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Alternative exam arrangements

In some circumstances, you may need extra support or alternative exam arrangements, either at Birkbeck or at another exam location. You can request Personalised Exam Provision (PEP), to ensure reasonable adjustments are made to allow you to sit exams. 

Personalised Exam Provision (PEP) for health issues/disability/dyslexia

  • If you need additional support or different arrangements for reasons of health/disability (including dyslexia), please complete the Study Support Plan (SSP) on your My Birkbeck page. 
  • You can request adjustments for examinations, such as 25% extra time, or the use of a computer. 
  • You should submit diagnostic evidence in support of your SSP within one month of completing enrolment, to make sure that your PEP is implemented in time.
  • Application deadlines: PEP deadlines depend on the actual date of your first examination:
    • Exams in December or January: deadline - 1 November
    • Exams in March or early April: deadline - 1 February
    • Exams in late April or May or June: deadline - 1 April
    • Exams in July: deadline - 1 June
    • Exams in August: deadline - 15 July
    • Exams in September: deadline - 1 August
  • Late applications received after the deadline will only be considered from students who suffer sudden illness or are unable to declare their disability in advance and must be received by the Disability and Dyslexia Service / Mental Health Advisory Service no later than 14 calendar days prior to your first examination.
  • Where applications are received after the final deadline, students should apply for mitigating circumstances for a deferral of the exam to the next normal occasion the exam is run.
  • If the requested adjustments are non-standard, your request may be referred to the PEP Panel, which is composed of senior academics and senior administrative staff who will review your request and make sure that any adjustments agreed for you do not affect the academic standards of the assessment. The PEP Panel meets at the end of the autumn term. 
  • Once PEP has been agreed for you, the Examinations Office will be informed and the adjustments will be put in place for the remainder of your time at Birkbeck. If your needs change during your studies, you can adjust your SSP and submit more diagnostic evidence as required. 
  • Students with a declared disability may find that they are not able to complete the standard assessments, even with PEP. Your programme of study may offer alternative forms of assessment. If you believe you may need alternative assessments, please contact your Programme Director or course administrator as soon as possible after the start of the academic year to discuss your options. You may also want to contact the Disability and Dyslexia Service for support with this.
  • If you have non-disability-related issues that may require alternative exam arrangements (eg if you are pregnant or have short-term health issues such as a broken or sprained wrist), please complete the relevant dialogue box provided during the module confirmation process. 
  • Alternatively, with a description of your concerns. We will consider your request and, if necessary, we will phone you to discuss what type of personalised examination provision (PEP) might be appropriate. You may need to provide documentary evidence. 

Religious commitments

  • You can specify date(s) where religious commitments may prevent you from taking an examination. We will do our best, but cannot guarantee, that we will be able to avoid such dates.

Conflicting priorities

  • Please note that we are not able to schedule our examination dates around any events that you are attending such as weddings, holidays or examinations at other institutions. We recommend that you check with your programme administration team for an estimate of the date range for your exams, so you can plan accordingly.

In case of illness or bereavement

Sitting your exams outside Birkbeck

  • If you live within a 100-mile (161 km) radius of London, you will be expected to attend your examinations at Birkbeck. Otherwise, you may choose to sit your exam at a local exam centre.
  • You will need to identify a suitable overseas/other UK examination centre as soon as possible after the exam timetable has been published:
    • The University of London External Programme offers a comprehensive list of institutions both in the UK and internationally that are able to offer this service for University of London students. (Please note that the regulations stated on this page are not applicable to you as a Birkbeck student.) If any of the institutions seems suitable for you, you should contact the institution as soon as possible to let them know that you want to use this facility.
    • Your place of work will not be accepted as a suitable venue unless it is a recognised educational institution and they are able to provide you with independent invigilation. We may seek evidence of the independence of the services that they offer.
    • If none of the institutions is appropriate for you, you should contact local university examinations officers (or equivalent) to see whether they offer this service.
  • Once you have found a centre that can accommodate you, you will need to:
    • Complete the overseas/distance learning request form. The first page of the form must be completed by you, giving details of the examinations you are sitting, and the dates and times. (Please note that examination times may be altered to allow an overlap with the exams being sat in London to avoid compromising the examination papers.)
    • Give the completed request form to the responsible person within the centre, who will authorise the form and send it to us.
  • Once we receive the form, we will send a confirmation email out to all people involved within seven working days.
  • Shortly before your examination(s), you should contact the overseas/other centre to confirm your arrangements (i.e. room numbers, name of building, directions etc).
  • You may need to pay a local examination fee to cover local examination arrangements (this fee will cover the costs of invigilation and the costs for posting the completed exam materials back to Birkbeck). You must make all financial arrangements directly with the institution where you are sitting the exam and not through Birkbeck. The amount you will have to pay can vary greatly. Birkbeck has no jurisdiction over the amount charged.

Deadlines for receipt of your completed distance learning/overseas form

  • There are several deadlines for receipt of your completed form depending on the actual date of your examination:
    • Exams in December or January: deadline - 1 November
    • Exams in March: deadline - 1 February
    • Exams in April or May or June: deadline - 1 April
    • Exams in July: deadline - 1 June
    • Exams in August: deadline - 15 July
    • Exams in September: deadline - 1 August
  • If your form is returned after these dates it will be processed at the discretion of the Examinations and Assessment Office. Please contact us if you find that you are running into any difficulties close to these deadlines.
  • If you are unsure which dates correspond to your studies, please contact your programme administrator and/or the Examinations and Assessment Office.

What to do if you are on a taught course and need to sit your exam outside Birkbeck

  • Students on face-to-face taught courses are usually expected to sit their exams at Birkbeck. However, under certain circumstances, it may be possible for you to sit your exam(s) at an overseas examinations centre - for example, if you are in temporary employment abroad or if you are an overseas student who has returned to your home country but needs to re-sit an examination. If you believe you need to sit your exam outside Birkbeck, you will need to email the Examination and Assessment Office as soon as possible, giving the following details:
    • your full name
    • your student number
    • an explanation of the reason you need to sit your exam(s) at an overseas examinations centre.
  • The Examinations and Assessment Office will consult with your programme director and will inform you if your application has been accepted. Once approval has been given, you will need to follow the procedures listed above for distance learning students (see above). You will also need to pay an additional administration fee of £100 to Birkbeck.