MBChB Year 4 2012-2013 Extenuating Circumstances and Fit to Sit Dr Ed Day Year 4 Welfare Tutor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
What is Fit to Sit? • By being present at an examination you are declaring yourself ‘Fit to Sit’ – applies to all examinations (written, presentations, OSCEs) • You can not then submit extenuating circumstances for that examination, unless there are very exceptional circumstances (e.g., sudden illness that starts during an examination)
What do I do if I am not Fit to Sit an examination? • Inform the SDSO as soon as you can and complete the Extenuating Circumstances (ECs) form (Deferral of an Examination) – available on-line or from SDSO & Student Services Reception • You can do this up until the published start time of an examination – requests after this will not be considered • You must provide acceptable third-party evidence (usually doctor’s note) – as soon as possible after you have declared that you are not Fit to Sit (normally within one working day) • Note: In 2011-12 several students put in the section asking why they were applying for ECs rather than declaring themselves Not Fit to Sit “Med School don’t allow it”. All students can defer an exam at any stage (first sit or re-sit).
What happens next? Submission and evidence considered by Extenuating Circumstances Officer (Dr Ed Day) If approved: Your sitting of the examination will be deferred until the next available opportunity If not approved (usually due to no evidence or false/mis-leading/inaccurate evidence): You will be awarded a mark of 0 for the missed examination
Important information about deferring examinations • Deferred examinations can only be taken in May (at re-sit time, but as a first sit), or March the following year • This may result in you having to take a year out of the course • You cannot progress to Year 5 without passing all Year 4 modules • The MBChB must be completed in 8 years (7 for GEC) maximum (excluding intercalated years)
What are extenuating circumstances? • Significant personal difficulties that affect learning and/or assessments during the academic year • Exceptional and unforeseen events • New Code of Practice asks for better evidence of impact and is stricter on what is allowable. This is vitally important and if it is not supplied the application may not meet the University criteria (frequently not done in 2011-12).
Examples of extenuating circumstances • Significant illness, accident or injury • Death or serious illness of close family member • Exceptional and unforeseen financial hardship • Serious family crisis directly affecting you
If your Mother was diagnosed with bony metastases from a breast cancer that she had diagnosed and treated when you were in first year. You had come to terms with the original diagnosis but the situation has changed. She has been unwell and required extensive investigation and treatment. You have gone home frequently for appointments and at weekends to spend time with your Mother. Your evidence needs to be that your Mother is seriously ill (precise diagnosis and treatment not required) and that you have been very worried, have lost time from revision and study to be with her. Your GP at home may be able to provide this or for your worry your GP in Birmingham, the Student Counselling and Guidance Service or other source of support. (You could not have foreseen a deterioration, it is serious and exceptional).
If you are suffering from depression and have found that learning, memory and concentration have been affected as your medication has taken time to work. Evidence from your GP or other health care professional. • Your grandfather passed away suddenly. He had lived with your family since you were young and was like a father to you. You found it difficult to cope with his death which impacted on your ability to focus on your studies. You needed support from the Student Counselling & Guidance Service or other forms of bereavement counselling during the months following his death. • If you fell and broke your ankle (unforeseen and exceptional, most people don’t break a bone in a year) and you missed a week of study and then were in pain, you should put in an EC form. The impact on your learning could be the time missed, the difficulty concentrating when in pain and on medication and the reduced time available due to physiotherapy appointments. Your GP, who is prescribing the medication, should be able to vouch for the impact.
