For most of you, your assessments will go smoothly with no unexpected problems. However, whether it’s an illness before your exam or your laptop malfunctioning, there are unfortunately some problems that can get in the way. Here’s all the information you need to deal with things if they go wrong. 

Submit an Extenuating Circumstances if something goes wrong 

If your assessments are impacted by serious events such as illness or bereavement, you can apply for Extenuating Circumstances (ECs).  

It’s so important to make an EC request on time, as unfortunately every year we hear from many of you who have reported these issues later and therefore not had them considered by UCL.  

The deadline to submit an EC request is no more than one week (five working days) after the first affected assessment.   

In many cases, you don’t need to provide evidence with your request, so you don’t always need to spend time collecting this. For example, if only want a deferral of an exam or a short extension of other assessments you may be able to do this. If you do need to provide evidence, it’s important to get support and report your circumstances to an independent authority (for example a Doctor, Social Worker, Police Officer etc) who might be able to provide evidence for you. 

A word of warning – there are some agencies out there offering to help you with evidence for ECs. If you submit falsified evidence, it’s very likely your request will be rejected, and you may face disciplinary action from UCL. 

UCL’s  Student Support and Wellbeing team is on hand to offer support, as is the 24 hour Student Support Line. However, these places can’t usually provide evidence for EC requests. For that, you should speak to a medical or other professional. 

Submit on time for online exams 

We know it can be difficult to manage your time, particularly in online exams. If you’re sitting online assessments, one of the best ways to prevent problems is to make sure you submit on time. 

The exam duration shown in AssessmentUCL is the total time you have to complete the exam and upload and submit it. The end time on AssessmentUCL is the time by which your exam must be handed in. 

Here’s an example of the time you’ll receive for Online Controlled Condition Exams: 

Standard Timetable Duration2 hours
Upload Window20 minutes
Duration shown in AssessmentUCL2 hours 20 minutes
Using the example above, if your assessment started at 9am, you must submit your work by 11.20am  

If your exam has particularly extensive upload requirements, such as converting handwritten answers to PDF, you may receive additional collation time shown in the assessment duration. The upload (and collation, if applicable) window should only be used to collate, upload and hand in your submission. 

It’s not supposed to be time to continue working on your assessment, and the full time may be necessary if you have lots of photos or files to convert to a PDF document before you can hand in your work. It’s therefore essential you use the full time to upload and submit your exam, as late submissions will be penalised. 

You can submit up to 40 minutes late for Online Controlled Condition Exams and receive a late submission penalty. If you try to submit more than 40 minutes late, your work will not be accepted and will not be marked. You would be given a 0 mark. You don’t receive an upload window for take home papers or coursework as this is built into the deadline. 

If you arrive up to 45 minutes late for an in-person exam, you will be allowed into the hall to sit the exam but will not get any additional time.  

Report any technical difficulties

If you experience technical difficulties, including difficulties accessing or completing your online assessments on the AssessmentUCL platform, you should report this to UCL as soon as possible. 

UCL's Support During your Assessment webpage contains up-to-date information and the relevant support options for difficulties with logging in, before your assessment begins and for issues during or after your assessment. 

UCL call these reports ‘technical failure claims’. All technical failure claims must be made on the Assessment UCL Query Form and supported by evidence, so make sure to take time stamped screenshots or photos of any error messages of internet connection problems that you encounter. 

It’s important to note that UCL expect you to provide evidence showing the technical failure at the time of the exam. So, for example, a photo of an error message taken after the exam has finished is unlikely to be enough. If you are experiencing a technical failure, you should try your best to get evidence at the time it’s happening.  

The deadline to submit a technical failure claim is no more than one week (five working days) after the first affected assessment.   

If your claim is accepted, there are a range of different standard mitigations (steps UCL will take) for each type of assessment. You can find more information on this in the Student Regulations for Exams and Assessments 2022-23, Section 10.7 Technical Failures Policy


What difficulties will NOT be considered?

a) Uploading the wrong file 

  b) Forgetting to complete the Cover Sheet 

  c) Clicking the ‘Submit Blank’ button 

  d) Password expiry 

  e) Not being registered on the correct module 

  f) Mis-reading the timetable 

  g) Starting your exam at the wrong time 

  h) Mis-understanding time zone differences 

  i) Running out of time because you have not left yourself at least 20 minutes to upload and submit your work

Do I need to provide evidence?

Yes, you will need to provide supporting evidence which shows the problem is substantial and beyond your control. This table gives examples of acceptable and unacceptable evidence. 

How do I use AssessmentUCL?

It's important that you familiarise yourself with AssessmentUCL before the date of your exam. You should read through the guidance for students and complete the practice assessments to test your device and browser set up. 

If you are unhappy with the outcome of your technical failure claim and want to raise the issue further, you can submit an Academic Appeal to UCL. We have some information on Academic Appeals to help you. 

Our Advice Service can offer more support with the technical failure and appeal processes if you need it.