Mitigating circumstance process for admissions


The School of Medicine understands that there are times when circumstances outwith your control occur, often unexpectedly, that can affect your studies and exams. This would include illness or bereavement or perhaps adverse family circumstances. The University will assume that the relevant board/body has taken these circumstances into account when awarding final results, and it will be these final results that will be used when making a decision.  

Mitigating circumstances are normally exceptional, short term, unforeseen and unpreventable events that may have a significantly disruptive effect on your ability to take assessments. These events are over and above the course of everyday life, and normally outside of your control. They may affect your ability to study, revise for and attend examinations or selection activities. 

In admissions, mitigating circumstances may be considered during our shortlisting process, during selection activity e.g. interview or during the time of offer making dependent on the timing of the mitigation in consideration. 

Mitigating circumstances must be: 


The event or circumstances must have had a serious impact on your studies. 


You must normally have had no prior knowledge that a particular event or circumstance would occur. 


There must have been no reasonable steps that you could have taken to prevent the event or circumstance from occurring. 


You must be able to link the event or circumstance, and its impact, on the period for which the application is being made. 


An application for mitigating circumstances may require to be supported by independent information. 


Supported by evidence, these are examples of circumstances normally accepted as mitigating if they occur immediately prior to or during an assessment period: 

This list is not exhaustive, and each application will be considered on its own merit. 

  • The death of someone you are close to e.g. parent, grandparent, guardian, partner, sibling, child. 

  • Serious personal illness or personal injury, or a significant change or deterioration in a long-term condition. 

  • Victim of crime (usually with police crime number, or supporting evidence from member of staff/professional person to whom the student has confided). 

  • Jury service. 

  • Involvement in a criminal case/witness. 

  • Failure in the provision of reasonable adjustments, or failure in, or inaccessibility of, school provided equipment. 

Supported by evidence, other circumstances may be considered. 

Not every event which you believe has disrupted your ability to study will be considered as mitigating circumstances. An unexpected event or illness does not automatically lead to underperformance.  

Who should consider your mitigation? 

In most cases this mitigation will be considered by another organisation. For mitigation impacting on exams students should contact the awarding body and seek to use their mitigating circumstances processes to take any impact on your exam performance into account.  

Most examination and assessment boards will have policies and procedures in place to take mitigating circumstances into account during the final marking/grading of an award. We would expect all applicants to use such procedures where they exist, and will request confirmation that this process had been carried out and if it has not we will request that the candidate provides us with information from the School/College indicating why it was not.  

The Joint Council for Qualifications has clear guidance on the processes that you should follow, these include special consideration which is a post-examination adjustment to a candidate’s mark or grade. This is to reflect temporary illness, temporary injury or some other event outside of the candidate’s control at the time of the assessment. In these cases candidates or their parents/carers should, in the first instance, discuss the application of special consideration with the school or college concerned. Private candidates must liaise with the school or college which made entries on their behalf about an application for special consideration. 

Coronavirus related disruption 

Sometimes there will be unanticipated circumstances which have an impact on all students, or specific groups of students. Where this is the case, the exam boards will take action to apply mitigation and will let students know what this will be, for example by changing the amount of content taught assessed, or by changing the method of assessment. 

Given the global nature of the Coronavirus outbreak, we are aware that all students will have experienced significant disruption in the 2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22 academic years to both their studies and home life. We want to assure you that our admissions decisions are extremely thorough and we will be carefully taking into account the closure of schools alongside the widespread disruption. Therefore, although we very much appreciate how unsettling this time will be for you, please do not get in touch to inform us of any general disruption. If you consider that the impact of circumstances affected you specifically, and was not mitigated by the action taken by the exam boards, you may apply for mitigation in the normal way. Evidence will be expected of individual impact.  

Process for consideration of mitigation by the admissions team  

Mitigation impacting on interview performance 

If you have a circumstance which you feel would impact on performance at interview then please email the admissions team using the contact details provided in your interview invitation correspondence. You should inform us of these circumstances as soon as possible and please note that information received after interview cannot be taken into account.  

