Non-appearance, mitigating circumstances and transcription


A candidate in any University Exam may, through his or her college, request the Proctors to accept an application that the candidate will be or has been prevented by illness or other urgent cause from submitting a thesis (or other exercise) at the appointed time and place for any part of a University Exam.

Click to view the Excusal of Non-Appearance at an Examination Form.

Mitigating circumstances for late submissions

The Proctors’ office considers requests for students, made on their behalf by their college or department, on the basis of mitigating circumstances to:

  • have the academic and financial penalty for submitting coursework after the deadline waived (late submission)
  • arrange an extension for a piece of coursework and have a new deadline set (extension)
  • be excused for not attending an exam
  • withdraw and resubmit work

Information for students is available on the student pages and in the University Student Handbook

A long extension may be referred for consideration as a dispensation if it is likely to take the submission date beyond the examiners’ term of office.

Information for staff on the process for notifying students about late submissions is available on the exam processes pages.

Mitigating circumstances notices to examiners

Students may submit a mitigating circumstances notice to examiners (MCE) if their academic performance has been seriously affected by a medical or personal issue. MCEs can be started and submitted by the student directly or via their college or department (for non-matriculated students).

Notices need to be submitted within three days of the student's last exam or submitted work deadline. Notices received after this deadline may be forwarded to examiners. Notices received by the deadline will be considered by the exam board and the outcome recorded in eVision prior to results being released. Departments and Faculties are reminded that final exam board dates must be recorded in eVision, the deadline for which is normally within 10 days of the examiners nomination deadline.

Notices may be submitted by the student or on the student's behalf by the college office or the department for non-matriculated students.

The relevant department or faculty overseeing the exam board are responsible for recording the outcome for all MCE notices in eVision before results are published.

Further information for students is available on the Oxford students website.

Expand All

  1. A student can start and submit an MCE notice in Self Service or request that their College Office or department (for non-matriculated students) do so on their behalf.
  2. If starting an MCE on behalf of a student, the college or department (for non-matriculated students) can start an MCE notice by clicking on Start mitigating circumstances notice to examiners link in the Mitigating circumstances notice to examiners (colleges) container in eVision. Further eVision instructions are available in the Quick Reference Guide.
  3. Once the MCE notice has been activated in eVision the student will receive an email inviting them to complete a personal statement and upload supporting documentation in Self Service. Students are reminded to not upload password protected documents. eVision is a secure platform by which to transfer confidential information.
  4. Once the student has confirmed that they have completed their statement and uploaded supporting documentation they can either submit the notice to their examiners or submit the notice to their college for review, for which an email notification will be sent to the college.
  5. If the MCE has been submitted for the college for review, the college may upload any additional supporting documents and submit the notice once complete.
  6. A summary of the MCE notice can be downloaded as a single PDF file to print or save locally.
  7. The notice will automatically be referred to the exam board, via the exam board administrator, to consider. Notices received after the deadline may be forwarded to examiners. For notices received after noon on the day before the exam board this requires agreement from the Proctors, who will determine whether to pass the notice to the exam board.


If no final exam board date has been recorded in eVision the notice will be referred to the Exams and Assessments Team to determine whether the notice be referred to the exam board or Proctors Office.

Accessing submitted notices

  1. The department or faculty administrator overseeing the exam board will receive an automated email on receipt of a new mitigating circumstances notice for examiners (MCE) with a link to eVision. Further eVision instructions are available in the Quick Reference Guide.
  2. The MCE notice and supporting documentation will be available to access and download as a single PDF file from eVision to print or save locally.
  3. Once a notice has been accessed, the department or faculty may choose to return to the list of all notices received for that course or to mark the notice as having been actioned. NB: once a notice has been marked as actioned it will be removed from the list and no longer accessible.

Exam Board meeting

  1. A subset of the exam board (the 'Mitigating Circumstances Panel') should meet to discuss the mitigating circumstances notices for examiners (this may be the entire board in smaller departments). Further guidance is available in the Examinations and Assessment Framework.
  2. A formal record should be kept using the proforma noting that the mitigating circumstances had been considered, how the information had been considered and the outcome of the consideration by the board. The proforma is also available in the Examinations and Assessment Framework.
  3. The exam board, or administrator, should record the outcome of the exam board's decision in eVision before results are published.
  4. The student will be able to view the outcome in Student Self Service once their results are published.
  1. Review the classification/overall outcome requirements (giving particular consideration to candidates who are just below boundaries for classification or progression)

Where there is evidence that a candidate's performance has been affected over one or more papers and this leaves them just below a classification or progression boundary, examiners may consider whether they should be awarded the higher classification, or be allowed to progress.


  1. Pass the notice to the examiners of the final results/classification meeting

For early parts of multi-part exams, and exams which release final marks throughout the course, the mitigating circumstances notice must be passed to the final exam board which will make the final classification decision, so that the board can consider whether the final classification should be affected.  However, examiners for the earlier parts can also consider notices if this is felt appropriate, e.g. to determine eligibility for progression.


  1. Disregard a paper or papers and finalise results on the basis of the remaining work

This is most likely to be appropriate in cases of acute illness, where it is clear that performance in a particular paper affected by that illness is weaker than other papers.  Where a paper is disregarded, its mark should be reported as 'no result expected' rather than zero.

Note: If a student missed a paper (absent) then they should apply for excusal from the exam from the Proctors.  The mitigating circumstances notice to examiners process should not be used in this instance.


