to know what academic framework (system) you are on because the rules are slightly different. There are two frameworks in use in the University:

- ‘old’ framework applies to all level 5 and 6 students;
- ‘new’ framework applies to all level 3 and 7 students, and most level 4 students.

A small number of level 4 students are on the old framework. Your Academic Adviser or Course Leader will be able to confirm which framework you are on.

What should I consider before applying?
Being granted extenuation is not a ‘freebie’. Depending on your circumstances, there are some potential downsides. For example, if you are granted extenuation for your first attempt and then fail then the second attempt, this would be regarded as your final attempt. You may have to repeat the whole module.

You may be required to pass certain modules before being able to study certain other module at the next level/year of your course. These modules are called ‘pre-requisite modules’. If you do not pass your pre-requisite modules on time, this will delay your progression. For example, you may have to pass Maths 1 in level 4/first year before you can study Maths 2 (level 5/second year). In this case, Maths 1 is a pre-requisite. You should discuss this with your course leader.

If you are granted extenuation, you will usually be given a new/different assessment which will be due before the deadline in July.

What if I don't have internet access?
We know that some students do not have internet access at home and are unable to complete the form on the intranet. If you or a friend are in that position, you should call the Student Hub on 02082234444 who will complete the form on your behalf. This service is not available to any other students. Staff in The Hub will not be able to advise you on what decision you should make.

Case studies
We have provided some case studies to help you understand how the extenuation process works. Every situation is different though, so you should use these examples to help you but you must not rely on your situation being the same.

Sarah is studying project management on the old framework. She is worried that she will not meet all her assessment deadlines which are due in a few weeks’ time. Sarah will apply for extenuating circumstances for the assessments that she does not think she will complete on time. Extenuation is subsequently granted for those assessments, and her resits will be uncapped.

Sarah feels less overwhelmed and completes the assessments that are feasible for her April deadline. To complete her resits in July, Sarah receives new assignments which she completes on time. 

Nisha is studying history but has repeated two modules this year. She is worried that she will struggle to complete her assessments by the deadline or even with the extra seven-day extenuation window. Nisha did not apply for extenuation for her first or second attempt in 2018/19, so her assessments are capped.

She decides to apply for extenuation to let the University know she could not submit on time for her April deadline due to unforeseen circumstances. Her subsequent resit in July is Nisha’s final attempt. Her assessment will be capped so she will only be able to get a maximum of a pass mark. 

Abdul is a business student and is struggling to complete his assessments for four modules. He thinks he can complete two within seven days of the deadline. He applies for extenuation for two modules – which is granted – and submits his work for those two modules within seven days of the deadline, so the mark is uncapped. For his other assessments, he applies for extenuation which is granted. He receives the new assessments, which he completes during the resit period. This has been a better option for him as he has managed to spread out his workload and reduced his anxiety about meeting his deadlines. 

Nick is studying fashion design on the new framework. He does not think he will be able to complete his assessment by the April deadline or complete the continuous assessment attempt within the following 30-day window.

Nick applies for extenuation for both attempts and plans to complete all his outstanding assessments during the resit period. However, this could be overwhelming for Nick, and there is now extra pressure on him to pass everything in the resit period as it will affect his progression to the next year. 


About the Advice Team

We are here to offer you free and confidential advice on a range of issues that may affect you during your time at UEL.  Our trained staff will listen to your situation; explore your options with you and talk about the steps to be taken in order to deal with the issue you are facing.

We offer advice in regards to Academic Appeals, Academic Misconduct, Complaints, and Disciplinary Procedures & Extenuating Circumstances.  For more information on any of these subjects there is a page on this site for each with links to the UEL website.

