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Cambridge students


If you feel your study and performance was affected by COVID19, whether it be issues with study, revision, technical problems or your working environment, then you should contact your Tutor as soon as you realise there is a problem, whether this is before, during or after your exams.

 Your Tutor will be able to give you the advice on the best course of action regarding your studies and assessment, and will also be able to offer guidance and support in other ways, such as other pastoral and external sources of help. Support may extend beyond examination outcomes: your College can help you navigate through the various forms of wellbeing and support available.

For issues relating to assessment, your Tutor will be able to discuss with you a number of existing mechanisms of support for the examination period. 

  • Exam Warnings – This is an early marker that your College attach to your record to something has happened and can be referenced later on if further support is needed, such as an exam allowance. Warnings can be submitted at any point throughout the assessment period and normally no later than the last day of your examination.
  • Exam Allowances – Exam allowances can be applied for where your exams were affected by medical or grave cause. Applications for an allowance should be made as soon as possible, and no later than 3 months from publication of your examination results.
  • Examination Review and Representations to Examiners – Exam reviews and Representations to Examiners are where a procedural irregularity has occurred during your exam, or there is a perception of bias or withdrawal of academic provision that affected your exam outcome.

Some of these mitigation measures will require evidence. It is important that any evidence submitted is:

  • Relevant – relating to the time period in question
  • Contemporary – produced close in time to the period affected
  • Specific – where possible, it should explicitly relate to the impact your circumstances have had on you.

Q. I haven't been able to access all of my intended materials / facilities for my dissertation / coursework - what can I do?

When submitting your work, you can include an Impact Statement which allows you to detail the difficulties you have encountered. This will be passed to the Examiners who will consider this information when assessing the work sumitted. 
You must not include information on your personal circumstances or health issues - allowances for these reasons cannot be considered by the Examiners or Exam Board and must be referred to the EAMC. 
The Impact Statement form can be found here

Q. Something has gone wrong – what should I do?

Speak to someone in College. This might be your Tutor, the College Nurse or Dean. If you can’t speak to someone, drop them an email. Consider following up conversations by email so you have a record of what was discussed and any advice you were given. You may wish to use that evidence later on in an application for an allowance.
If you can’t speak to someone in your College, try the Student Advice Service for free, confidential advice.

Q. I don’t think I’ve done very well in my exams – what can I do?

Speak to someone in your College: help is available. This may be:

  • medical or non-medical help: Colleges have experience in helping students with a whole range of issues and will be able to access and point you to help and support mechanisms.
  • submission of an exam warning. This is an early marker that something happened that is held on your record against that exam paper. If an application is subsequently submitted for an allowance, the exam warning is counted as early evidence.
  • consider submitting a Representation to Examiners form within 5 days of the exam taking place if you believe that there was a procedural irregularity, demonstrable bias or perception of bias, or withdrawal of academic provision and you want the examiners to be aware of the matter when they consider the initial marks given to students. If you miss the deadline then do not worry, if the matter affected the whole cohort then it is likely the examiners may be aware of the issue anyway, and if you not you will be able to submit an Examination Review within 28 days of receiving your formal results.

Q. How can I access exam allowances and submit an application for allowances?

  • If you consider your examination outcome was not representative of your abilities, you should discuss with your Tutor (or Senior Tutor, tutorial office or College Welfare Officer) whether you should submit an application for an allowance. There are several allowances available and your Tutor can advise what may be appropriate in your circumstances. Guidance notes (including details of each allowance as well as the impact on your academic transcript) are available here.
  • Applications for allowances should be submitted via your College. Colleges are experienced in gathering the evidence providing supplementary statements and submitting applications. Your College can also advise on appropriate help and support that may be useful for you.
  • You are able to submit your own supporting statement with any application: this should be clear and concise. Your college should share the final submitted application with you.
  • If you are unable to approach your College or they are unwilling to submit an application for an allowance, it is still possible for an application for an allowance to be submitted. Email for further advice.
  • The EAMC are aware of the challenges in gaining medical evidence due to the current situation of COVID-19. If you are unable to get an appointment with a medical professional, or are waiting for an appointment following referral to an NHS (or equivalent) service, the Committee will consider other evidence provided, such as (list is not exhaustive):
    • A statement from your Tutor or College nurse confirming your illness (you must have contacted them at the time)
    • Evidence of a COVID positive test result for the period affected
    • Evidence of the need to isolate – this could be an email, confirmation from your College or screenshots from any alerts received via SMS.
    • In cases of a longer-term illness, a diagnosis where possible, or medical evidence of a referral to the appropriate NHS (or equivalent) recognised service. This might include those new NHS (or equivalent) services for individuals with ‘long COVID’ as well as other illnesses with existing services such as cancer or mental health services. Such evidence ensures diagnoses and treatment plans to support you as you progress.

For advice on evidence, contact your College or the Student Advice Service.

Q. I’ve got my exam results and they’re not what I was expecting – what can I do?

  • consider asking your Department for a ‘mark check if you think there has been an arithmetical error. All departments must offer a mark check process that allows students to check that marks have been added up correctly, that all submitted work has been marked by the examiners and that any reasonable adjustments have been put in place.
  • consider submitting an Examination Review if you believe there has been a procedural irregularity, that the examiners knew your identity and were biased in examining your work, or if the Department formally withdrew academic provision from you and this impacted your results. Examination Reviews must be submitted on the form within 28 days of receiving your results.
  • if the reason for your performance was linked to medical circumstances or other grave cause, speak to your College about submitting an application for an exam allowance.

Q. Can I access an extension to submission dates for coursework?

Extensions to submission dates for coursework and/or dissertations may be possible, although consider that any extension may overlap with revision or preparation time for other modules. Your department can consider requests for an extension up to 14 days and you should contact them directly for information on how to apply. If you require an extension beyond that, then your College should submit an application to the EAMC.

Q. I have a new medical issue: what support is available to help me complete my exams? 

If you have a new medical issue, exam access arrangements may help you during in-person, online or timed assessments. This might include rest breaks or the use of assistive technology. Speak to your College for advice and review the guidance notes here.


Sources of further information:

Student Advice Service

Representation to Examiners (up to 5 days after exam)

Exam Review process (up to 28 days after exam results published)

Allowances (up to 3 months after exam results published)