Special Consideration - Illness & Misadventure

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Assessment at UNSW | Academic Integrity and Rights and Responsibilities | Examinations | Other types of assessment | Results | Special Consideration | Academic Standing | Assessment Policy

Explanation and eligibility
Applying for Consideration
What happens after you make the application
What outcomes you can expect

Explanation and eligibility

Sickness, misadventure, or other circumstance beyond your control may prevent you from completing a course requirement or attending or submitting assessable work for a course, or may significantly affect your performance in assessable work, e.g. formal end of session examination, class test, laboratory test, seminar presentation, etc. You can apply for consideration for the affected assessments.

Applications are accepted in the following circumstances only:
  1. Where academic work has been hampered to a substantial degree by illness or other cause. Except in unusual circumstances a problem involving only three consecutive days or a total of five days within the teaching period of a semester is not considered sufficient grounds for an application.
  2. The circumstances have to be unexpected and beyond your control. Students are expected to give priority to their University study commitments and any absence must clearly be for circumstances beyond your control. Work commitments are not normally considered a justification.
  3. An absence from an examination must be supported by a medical certificate or other document which clearly indicates you were unable to be present. A student absent from an examination or who attends an examination and wants to request special consideration is normally required to provide a medical certificate dated the same day as the examination.
  4. An application for Special Consideration must be provided within three working days of the assessment to which it refers. In exceptional circumstances an application may be accepted outside the three-day limit.

Please note: Students cannot claim consideration for conditions or circumstances that are the consequences of their actions or inactions.


  1. Depending on the circumstances, the University may take action to allow you to overcome the disadvantage, e.g. give you additional assessment or extend a deadline.

  2. Merely submitting a request for Special Consideration does not automatically mean that you will be granted additional assessment, nor that you will be awarded an amended result. For example, if you have a poor record of attendance or performance throughout a session/year in a course you may be failed regardless of illness or other reason affecting a final examination in that course.

  3. The University has a centralised procedure for Special Consideration applications. Many course authorities and faculties have procedures that you will also need to follow.

  4. It sometimes happens that a student encounters a situation that is so significant or personal they do not want to use the Special Consideration procedures. In a case like this you may prefer to contact the University Health Service, Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS), an academic adviser in your program office or the Manager, Student Administration. Remember that it is always important to let the University know if there is anything that may affect your ability to continue your studies.

Applying for Special Consideration


You must make formal application for Special Consideration for the course/s affected as soon as practicable after the problem occurs and within three working days of the assessment to which it refers.


The application must be made via Online Services in myUNSW. You must obtain and attach Third Party documentation before submitting the application. Failure to do so may result in the application being rejected. Log into myUNSW and go to My Student Profile tab > My Student Services channel > Online Services > Special Consideration.


Submit to UNSW Student Central:

   - Originals or certified copies of your supporting documentation (Student Central can certify your original documents), or
   - A completed Professional Authority form (pdf - download here).

NOTE 1: The supporting documentation must be submitted to Student Central for verification within three working days of the assessment or the period covered by the supporting documentation. Failure to do so may result in the application being rejected.


NOTE 2: You must also follow any local Faculty course or program authority procedures. You will have been informed of these procedures by the course authority or Faculty representative in the course brochure/information sheet given to you when you started the course or program.

Supporting documentation

To give the University sufficient and appropriate information on which to base its decision about your request, you must support your application with certified official documentation that normally contains at least the following key information:

  1. The assessment task/s for which you are seeking consideration;
  2. The dates/deadlines associated with these tasks;
  3. The basis of your request ie. the nature of your misadventure, illness, etc;
  4. The date/s on which you were seen by the professional/authority providing your official documentation;
  5. The date of the illness or misadventure or the dates of the period of time of the illness or misadventure;
  6. The professional's/authority's assessment of the severity of your illness or misadventure and opinion of the likely effect on your capacity to undertake the assessment task/s concerned.


  • Items 4. to 6. need to be certified by the provider, e.g. your medical practitioner or other health professional (for illness or injury), or counsellor (for personal or family problems), so you need to make the provider aware of the Universitys requirements. Only documentation that meets the requirements listed above will be accepted.

  • For causes other than sickness, (e.g. road accident, court hearing, or death of a relative) written evidence (e.g. a police report, a court summons, or a death certificate) instead of the documentation required in 6. above is acceptable (i.e. Section B of the Consideration form need not be completed).

  • You must bring the original supporting documentation to Student Central. These documents will be certified and the original returned to you for your records. Keep a copy of your supporting documentation - once submitted, documents will not be returned. The supporting documentation must be submitted to Student Central for verification within three working days of the assessment or the period covered by the supporting documentation. Failure to do so may result in the application being rejected.

