Fit to Sit and Extenuating Circumstances

When you attempt an assessment such as an exam or coursework, you are declaring that you are 'fit to sit' - this means you are well enough to complete the assessment to the best of your abilities.

If you have an issue that might impact your assessments, you need to tell us on time. If you don’t, this will likely prevent you from being successful in using the arrangements in place to support your studies.

Please do not wait until you have your assessment results to tell us about something that has impacted you, as it will be too late by then.

This guidance explains a range of processes we have in place to support you:

  • Extensions
  • Deferrals
  • Retrospective Extenuating Circumstances
  • Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances

Please be aware that some of these options mean you will be 'voiding' an assessment attempt, which means a zero mark just now and an opportunity to sit the assessment again.

 
 
Student at home with magazine and laptop

What to do if you become aware of an issue BEFORE an assessment deadline

This section explains what to do if you think you cannot submit your coursework on time or cannot sit an exam on the day it is scheduled. In these circumstances, you have two options available to you:

  • Apply for an extension
  • Apply for a deferral

It is important you adhere to the deadlines outlined in these processes and consider what they might mean for your circumstances.

 
 

Apply for an extension

When to apply for an extension

If the assessment is a non-exam-based assessment, e.g. an essay or a presentation, and you just need a short period of additional time (up to 5 working days), you should ask your Module Leader for an extension using the RE1 form.

In extreme circumstances, or for modules above 20 credits, a student can apply for up to 10 working days by filling out the RE1 form. Time-relevant third-party evidence might be requested from the Module Leader for applications up to 10 working days.

Requests for extension must be submitted no later than the date on which the coursework is due (Extenuating Circumstances, Extensions and Deferrals Regulations, EC2.2).

Things to consider when asking for an extension

Extensions can be very helpful. However, make sure you consider the impact that delaying the submission of an assessment may have on your ability to meet other assessment deadlines.

Most courses been developed to avoid you having too many assessments at the same time, so asking for extensions can impact upon this, leaving you more work to do at the same time later in the academic year.

Apply for an extension now

 
 

Apply for a deferral of assessment

When to apply for a deferral of assessment

If your circumstances are more serious or relate to a formal exam, you need more than an additional 5 working days and/or you are not able or ready to attempt the assessment at all, you can apply for a Deferral of Assessment. This normally means handing in the assessment or sitting the exam at the next available opportunity, which will either be the following trimester or over the summer assessment period.

Applications for Deferral of Assessment should be made ahead of the assessment point by submitting the completed DE1 form and appropriate time-relevant third-party evidence to the relevant School Office.

Where submitting before the assessment deadline is not possible, an application for Deferral of Assessment (DE1 form) and associated supporting evidence may be accepted up to 5 working days after the assessment point (Extenuating Circumstances, Extensions and Deferrals Regulations, EC3.2).

Things to consider when asking for a deferral

The decision to defer assessment could affect whether you can carry on to the next year of your studies, so you should always seek advice from your Programme Leader, Personal Development Tutor and/or ENSA Advice before applying for a deferral.

If you apply for a deferral of an assessment you are in effect 'voiding' the attempt, which means you will not receive a mark and you will need to sit the assessment at a future point (as a first or second attempt).

If you requested a deferral and your circumstances are deemed valid, and then you continue to undertake the assessment, your mark/grade will not count even if it was a pass. This is because you have indicated you were not fully 'fit to sit' and could not therefore perform to the best of your ability.

If you defer a Trimester 1 assessment, the next opportunity to sit the assessment may be in the summer reassessment diet.

Information for international students

If you are a student visa student, you should be aware that there is a maximum number of opportunities that the UKVI permit students to have with regards undertaking an assessment and that a deferred assessment will still count towards this maximum number of opportunities.

Students should consult with the Visa and International Support team for guidance on their own individual situation by emailing internationalsupport@napier.ac.uk or calling 0131 455 2272.