Mitigation impacting on studies/exam performance

As indicated above, most of these should be considered by an exam board. You should indicate what steps were taken to inform the exam board of these events and the outcome of that process.  

If your mitigating circumstances have impacted on your previous performance or your predicted grades that has not been considered by the exam board, please contact the admissions team as soon as possible after making your application so that we may take your circumstances into consideration when we assess your application and no later than 4 weeks submitting your application. Information received after this point may not be taken into consideration as shortlisting may have already taken place.  

If circumstances occur during the year of application please submit the form as soon as you know about any circumstances that may affect your final exam performance.  

We will use the information that you provide to help us to determine whether or not your studies and exams have been disrupted and whether this has already been taken into account by another organisation e.g. awarding body. 

What are the possible outcomes if mitigating circumstances are accepted? 

The University reserves the right to make a judgement about whether these circumstances should have been dealt with by prior mitigating processes, and whether it believes it has impacted an applicant’s education as described. Each School has its own policy regarding these. 

If the School of Medicine accepts that your studies, exams or selection activity have been disrupted, then this could result in one of the following: 

  • a resit in these examinations would be accepted 

  • an alternative date of interview could be offered  

  • a further attempt at a selection assessment would be accepted 

If we accept that your studies, exam or selection activity have been disrupted this does not guarantee that we will shortlist you for interview, make you an offer or that we will confirm your place at the University if you do not meet the conditions of your offer. We will not make a lower offer based on the information you provide.  

Supporting information 

Extra information may be required as evidence of your mitigating circumstances and the appendix outlines the types of evidence that should be submitted with your application. If you are applying for consideration of circumstances relating to predicted grades or GCSE exam performance then supporting statement is required from your school, teacher or UCAS advisor. Please ensure they include your name, UCAS PID and the programme you are applying for. Supporting statements should be sent at the same time as the submission of your mitigation. Failure to provide the required evidence within 2 weeks will result in us not being able to consider your mitigating circumstances. Further guidance is provided in the appendix. 

How will my data be handled? 

Please be advised that if you are unsure if your circumstances will be considered, submitting a form will not be detrimental to your application in any way and any information you provide will be treated with sensitivity and thoroughly considered. 

What data will we ask you for? 

In order for us to consider your application for mitigating circumstances, we need to collect some personal data, including:  

  • Your name  
  • Your UCAS personal identification number (PID)  
  • Your admissions test identification number 
  • Details of the reason for your application which may require you to disclose information about health, personal circumstances or other sensitive information  
  • Evidence to support your application  

Disclosure of your data  

Any information you disclose will be treated as confidential. It is your decision what information you disclose, but please note that not having some information may affect our consideration of your application. By disclosing data relating to a third party in order to evidence your mitigating circumstances application you are confirming that you have the consent of the third party to do so.  

Your data may also be disclosed:  

Where permitted under General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and any relevant Data Protection legislation, including to University staff or third parties where there is a need to know to protect your vital interests, or those of another person. 

How will we process your data?  

Your application will be seen by a small number of staff from your parent school for administration purposes. It will also be seen and considered by members of the Admission Committee for the School who will decide on its outcome.  

The decision will be shared with a small number of staff in order to enact the decision and/or to support your studies. We will also collect data anonymously relating to mitigating circumstances to inform the development of University policies. 

How will we store your data?

Data will be stored securely and treated confidentially. Once your application for mitigating circumstances has been concluded, your data will be retained in accordance with the University’s retention schedule  

Legal bases for processing your personal data  

The right to submit mitigating circumstances for consideration forms part of your contract with the University. As outlined in the Student Privacy Notice in order for the University to fulfil its contractual obligation and to pursue it legitimate interests, we must be able to process your personal data in the ways described in this notice.  

