Coronavirus-related FAQs

All exams this summer will be undertaken as online assessments.

The assessment may take the form of the exam paper as already written or, where the existing exam paper is not amenable to being undertaken online, it may be an alternative assessment designed by your module team specifically for this purpose.

In exceptional circumstances, where it is not possible to assess the learning outcomes for the module by means of an online assessment, your exam will be deferred until such a time as it is possible to undertake the assessment. If that is the case, you will be contacted by your Module Leader via Blackboard.

The online assessment will be released to students via Blackboard at the time and date that the exam is scheduled on the exam timetable. For example, if your exam is scheduled for 10am on 28 April, that is when it will be released to you on Blackboard. The exam timetable will be published on Thursday 26 March on the Student Hub.

For most modules, you will have 24 hours in which to complete and upload your work, using the Blackboard submission link. For some modules, where the nature of the assessment requires it, you will have less than 24 hours in which to complete and submit your work. Full details will be provided to you by your Module Leader. You should note that your exam is not expected to take longer to complete than the originally planned time (2 or 3hrs for example). The 24 hours provides a window of time for you to complete and upload as required.

Your Module Leader will be available on Blackboard during the first hour of the online exam in order to answer any questions you might have, and will check in periodically throughout the submission period to address any other issues that have been raised.

How to open and submit your online timed assessments on Blackboard

There are three main steps that you need to follow:

Step 1:

Login to Blackboard and go to the relevant Blackboard module site where you will find a dedicated menu area for the Timed Assessment for that module.

Step 2:

Inside this area, you will find the online timed assessment paper which includes the questions and any instructions. This will become available to you at the time that the online timed assessment is set to start and remain available for 24-hours. Some online timed assessments will need to be completed in less than 24 hours, your Module Leader will confirm if this applies to your assessment.

You can download the online timed assessment paper to open it offline on your computer.

Please remember, however, that you can remain online and use the Discussion Board with the Timed Assessment area in the Blackboard site if you have any queries for the module leader relevant to the assessment.

Step 3:

In the Timed Assessment area of the Blackboard site you will also find an assignment submission link. This will be available to you for 24-hours from the time that the online timed assessment starts. Some online timed assessments will need to be completed in less than 24 hours, your module leader will confirm if this applies to your assessment.

To submit your response to the assessment, login to Blackboard and go back to the Blackboard site for the module and click to enter the Timed Assessment area in the site. Click on the submission link and follow the instructions you will see on-screen to submit your exam.

You must submit within the 24-hour period given to you (or alternative time period allowed as advised by your module leader). Please ensure you follow all the steps to get a digital receipt of your submission. Only one attempt at this assessment will be graded. However, if you accidentally attach the wrong file, you have one further opportunity to submit the correct file before the deadline. Only the last file submitted will be accepted for grading and you cannot amend the file after the deadline has passed.

We advise that you use either Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox browsers to submit your work. Please avoid using the Safari browser or Microsoft Edge.

Further detailed guidance:

You can also download a PDF version of this guidance with diagrams:
How to open and submit your online timed assessments on Blackboard (PDF)

How do I find my online timed assessments on Blackboard?

Your exam will be available on your module Blackboard site accessible via the ‘Timed Assessment’ link in the left hand navigation panel of the module’s Blackboard site.

What if I’m ill/caring for someone?

If you are unwell or unable complete an academic assessment as a result of following advice that you must self-isolate, stay at home or caring for someone, you should use the mitigating circumstances procedure.

What if I have a disability and concerned about my upcoming timed assessment?

If you have a disability and are registered with the Disability and Learning Support Team and have concerns about your upcoming timed assessment, please get in touch with DLS: [email protected]. Further information can be found on the Disability Learning Support page.

Do I have to complete it online, or can I upload files?

You should upload your submission in a Microsoft Word format (unless otherwise advised by the module leader) using the assignment submission link in the Timed Assessment area of the relevant Blackboard site. Your module leader will provide specific instructions if you have to embed pictures or diagrams.