Apply for a deferral now

The completed DE1 form and time-relevant third-party supporting evidence should be emailed to the relevant School Office:

In exceptional circumstances where it is not possible to use email, forms and evidence may be submitted directly to a Campus Reception.

 
 
Student working with laptop and computer

What to do if you become aware of an issue AFTER an assessment deadline

This section explains what to do if you submit something and realise later that something was impacting you, or if your circumstances were so serious that you could not apply for a deferral in due time and didn't attempt the assessment.

In these circumstances, you have two options available to you:

  • Apply for Retrospective Extenuating Circumstances
  • Apply for Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances (late deferral)

It is important you adhere to the deadlines outlined in these processes and consider what they might mean for your circumstances.

 
 

Apply for Retrospective Extenuating Circumstances

How to declare yourself unfit to sit after you’ve completed an assessment

If you submit your assessment or sit an exam and then realise that you were not 'fit to sit' and should have applied for a deferral, you can apply for Retrospective Extenuating Circumstances. For example, you may have undertaken the assessment but now believe in hindsight there were circumstances which impacted completing the assessment to the best of your abilities.

Exceptionally, the University will permit applications for Retrospective Extenuating Circumstances to be taken into account after the assessment due date. The Retrospective Extenuating Circumstances application should be submitted no later than 5 working days after the date on which the assessment was taken or submitted. Applications beyond this deadline will not be considered, and any grade received for the assessment will stand as per the Extenuating Circumstances, Extensions and Deferrals Regulations (EC4.2).

The Retrospective Extenuating Circumstances deadline is your absolute last opportunity to tell us about any personal or health related issue that has impacted your performance. If you need to, please take this opportunity and do not wait until you have your assessment results to tell us about something that has impacted you as it will be too late by then.

Applications for Retrospective Extenuating Circumstances should be submitted by completing the DE1 form and submitting time-relevant third-party evidence supporting your rationale for not having been able to use the Deferral of Assessment procedure at the appropriate time.

If your submission is deemed valid, the Programme Assessment Board will take your circumstances into account in relation to your academic progression.

Things to consider when asking for Retrospective Extenuating Circumstances

If you apply for Retrospective Extenuating Circumstances for an assessment you are in effect 'voiding' the attempt, which means you will not receive a mark/grade and you will need to sit the assessment at a future point (as a first or second attempt).

If you requested Retrospective Extenuating Circumstances and have also undertaken the assessment, your mark/grade will not count even if it was a pass. This is because you have indicated you were not fully 'fit to sit' and could not therefore perform to the best of your ability.

If your Retrospective Extenuating Circumstances are for a Trimester 1 assessment, the next opportunity to sit the assessment may be in the summer reassessment diet.

You should never submit Retrospective Extenuating Circumstances just in case the result is not as you would wish. Careful consideration is required about whether you believe circumstances have significantly impacted your assessment performance. You cannot claim Retrospective Extenuating Circumstances and keep a mark/grade.

Information for international students

If you are a student visa student, you should be aware that there is a maximum number of opportunities that the UKVI permit students to have with regards undertaking an assessment and that a successful retrospective Extenuating Circumstances submission will still count towards this maximum number of opportunities.

Students should consult with the Visa and International Support team for guidance on their own individual situation by emailing internationalsupport@napier.ac.uk or calling 0131 455 2272.

Apply for Retrospective Extenuating Circumstances now

  • Deadline: Apply within 5 working days after the original submission date - do not wait until your assessment results as this will be too late.
  • Download the DE1 form (Word, 80 kB)

The completed DE1 form and time-relevant third-party supporting evidence should be emailed to the relevant School Office:

In exceptional circumstances where it is not possible to use email, forms and evidence may be submitted directly to a Campus Reception.

 
 

Apply for Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances

When to request Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances

If your circumstances were so serious that you could not apply for a Deferral of Assessment in due time and you have not attempted the assessment, you can apply for Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances (late deferral).