Concerns regarding your data  

If you have any concerns with regard to the way your personal data is being processed or have a query with regard to this Notice please contact the School of Medicine Admissions team in the first instance, or the University's Data Protection Officer, Alice Temple at 

Appendix: Guidance on evidence  

Applications for mitigating circumstances will not normally be considered unless they are supported by independent documentary evidence. Applications will not be confirmed until this evidence has been received (applications can be submitted without this evidence, but relevant documents must be submitted within 7 working days of the form where possible and not later than two weeks). Remember, you need to carry out the most appropriate action and cannot choose to complete mitigation with the University instead of this. This may include: 

  • informing the examination board 

  • informing the admissions team prior to a selection activity e.g. interview 

  • informing another organisation who are responsible for delivering an admissions test e.g. Cambridge Assessment 

If, having considered the actions above, it is most appropriate for you to apply for mitigation to the admissions team then please consider the following information. Independent evidence would normally be letter-headed correspondence or email and signed by an appropriate third party, giving details of the circumstances, its dates and/or duration and, where possible, its impact. An appropriate third party would usually be your academic referee or someone who knows you in a professional capacity, or one who can verify the circumstances and who is in a position to provide objective and impartial evidence. Evidence will only be accepted from verifiable addresses/email accounts.  

All evidence must be provided in English. It is your responsibility to provide translations of any non-English documentation, and any documents not in English or without translation will not be accepted as evidence. The translation must be certified as accurate by a Public Notary or translated by an accredited translator.  

Personal information about third parties should not be submitted to the University unless necessary. If your circumstances are connected with someone close to you, what we need to know is the impact on you of their circumstances rather than their details. If third party information is included it must be accompanied by consent for us to process the data.  

The following list aims to provide guidance on the types of evidence that we would normally expect to be provided to support an application for mitigating circumstances. This list should not be considered definitive, the admissions team should will give reasonable consideration to other forms of documentary evidence provided and may request additional evidence to help to clarify a set of circumstances. 

Illness or accident of student requiring medical intervention (short-term) 

Medical certificate signed by appropriately qualified medical practitioner, obtained whilst the illness or incident was affecting you OR Letter from doctor, giving dates affected by illness and containing a medical opinion on how you would have been affected. Medical notes which demonstrate that medical advice and treatment was sought at the time of, or soon after, a bout of illness, will carry more weight than retrospective evidence of illness weeks or months after the fact. 

Illness of another person, usually a close family member (this can be either shortterm or chronic illness) 

Independent evidence to demonstrate the impact on you (this will preferably come from an independent third party (e.g. your doctor or other qualified professional). You will need to make clear why and how your ability to take part in a selection event (for example) was affected. OR Where third party permissions exist and it is necessary to explain the severity of circumstances, medical evidence relating to the illness of the third party (clearly indicating dates of illness). You may be required to provide evidence of your connection to the person who is ill (where that person is not a family member) 


Evidence of bereavement can take several forms, for example:  

 A letter from funeral director or minister conducting the service. 

  An Order of Service showing date, or other relevant documentation. 

  A statement from a doctor or other qualified professional, or academic referee confirming you had disclosed a bereavement.  

A death certificate is also an acceptable form of evidence but is not a requirement. 

Other domestic disruption (family issues, financial or accommodation difficulties, work-related issues (if you are parttime)) 

Statement must provide clear details, including dates which link to the selection event(s) affected. You must also provide evidence of how you were affected. This could include a corroborating statement from professional person, i.e. counsellor, employer, landlord/agent, University staff member (i.e. Academic Personal Tutor, module leader, exam invigilator). 

Absence arising from such things as jury service or maternity, paternity or adoption leave. 

Official correspondence relating to these events. 

Victim of crime 

Crime number (these are usually issued by the police for all reported crimes) For crimes which are of a personal nature, where you find it difficult to report the matter to the police, appropriate evidence can be provided from a medical professional, counsellor or other relevant person 

It is your responsibility to obtain evidence in support of your application. We will not be able to obtain medical, or other, evidence on your behalf.