  1. Finalise the mark for a paper or papers taking into account all available material

This could mean finalising a mark for a paper on the basis of the number of questions actually completed rather than the number of questions required, where there is evidence that a particular paper was affected.  Examiners should not otherwise change the mark for an individual paper, but may award a higher classification or permit the student to progress, where the student would otherwise have been just below the boundary for classification or progression.


  1. Impact of circumstances considered, no appropriate adjustment could be made. 

It is likely that in most cases no further action will be required for notices in Band 1.  It is also possible for there to be clear evidence of moderate or even very serious impact on a student (Bands 2 or 3) but no appropriate action which the examiners can take, and therefore for no adjustment to be made.


  1. Late exam response submission/s accepted without penalty.

This is appropriate for candidates who submitted their exam responses after the cut off time in Inspera and the examiners have reviewed the case and accepted the exam response/s that the candidate submitted late, without penalty.


Please see Examinations and assessment framework (EAF) for further guidance on outcome options.

  • The outcome(s) must be recorded in eVision after notices have been considered at the relevant exam board meeting but before results or year outcomes are released.
  • Refer to the eVision reference guide on how to record outcomes.
  • Outcome(s) are available for students to view in Student Self Service once interim results or year outcomes are published.
  • Outcome(s) are available for colleges to view in eVision once interim results or year outcomes are published.

Mitigating circumstances notices for examiners data security guidance for staff

By receiving and opening electronic files containing student data, or by downloading the data from eVision, you accept responsibility for the data and its security, and agree to comply with relevant University or college policies on data protection and information security.

In particular, you agree to the following.

  • Student data shall be used only to meet the collegiate University’s educational, pastoral, statutory or administrative responsibilities and purposes, in accordance with the University or college student privacy notice.
  • The data shall be kept secure and appropriate safeguards taken to ensure that it is not lost or disclosed to unauthorised persons. Unauthorised persons would include other members of the collegiate University who have no need to access the data in order to perform their duties.
  • For data held in GSR, authorised persons are expected to include: allocated supervisor(s), college advisor(s), course director(s), Director of Graduate Studies, as well as some departmental, divisional and college staff (which may include the college Senior Tutor and Head of House). If a student is in receipt of funding from the University, including research council funding, their supervision reports may also be shared with relevant University employees responsible for the oversight of these awards, in order to fulfil requirements associated with their funding. In some circumstances, details of supervision reports may also be shared with the Disability Advisory Service, Proctors’ Office and Education Committee.
  • If the data is downloaded to a mobile device (laptop, memory stick, tablet, Smartphone) the device must be appropriately secured. Laptops and memory sticks may be used to store the data only if the device is encrypted.
  • If the data file is emailed, or if it is held outside of the University firewall then it must be encrypted at all times. This includes college desktops and college servers.
  • If the data is stored with a cloud service e.g. DropBox, the file must be encrypted, as such services do not guarantee data security.
  • The data shall not be disclosed to a third party i.e. any person or body outside the collegiate University.
  • The data shall be kept only for as long as it is needed to meet the collegiate University’s educational, pastoral, statutory or administrative responsibilities and purposes. When this need expires, the data must be securely deleted.

Access is managed by your local Information Custodian.

If you do not have access to view mitigating circumstances notices or to record outcomes please contact your Information Custodian to request access to Mitigating Circumstances notices to examiners-Depts (Dept_FAP).

If you do not have access to submit notices please contact your Information Custodian to request access to COLL_MCE or to DEPT_MCE if you need to submit notices for non-matriculated students.


Expand All

The same transcription arrangements will be in place for during Trinity term 2021 as in 2020. Should a students exam script/s be deemed illegible by the examiners, colleges are requested to coordinate transcription where this is reasonably possible. Any script identified as illegible by the examiners should be scrutinised by several authorities (such as other examiners) to determine illegibility. If it is possible for another examiner to read and mark the script, this should be carried out. Where this is not possible, the department may contact the relevant college to request that transcription of the illegible script/s be carried out.

Please refer to the transcription guidance for full details.

Transcription and illegible scripts

  • Students working remotely are encouraged to type their exam responses. 
  • Students who are required, or have strong preference, to handwrite their responses, must ensure that their handwriting is legible.
  • If illness or accident prevents them from being able to type or handwrite, and there is a member of their household who is prepared to act as an amanuensis, this arrangement can be accommodated as an alternative arrangement. This adjustment should be applied for via the SharePoint site for alternative exam arrangements.

Blurred scans

  • Students should practice scanning exam responses in advance of sitting exams to avoid issues during the exam, step-by-step instructions are in the student guide.
  • If the scanned exam response is unclear the department administrator may accept (if this has already been submitted by the student) or request a new scanned exam response by contacting the student’s college office.
  • Once received, the department administrator should cross-reference both versions as a check that no additional material has been added to the exam response. The exam response may then be passed to the examiner/s for marking.

Remote transcription

  • With the relevant permission the student may transcribe their exam responses that have been deemed illegible to a member of staff of the University, subject to agreement from a suitable member of staff. 
  • Full details are included in the Examinations and Assessment Framework

Contact us

Student Registry
Examination Schools
75 – 81 High Street
Exam Admin and Services:
Exam Operations:
Examiner Appointments and Payments:


Education Policy Support
University Offices
Wellington Square
Tel: 01865 270091


Student Registry full contact list