Special consideration: summer 2022 public examinations

What is special consideration?

Special consideration is given to a candidate who has temporally experienced illness, injury or some other event outside of their control at the time of the assessment. It is applied when the issue or event has had, or is reasonably likely to have had, a material effect on a candidate’s ability to take an assessment or demonstrate their normal level of attainment in an assessment.

There are strict requirements for special consideration:

  1. Special consideration must be applied for at the time of the assessment.
  2. See below for examples of what qualifies for special consideration.
  3. Special consideration cannot be applied to a candidate who has not taken any examinations. A minimum of 25% of the total assessment must have been completed.
  4. When judging whether the request for special consideration is appropriate, the College will consider the extent to which the student’s performance on the assessment may have been affected by an event that was outside of the student’s control at the time of, or immediately before the assessment, such as illness or family bereavement.
  5. Special consideration would be given by the exam board, who would then apply an allowance of additional marks to the affected assessment. The size of the allowance depends on the timing, nature and extent of the illness or misfortune. The maximum allowance given would be 5% of the total raw marks available for the assessment (see examples below).
  6. Special consideration cannot be applied in a cumulative fashion, for example because of a recent trauma at the time of the examination and the candidate suffering from a viral illness. Special consideration would only be applied for the most serious indisposition.
  7. The College must support your application for special consideration and submit it on your behalf. In circumstances where the College feels your request for special consideration fails to meet the criteria, we will be unable to submit a request for special consideration on your behalf.
  8. Although the College must support your application for special consideration, the College does not make the final decision regarding special consideration. It is the responsibility of the relevant exam board to decide if the criteria for special consideration has been met and the allowance to be awarded.
  9. If you feel you meet the criteria for special consideration, you will need to contact the Examinations Manager (

Examples of circumstances that will not qualify for special consideration:

  1. Illness or other difficulties affecting revision
  2. Minor illnesses or minor injuries on the day of the exams (e.g. headache, tummy upset. You are expected to attend your exams even if you feel slightly unwell)
  3. Bereavement occurring more than 6 months before the exam
  4. Moving house
  5. Taking holidays
  6. Lack of personal facilities
  7. Minor disturbance in the examination room caused by another candidate, such as momentary bad behaviour or a phone ringing
  8. Quality of teaching, staff shortages, building work or lack of facilities
  9. Misreading your timetable and failing to attend at the right time
  10. Misreading the instructions of the question paper
  11. Submitting no coursework
  12. Missing all exams (special consideration can only be awarded if you have completed some examinations)

Examples of circumstances that may qualify for special consideration:

5% is the maximum allowance and will be reserved for the most exceptional cases, such as:

  • terminal illness of the candidate;
  • terminal illness of a parent/carer;
  • death of a member of the immediate family within two months of the examination;
  • very serious and disruptive crisis/incident at or near the time of the examination.

4% is for very serious problems such as:

  • life-threatening illness of candidate or member of immediate family;
  • major surgery at or near the time of the examination;
  • severe disease;
  • very recent death of member of extended family;
  • severe or permanent bodily injury occurring at the time of the examination;
  • serious crisis/incident at the time of the examination.
  • NB ‘Very recent’ is defined as within one month of the examination(s) taking place.

3% is a more common category (more cases will fall into this category), including:

  • recent traumatic experience such as death of a close friend or distant relative;
  • recent illness of a more serious nature;
  • flare-up of a severe congenital/medical condition or a psychological condition;
  • broken limbs;
  • organ disease;
  • physical assault trauma before an examination;
  • recent crisis/incident;
  • witnessing a distressing event on the day of the examination involved.
  • NB ‘Recent’ is defined as up to four months prior to the examination(s) taking place.

2% is the most common category of allowance (most cases will fall within this category):

  • illness at the time of the examination;
  • broken limb on the mend;
  • concussion;
  • effects of pregnancy (not pregnancy per se);
  • extreme distress on the day of an examination (not simply exam related stress);

1% is reserved for more minor problems:

  • noise during examination which is more than momentary;
  • illness of another candidate which leads to disruption in the examination room;
  • stress or anxiety for which medication has been prescribed;
  • hay fever on the day of an examination;
  • minor upset arising from administrative problems.

Supplementary guidance on special consideration for June 2022 examination series (relating to COVID-19)

A range of measures is already in place to support candidates taking A-level examinations. These include:

  • Advance information on the focus of exams to help revision
  • Support materials for some exams (e.g., formulae and equation sheets)
  • Changes to coursework and fieldwork requirements
  • Generous grading in comparison to the June 2019 exam series, providing a safety net for candidates.
  • A minimum of 10 days between the first and last exam in each A-level specification. This will reduce the chance of a candidate missing all examinations in a subject because of illness.

Guidance if you are ill on the day of your exam:

  • Candidates with mild symptoms such as a runny nose, headache, tummy upset, sore throat, or slight cough should attend their exam.
  • Candidates who are very unwell and have a high temperature should stay at home and contact the College (
  • It is not recommended that children and young people test for COVID-19 unless directed to by a health professional.
  • If you have a positive COVID-19 test result, you should stay at home for 3 days (if you are aged 18 or under) or 5 days (If you are aged 19 and over) after the day you took the COVID-19 test. If this means you will miss an exam, contact the College (
  • Candidates are expected to complete examinations to receive a grade. You should, wherever possible, attend your scheduled examinations. The College cannot guarantee that you will receive special consideration for any absence, including if you have COVID-19.