Please note, this is only for students who did not attempt the assessment. It cannot be used for retrospective extensions or for assessments that were taken, regardless of circumstances.

The Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances application must be submitted no later than the below dates for the relevant period.

Please note, the deadlines are applicable ONLY for Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances applications, not other types of deferral or extension requests.

Assessment period  Date
 Trimester 1  5 January 2024
 Trimester 2  17 May 2024
 Summer Assessment  8 August 2024
 Trimester 3  30 August 2024

Applications beyond these deadlines will not be considered regardless of the circumstances, as per the Extenuating Circumstances, Extensions and Deferrals Regulations (EC5.2).

If you have not sat or submitted an assessment, this is your last opportunity to tell us about a personal or health matter that prevented you from doing so. Do not wait until after the deadline has passed, as it will be too late by then.

Things to consider when asking for Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances

Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances should only be used when you have not submitted an assessment.

The decision to defer assessment could affect whether you can carry on to the next year of your studies, so you should always seek advice from your Programme Leader, Personal Development Tutor and/or ENSA Advice before applying for a deferral.

If your Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances are for a Trimester 1 assessment, the next opportunity to sit the assessment may be in the summer reassessment diet.

Information for international students

If you are a student visa student, you should be aware that there is a maximum number of opportunities that the UKVI permit students to have with regards undertaking an assessment and that a successful Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances submission will still count towards this maximum number of opportunities.

Students should consult with the Visa and International Support team for guidance on their own individual situation by emailing internationalsupport@napier.ac.uk or calling 0131 455 2272.

Apply for Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances now

Applications for Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances should be made by submitting the following documents to the relevant School Office:

  • The completed DE1 form
  • Appropriate time-relevant third-party evidence
  • Further evidence and a detailed explanation of the extenuating circumstances that prevented you from submitting a Deferral of Assessment application in due time.

Completed DE1 form and time-relevant third-party supporting evidence should be emailed to the relevant School Office:

In exceptional circumstances where it is not possible to use email, forms and evidence may be submitted directly to a campus reception.

 
 

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find out more about Extenuating Circumstances regulations?

The Extenuating Circumstances, Extensions and Deferrals Regulations document has full details on a number of areas you may find useful, including suitable grounds for extenuating circumstances, information about support available to you, and what constitutes suitable supporting evidence.

You'll find information in the following sections of the regulations:

  • EC1.2 – Acceptable grounds for extenuating circumstances
  • EC1.3 – Unacceptable grounds for extenuating circumstances
  • EC9 – signposting to support for students
  • Annex 1 – examples of suitable supporting evidence

How do I apply if I study an Edinburgh Napier University programme that is delivered abroad?

Please submit a digital copy of your form to your local programme administration team with appropriate supporting documents. The deadlines applicable to you may vary from those published on this page.

In the first instance, students studying overseas with our partner institutions should speak to their local programme team for support and their Edinburgh Napier Programme Leader. If required, you can also contact internationalprogrammes@napier.ac.uk

I study on an online programme, what should I do?

Students studying online should follow the processes detailed on this page, but the deadlines applicable to you may vary. If this applies to you, you may wish to contact globalonlinesupport@napier.ac.uk with any queries.

What support is available to me and how do I access it?

If you are experiencing ill health (this includes any mental health issues) or personal problems that are impacting your studies, please tell us about them as soon as possible. The sooner we are aware of a problem, the easier it is for us to support you appropriately. The earlier we are aware of it the less chance of it having a long term impact on your studies. It also increases the chances of us being able to assist you to get you back on track with your studies. You can speak to your Programme Leader/Personal Development Tutor or go directly to one of our wellbeing support services if you have anything troubling you.

Please be proactive and seek help with any problems as and when you identify them. Please do not wait until you have your assessment results before telling us about a problem.

The sooner you make contact/request support, the sooner we can help you. You can seek support, advice and guidance from the following sources: