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Exam appeals

If you encounter any difficulty either before taking an exam, during or after it, the most important thing to do is contact your Tutor, or alternatively the CUSU Academic Affairs Officer, or another Tutor or Officer in the College, without delay. The two grounds on which you may appeal under the University's procedure are  Extenuating Circumstances and Conduct of Examinations.

A fuller explanation of the exam appeals procedure than can be given here can be found in the Undergraduate Examination Appeals: Guidance Notes for Candidates leaflet.

In all cases contact your Tutor, or another College Officer, or the CUSU Academic Affairs Officer as soon as possible.

Summary of Procedures

Extenuating Circumstances: Before the Examination

Where necessary, special arrangements can be made for the exam. If you have been hindered in preparing for or taking your exams contact your Tutor (preferably before or at latest shortly after). They can submit an examination warning to the Examiners. This won't award you extra marks; but could be due to:

  • dyslexia - minor faults of grammar/spelling can be taken into account (but not in language exams)
  • colour blindness/other serious visual disability - special arrangements, e.g. in practical exams can be made
  • other cases, your Tutor will submit a warning if you risk failing
  • missing part of the exam and/or getting a grade much less than expected: an
  • 'examination warning' may result in the Examiners declaring that you 'deserved honours', rather than a class which doesn't fairly reflect the quality of work that they did see

Extenuating Circumstances: After the Examination

Your Tutor may apply to the University's Applications Committee for an examination allowance, which can mean the difference between a pass and a fail, or can improve the class awarded. It considers evidence submitted by your Tutor (eg. academic records, medical reports), and in cases of failure, may 'allow you the exam'. If you have missed or under- performed in a relatively small part of an exam, due to extenuating circumstances, the Committee may ask the Examiners to classify you on the basis of only those parts of the exam taken without handicap, thus possibly improving the class.

Conduct of Examinations

Before results are published

If you think that your performance has been hindered by a technical problem (eg. misprints; serious disturbance in the exam room) you or your Tutor may report a complaint to the Registrary within 3 working days of the examination. The Registrary will refer the matter to the Chair of Examiners for consideration before the class list is published.

After results are published

If, after receiving your results, you have a complaint about the examination process, you or your Tutor may report a complaint to the Registrary within one month of the class-list being  published. The Registrary will refer the matter to the Chair of the Examiners for consideration.

Appealing against a decision

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of a complaint, you may apply to the Registrary for the matter to be considered by an Exam Review Committee within three months of receiving the response from the Chair of Examiners. Your case must come under at least one of the following criteria:

  • material circumstances existed about the conduct of the exam of which the Examiners were unaware;
  • procedural irregularities occurred in the conduct of the exam, which casts reasonable doubt on the conclusion reached by the Examiners;
  • there is evidence of prejudice, bias or inadequate assessment.

The Committee has the power to ask the Examiners to reconsider, to have your work marked by an independent Examiner, or for you to be re-examined.

Some common questions

When should I raise problems, and with whom?

It is vital that you contact your Tutor (or another Tutor, the Senior Tutor or the CUSU Academic Affairs Officer) as soon as a problem or issue becomes apparent. If your problem is of a medical or similar nature, it is essential that you seek professional advice (perhaps a doctor or counsellor, or the Disability Resource Centre) without delay. This will assist in providing proof of your illness or other disability.

Do the Examiners need to have received prior warning of the possibility of me failing for me to receive an Examination Allowance?

No. Your Tutor can apply to the Applications Committee without first submitting a warning.

I got a much lower marks than I expected on a particular paper. Can anything be done?

Yes. Either you or your Tutor can make representations to the Registrary for consideration by the Chair of Examiners. The CUSU Academic Affairs Officer can provide support and advice with this. The Chair will check whether all sections of your script have been marked and the marks correctly reported and interpreted on the final mark-sheet. The Chair may instigate re- marking by an independent Examiner, and an independent Examiner will always be asked to assist with the checking process.

The question paper contained an error which caused me to waste a lot of time. Can anything be done?

Yes. Either you or you Tutor can report the matter to the Registrary who will ensure that the matter is considered by the Examiners before they draw up the class list.

Is there anything that can be done if I need some special conditions for my examinations?

Yes. It is possible to do exams in special conditions. The following are considered, again via a submission from your Tutor to the University:

  • Sitting exams in college due to illness or disability.
  • Blindness or severe visual disability: Braille or large type versions of papers possible.
  • Food and drink during examinations if related to a medical condition.
  • Extra time, if, for example, you have a disability such as arthritis or severe dyslexia.
  • Poor handwriting: dictation or use of a word processor is allowed if you have a medically-certified disability.  If you have bad handwriting, but no specific disability, sometimes some of your scripts may end up being typed with your assistance, but you should not rely on this happening.
  • Religious obligations: sitting papers at certain times can be arranged.