What if I don’t understand what I have to do? Where do I get help?

Your Module Leader will be available via the Discussion Board in the Timed Assessment area of the relevant Blackboard site during the first hour of the timed assessment period to answer any queries you may have about the examination. Staff will also check the discussion board at periodic intervals during the 24-hour period in order to support students in different time zones.

What if I can’t get online, or if my connection drops?

You should use the mitigating circumstances procedure to request a deferral for the assessments that you are not able to complete.

How long should I take? – I can’t spend 24 hours!

Your module leader will provide information on the amount of time you should spend on the examination within the 24-hour window. You should however not leave submitting your answers until the very last minute. We recommend that you start the submission process at least one hour before the end of the 24-hour period.

Can I write as much as I want?

Your module leader will provide an indicative word count for each question to give you a guide on how much you should be writing.

Will you check for plagiarism?

Yes, plagiarism detection software will be in use. As you will have access to resources to complete your assessment any content you use from external source materials will need to be referenced correctly. Whenever you directly quote, paraphrase, or summarise someone else’s ideas, you have a responsibility to give due credit to that person for their work. Support can be found on the Referencing your work page.

Where the University believes that academic misconduct has taken place the University will investigate the case and apply academic penalties as published in Section 10 Academic Misconduct regulations.

Can I work with others to complete the exam?

This is an individual piece of work so do not collude with others on your answers as this is an academic offence.

Where the University believes that academic misconduct has taken place the University will investigate the case and apply academic penalties as published in Section 10 Academic Misconduct regulations.

Can I submit my work after the deadline?

Work submitted after the deadline will not be marked and will automatically be given a mark of zero.

Check our Supporting student progression and achievement page for full details of these measures.

Practical assessments that cannot be submitted online will usually be modified to an alternative assessment that can be undertaken online. Alternatively, where this is not possible, the assessment will be deferred until such a time as it is possible to undertake the assessment.

Presentations can be undertaken using Blackboard Collaborate. Alternatively, you may be asked to record your presentation using Panopto, and to submit the recording to Blackboard.

Group presentations will usually be modified to make them individual presentations.

Your Module Leader will keep you fully informed about the arrangements for your assessment.

Because all assessment will be undertaken online, you will be able to complete your assessment anywhere in the world, provided that you have access to a reliable internet connection.

As, in most cases, you will have a 24-hour window in which to complete and submit your online exam, it will not matter in which time zone you are undertaking the assessment.

Check our Supporting student progression and achievement page for full details of these measures.

If you are unable to complete your assessment, you should submit a mitigating circumstances claim, and request either an extension (available for coursework only) or a deferral (available for both coursework and exams).

Note that, for the duration of these exceptional times, you will not need to provide documentary evidence to support your request for any Coronavirus-related absence.

If you are normally entitled to additional time in an exam, this additional time is already accounted for within those online assessments which have a 24-hour submission window – no further time will be allowed or required.

If your exam is a much shorter time-limited assessment, your Module Leader will advise on these arrangements. However, please be reassured that you will not be disadvantaged.

If you would expect to have a scribe/amanuensis, the Disability Learning Services (DLS) team is currently working with the Learning Innovation team to ensure that appropriate assistive technology is available to support you in undertaking your assessments. The DLS team will be in touch with you about this in due course.

Yes, if you are a continuing student you will be able come back next year.

However, you should note that if you do not complete outstanding assessments by the end of the deferral period, you may not be eligible to progress to the next year of your course, as you may not have accumulated sufficient credits. In this case you will come back next year in order to complete any outstanding assessments (either with or without attendance, in accordance with the academic regulations).

The University recognises the potential adverse impact the current situation, arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, may have on our students’ assessment performance.  We have implemented a number of measures to ensure that, as a University of Westminster student, you will not suffer any unfair disadvantage as a result of the pandemic. We have worked closely with your Students’ Union (UWSU) in developing these measures.

Check our Supporting student progression and achievement page for full details of these measures.

