Exceptional circumstances

Find out how changes to Type B requests affect your applications

Changes to Type B requests

We hope that your time here at Oxford Brookes University will be happy and productive. However, we recognise that unfortunately sometimes our students can experience serious personal difficulties which can affect their ability to study or undertake assessment.

The University has a procedure in place for students who are experiencing exceptional circumstances that are affecting their ability to study or undertake assessment.

What are exceptional circumstances?

The University considers an exceptional circumstance to be:

  • personal circumstances that are out of the control of the student; and
  • that the student could not reasonably have prevented or accommodated; and
  • they must have had a significant and demonstratively negative effect on the student’s ability to study or undertake an assessment.

Additionally, the timing of the circumstances must be relevant to the affected assessments and/or period of study. 

All elements must be met in order to substantiate an application for exceptional circumstances. 

Types of assessment

Assessments at the University take many forms but in terms of exceptional circumstances, they fall broadly into 3 categories:

  • deadline assessments - assessments not taken under controlled and timed conditions such as essays, assignments and placements.
  • non-examined event assessments - assessments taken under controlled and timed conditions such as, tests and presentations.
  • examined event assessments - formally examined assessments taken under controlled and timed conditions such as exams.

You can apply for extensions or resits on deadline assessments, or an opportunity to take an event assessment again at a later date. To do this you will either need to make a Type A, Type B, Type C or Type D application. For more information, please see the Exceptional Circumstances Procedure.

Is it an exceptional circumstance?

Not all events which disrupt your ability to progress with your studies will be considered as exceptional circumstances. Everyday life is full of unforeseeable events and incidents which we expect students to manage on their own, in preparation for professional working life. Unexpected illnesses or events do not automatically lead to academic underperformance. Therefore, it is important that you consider whether your circumstance meets all of the criteria to satisfy the University's exceptional circumstances definition before making an application


Exceptional circumstances - normally considered (with the appropriate evidence)

  • Bereavement of a close relative or friend
  • Short-term illness of a student, such as flu, COVID-19, food poisoning, etc.
  • Serious illness or medical condition of a student, including breaks and serious sprains
  • Serious illness of a close relative
  • Hospitalisation
  • Victim of a crime
  • Serious personal disruption, such as divorce, burglary, assault, jury service, etc.
  • Acute personal/emotional circumstances which have a significant impact on a student's emotional and mental wellbeing.
  • Pregnancy-related illness and stress


Exceptional circumstances - not normally considered 

  • Weddings and associated travel arrangements
  • Academic deadline pressures, e.g. multiple deadlines, time mismanagement, general exam stress 
  • Deleted work/ not-backed-up work or other computer failure
  • Uploading the incorrect assignment, mis-reading assignment deadlines or forgetting to submit an assignment on time
  • Domestic events such as home moves, family celebrations, holidays or other events where you are aware of the date well in advance and are therefore expected to make the necessary adjustments to meet your deadlines
  • Pregnancy and childbirth in and of themselves

A note on IT problems

Generally, IT-related problems are not considered valid grounds for exceptional circumstances. This is because students are expected to back up their work regularly via their Google Drive, so that they can continue accessing their files on other devices. If you experience IT issues, your are expected to take prompt action to remedy these, for example, by raising a ticket with the IT Service Desk; taking your technology for repair, or contacting your faculty if you need support with faculty-provided software. 

If your own device is faulty, open access PCs are available for use on campus, or you may borrow a laptop for up to four hours from one of the self-service cabinets on campus. Please go to our IT pages for further information. 

A Note on ADHD Medication

We realise there is currently a global shortage of ADHD medication. If you have been impacted by this, you can apply for exceptional circumstances. If possible, please provide evidence of your ADHD diagnosis or your usual prescription, e.g. a letter from the GP, an old diagnostics report, an old prescription etc.