We do not currently offer advice in the following areas:

  • Finance and money related issues (see the Student Money, Advice and Rights Team via the Hub on +44 (0) 20 8223 4444, thehub@uel.ac.uk)
  • Debt advice (see National Debtline or other related organisations)
  • Immigration/visa issues (see the International office for advice via the Hub on +44 (0) 20 8223 4444, thehub@uel.ac.uk)
  • Health and wellbeing issues (see the Health and Wellbeing team via the Hub on +44 (0) 20 8223 4444, thehub@uel.ac.uk)
  • Careers advice/employability (see the Employability and Enterprise Team )
  • Enrollment/registration (see the Hub on +44 (0) 20 8223 4444, thehub@uel.ac.uk)
  • Personal disputes between non-students
  • Admissions issues (contact Admissions)
  • Transcript/certificate issues (see the Hub on +44 (0) 20 8223 4444, thehub@uel.ac.uk)


If you wish to speak with an adviser then you can make an appointment by visiting one of our offices at Docklands or Stratford or by calling us on 0208 223 7025. We do really encourage students to make an appointment as very often there is a high demand for the service and we can’t guarantee that we can see a student straight away.  Alternatively, you can receive advice via e-mail by completing this form.

Before you make an appointment please consider whether it is necessary to do so by following the advice below.

  1. Is your issue something on which we can advise? We give advice on anything to do with Academic Appeals, Academic Misconduct, Disciplinary Procedures, Extenuating Circumstances or complaints.  For issues with your student records, student finance, debt and money concerns, student welfare and disability support you will need to speak with the Hub.
  2. Have you read the advice on our website that may help with your issue?  You can select the relevant topic in the red menu to the left of this page.
  3. Is your issue a quick query that may be better dealt with by completing our contact form for email advice?  Particularly during busy periods you may get a quicker response.

Remember that during particularly busy periods you may get a quicker reponse by completing our contact form for email advice.

Please make sure that you are on time for your appointment as we will cancel it if you are more than five minutes late and we will not be able to see you on the same day.  If you cannot attend your appointment then please let us know as soon as possible so that we can make the appointment available to another student.  Please make sure that you bring any relevant documents, letters and other materials pertaining to your case with you to your appointment.

If you have any comments about our service please contact the Advice Manager, Juliette Mitchell (j.mitchell2@uel.ac.uk)

Advocacy and Representation at meetings

Our advisers are available to attend with you and represent you at panels, hearings and meetings for complaints, appeals, academic misconduct and disciplinaries.  This service is subject to the availabilty of the advisers and we require a minimum of 48 hours notice. Please contact us as soon as you receive notification of these proceedings so that we can best support you.

Who can use the Advice Service?

The advice service is free to use for students studying at the University of East London.

  • Full time & Part time
  • Undergraduate & Postgraduate both taught and research
  • Distance learning & UK students
  • EU students & International Students
  • Students on placement & Students under suspension
  • Students who have been withdrawn/expelled (within 3 months of last date of attendance).
  • Students who need advice on taking their case to the OIA (this needs to be done within 12 months of receiving a completion of procedures letter).

We do not advise students that are studying at partner institutions with the exception of the following (2018/19):-

  • MA Social Work (joint programme with Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust).
  • PGCert in Special Educational Needs Co-ordination (joint Programme with London Borough of Barking and Dagenham).
  • MA Special and Additional Learning Needs (joint distance learning programme with ICEP Europe).
  • FdSc Applied Community Sports (joint programme with West Ham United Foundation).
  • MBA International Business (joint Programme with Rheinische Fachhochschule, RFH).
  • PGCert in Special Educational Needs Co-ordination (joint programme with London Borough of Barking and Dagenham)
  • BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching and Performance

These programmes are joint which means they are partly taught by UEL staff at UEL premises.

We are unable to advise the following:-

  • Students studying at Partner Institutions (with the exception of the ones listed above).  If you need advice please contact your Academic Partnership Office.
  • Parents of students
  • Relatives of students
  • Friends of students
  • Landlords or letting agents
  • Students who are seeking legal advice on their case.

A student can give authorisation for us to discuss their case with somebody else if it is difficult for them to deal with their case alone, this may be due to poor health or if they are having difficulty accessing the service themselves (for example they are currently outside the UK).

Docklands (primary) office

NB.G.01 (North Building)
4-6 University Way
E16 2RD

T: 020 8223 7025

E: uelsu@uel.ac.uk

Stratford office

The Dome, University House
Water Lane
E15 4LZ

T: 020 8223 4209

Charity number: 1173994
Company number: 10820498
© UEL Students' Union 2019
Powered by MSL