Examples of what are not extenuating circumstances • Minor illnesses • Exam stress that is not diagnosed as an illness • Chosen activities that affect work during the academic year, e.g., sport, holidays, extra-curricular activities, religious observances, paid employment, charity work • Chronic illness / disability – reasonable adjustments can be put in place if needed (go to Student Support Services or see Year Tutor for further advice)
You have had ulcerative colitis for 6 years, it is well controlled with medication. This is a chronic condition that we can make reasonable adjustments for, it is not unforeseen (you know you have it) and while serious it is not acutely so. After 6 years you should have accepted that you have it. Of course if it flared up and you were ill, taking steroids etc, that would be covered by ECs. • You have been depressed since you were 17, you are on a long term SSRI and have fortnightly psychotherapy. Again this is something that we can adjust for (e.g. closer placements, time off for psychotherapy). • Your grandfather passed away after a short (or long) illness– this is neither exceptional nor unforeseen. Many young people of University age lose an elderly relative. The duration of the medical degree means that this is sadly a common experience for students. • Fit to sit is to be used when you feel that you must defer the exam because you are not well enough to sit it. So, for example you have acute gastroenteritis. You will need to provide a medical certificate within 1 working day of the exam. Once the exam starts you cannot say, in retrospect, “I had a headache in the exam, so I couldn’t talk to the examiner...”
What should you do if you have extenuating circumstances? • Tell us as soon as you can! • Complete an Extenuating Circumstances Form (complete this fully and carefully) • Provide supporting evidence (inc. impact) • Submit the form to the SDSO – do not wait until the deadline • No-one can raise extenuating circumstances on your behalf – it is your responsibility (even if you see your Year Tutor regularly)
What type of supporting evidence? • Must be contemporaneous, independent corroborative evidence that includes dates and confirms the impact on you, e.g., • Medical certificate / doctor’s letter • Death certificate • Counsellor’s letter • Bank statements • Solicitor’s letter • Police report • PM / Year Tutor report • We cannot request evidence on your behalf – it is your responsibility Remember impact!
When should you submit the Extenuating Circumstances Form? • As soon as possible after the event! • Absolute deadlines will be sent by email • Forms submitted after the deadlines will not be considered, and cannot be used in an appeal • Remember to apply early to doctors etc. for supporting documentation (but you must submit your form on time, even if your evidence is delayed)
What happens to the Extenuating Circumstances Form? • Confidentially considered by a small Extenuating Circumstances Panel • Graded according to seriousness and likely impact on your academic performance • Forms are held in a confidential file separate to your central student file • Board of Examiners receives the grading but not the details of the extenuating circumstances
Why might extenuating circumstances be judged as not admissible? • Not submitted on time (we are very strict about this!) • Lack of supporting evidence, or dates don’t match • Lack of evidence about IMPACT on YOU and YOUR STUDIES • ‘Minor’ (not significant, exceptional, unforeseen circumstances) • Enduring health/personal issues – should have been dealt with via reasonable adjustments if needed
Extenuating circumstances can’t… • Change your examination marks • Allow you to progress to Year 5 carrying a failed module
Extenuating circumstances might… • Allow you to re-sit an assessment as a ‘first sit’ • Allow you to externally re-sit • In very exceptional circumstances, allow you to repeat a year These decisions are made by the Board of Examiners
What about extenuating circumstances impacting on course work essays/assignments? • These are dealt with via extensions • To request an extension use the Extension Request Form (available from SDSO or Intramed – under ‘E’ in generic information) • Extenuating circumstances will not be further considered in relation to coursework
Need further advice? • SDSO (Claire Maitland) • e: email@example.com • t: 0121 414 7830 • Year Tutor (Dr Ed Day) • Contact via the SDSO • Personal Mentor • Advice & Representation Centre (ARC) in the Guild of Students
Useful website • UoB Extenuating Circumstances and Fit to Sit guidelines for students: http://www.as.bham.ac.uk/sca/extcirc/index.shtml • (or put extenuating circumstances into the search box on the UoB homepage) • From here you can also download the • Extenuating Circumstances Form • (and the guidelines for completing it)
Take Home Message! PLEASE come and ask us if you are in any doubt – we want to help you! Every year students have to leave because they didn’t tell us things Student Development & Support Office (SDSO) Student Services Centre (opp Library desk) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 0121 414 7830