Exam season is upon us, for some they will matter (a lot), for others it will be first year formality. Whatever your situation, exam season is never a fun time. These days it barely feels like one examination period has passed before another one pops up.

The biggest mistake students make is sitting exams and not raising extenuating/mitigating circumstances (in the event they have some) at that time. Often students who have some real and genuine mitigating/extenuating circumstances decide to sit the exams to see how they fair and wait for results. If the results do not come out as they expect they then try and raise mitigating circumstances. The Policy will no doubt have a clause in there that states you have X number of days, after the exam, to raise any mitigating circumstance.

If you feel that something is impacting your performance, then submit the form and do it formallyas soon as you are aware of your impaired ability, whether exams are looming or not.Do not think that just because you told your tutor/professor that it will be taken into account, students often make this mistake. Get help in drafting and understanding the policy, a well-articulated submission can make all the difference. It also shows you are taking your studies seriously.

If you get a mark that you really were not expecting and have no mitigating circumstances to raise, that does not mean you cannot challenge the grade. Your university will have an academic appeals policy in place which will set out how to appeal. It will also set out the deadline by which such an appeal must be submitted to the university – watch out for this date, because it will be short. It is important to consider this avenue, more than ever before grades are important in the job market, you need to make sure you get the best results possible.

From my experience I have often noticed that students draft appeals but do not focus them on the right issues or make sure their reasoning falls within the grounds upon which they can submit the appeal. This is a fatal error and a sure fire way of it getting rejected. If you do not focus on the grounds of appeal then it is easy for the university to reject your appeal without even having to consider the real issues. Sounds unfair, but I have seen this happen all too often. What initially may have been good extenuating/mitigating circumstances can be lost through a complicated and convoluted appeal process…


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