  • No consideration will be given when the condition or event is not related to performance or is considered to be not serious.

Applications are normally NOT considered if:
  • more than 3 days have elapsed since the assessment for which Consideration is sought;
  • any key information is missing;
  • supporting documentation does not meet requirements;
  • the assessment task is worth less than 20% of the total course assessment, unless the student can provide a Medical Certificate that covers three consecutive days.
  • School of Mathematics and Statistics Students: the School will not accept online applications where the assessment value is less than 20%. Please contact the School directly in this case.

In exceptional circumstances the University may waive these requirements, for example, if an accident or sudden illness occurs which requires your immediate hospitalisation.


Need advice?

If you need advice about any of the policies or procedures relating to Consideration contact Student Central.


What happens after you make the application

Details, including the information provided by you, are made available to the relevant Course Authority/Faculty. The University’s procedures ensure that confidentiality of this information is maintained.

Note that many Course Authorities require you to take action within a specified timeframe, e.g. to consult the Course Authority’s notice board, or contact them in person or by phone, etc. Arrangements will have been made available to you in the course information sheet. Failure to take this action will normally result in forfeiture of any additional assessment granted to you.

On the basis of the information provided in your application, the relevant Course Authority will decide on the appropriate response in your particular case. The following may be taken into account:

  1. Your performance in other items of assessment in the course;
  2. The severity of the event and its impact on your performance;
  3. The nature of the assessment in which performance was affected;
  4. Academic standing in other courses and in the program;
  5. History of previous applications for special consideration.

What outcomes you can expect

When you submit an application for illness or misadventure the following may ensue:

  1. No consideration granted;
  2. Additional assessment or a supplementary examination. Additional assessment may take a different form from the original assessment. If you are granted additional assessment, the original assessment may be ignored at the discretion of the Course Authority. Consequently, a revised mark based on additional assessment may be greater or less than the original mark;
  3. Marks obtained for completed assessment tasks may be aggregated or averaged to achieve a percentage;
  4. The deadline for assessment may be extended;
  5. Discontinuation without failure from the course may be recommended. This is unlikely to occur after an examination or final assessment has taken place.
  6. The final mark for the course may be excluded from calculations for Honours enrolment/grade etc.

There is no provision for your assessment in a course to be increased other than via 2. or 3. above.

For enquiries relating to the outcome of your request for special consideration, please contact the relevant Course Authority or Head Lecturer of the course.


The following examples are included to give an indication of the outcomes you can expect in the most common circumstances. (Many Course Authorities include similar examples for the special types of assessment used by them in their course information sheets.)

Formal end of session examinations

  • If you miss such an examination through an illness, other circumstance beyond your control, etc., which is certified as being severe enough to have prevented your attendance, in general, you will be granted additional assessment. This is usually in the form of a supplementary examination.

  • If you attend an examination but prior to it an illness or other circumstance beyond your control occurs which, because of its duration or severity, is certified as having a significant effect on your preparation for that course, in general you will be granted additional assessment. This is usually in the form of a supplementary examination.

Note: In either of these cases if you have attained a pass in the course concerned from assessment tasks completed during session, it may not be regarded as necessary to grant you additional assessment.

  • If you attend an examination but have an illness on the day, which is either certified as not having a significant effect on your performance (such as a minor head cold), or for which you were examined after the illness had subsided, you will not be granted additional assessment.

Class tests, laboratory examinations, vivas

The same types of outcomes as outlined above for formal end of session examinations normally will apply in the circumstances listed.

Essays, reports, mini-theses, models, creative work, etc.

If an illness or other circumstance beyond your control occurs which, because of its duration or severity, is certified as having a significant effect on your ability to submit the work by the deadline given, you will generally be granted an extension of the deadline. You should not, however, expect the deadline to be extended for a time in excess of the period for which the certification was given.

Field work, practical placements, etc.

Each course authority conducting field work, etc. has in place appropriate mechanisms for dealing with consideration for these type of assessments. Details are provided in the relevant course information sheets.

Additional assessment

The time at which any additional assessment granted to you is held, is determined by the course authority concerned. Consult the course information sheet for detailed information about the times and arrangements for the various additional assessment tasks in that course.

Most course authorities conduct supplementary examinations in the period immediately after the formal end of session examination period. For example, for the end of Session 2, supplementary examinations are often held in the three-week period just prior to Christmas. In general, course authorities will provide only one opportunity for you to sit a supplementary examination except in exceptional circumstances. You need to ensure you will be available during this period to take any supplementary examination granted to you.

You should expect any additional assessment granted to you to be of the same degree of difficulty as the original assessment task which it replaces.

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