The graduation ceremony scheduled for 22 April at Marylebone Parish Church has been cancelled. Graduands who were expecting to attend this ceremony have already been contacted and will be invited to attend the next ceremony.

The University of Westminster has taken the very difficult decision to postpone our July 2020 graduation ceremonies. This is a celebratory event of huge importance to our community, and it is a decision we make with a heavy heart. However, we feel this is the right decision given the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. The health and wellbeing of our students, staff and guests has to be paramount and we feel it is better to make this decision now and provide those affected with certainty, particularly given the travel and other arrangements that attendees would need to make.

We realise this will be disappointing to those of you who were looking forward to celebrating your achievements in the summer, however we intend to reschedule the ceremonies when it is safe and appropriate to do so. Those eligible will be notified once new dates have been arranged.

Please be assured that this postponement does not affect the time frame for the completion of your studies.

Degree certificates will be sent out by post. If this is not possible due to the continuation of lockdown restrictions, we will find an alternative method to confirm your award to you.

Further updates will also be available on our Graduation webpage.

Check our Supporting student progression and achievement page for full details of these measures.

Your Module Leader is responsible for keeping you informed, via Blackboard and/or email, of all the specific arrangements for your module assessments. Your Module Leader will be in regular contact with you.

If you are unclear about any aspect of the arrangements, you should contact your Module Leader in the first instance.

If your Module Leader is unavailable (for example, due to illness), then please contact your Course Leader.

The University has thought very carefully about how it can ensure students do not suffer any detriment to their studies while ensuring that the awards we make are still of the standards expected in the UK. We also want to ensure that our assessment decisions are fair and transparent to all students. We have moved our exams to online assessments and given you, in most cases, 24 hours to complete them. We have amended our mitigating circumstances requirements to allow you to request an extension or deferral for coursework or a deferral for online assessments. We have listened to your feedback and the extension period has been extended from 5 working days to 10 working days during the main assessment period.

We have also introduced some temporary regulations for undergraduate students to enable you to progress and complete your studies without any detriment. Temporarily, you will be able to progress having passed 80 credits (instead of 100); and we have also extended the amount of credit we will condone at levels 3 and 4 and allowed condonement at level 5. If your course has professional accreditation you may not benefit from these arrangements, this will be confirmed by your Course Leader.

We have also enabled you to get the degree you deserve by using the best 200 credits to decide your class of degree (instead of the best 220) during the 2019/20 academic year.

Check our Supporting student progression and achievement page for full details of our approach to ensuring that no student suffers unfair disadvantage as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

We have temporarily amended the way in which we calculate your degree classification. We will now use the best 200 credits across levels 5 and 6 to calculate your indicator score. Your indicator score will be rounded to the nearest whole number to obtain your classification:

Indicator score Classification
70-100 1st class Honours (1)
60-69 2nd Class Honours Upper Division (2:i)
50-59 2nd Class Honours Lower Division (2:ii)
40-49 3rd Class Honours (3)

Check our Supporting student progression and achievement page for full details of these measures.

For all undergraduate degrees, we have temporarily amended our regulations to allow you to progress to the next level of your studies if you pass 80 credits. This would mean you would need to take 160 credits during the next academic year.

Check our Supporting student progression and achievement page for full details of these measures.

Condonement allows you to gain credit for a module when you haven’t passed it. You still need to have achieved an overall module mark of at least 30. We have temporarily increased the maximum amount of credit that can be condoned from 40 to 60 credits (eg three 20 credit modules) at levels 3 and 4, and from 0 to 20 credits (ie one 20 credit module) at level 5.

If you do not pass the module the first time you will need to attempt your assessments again during the reassessment period. If you have not passed the module(s) by the end of the reassessment period but have an overall module mark of at least 30 we will give you a condoned pass and you will be able to progress to the next level of study.

Check our Supporting student progression and achievement page for full details of these measures.

We are proud that so many of our courses are accredited by professional bodies that enable our graduates to have the professional recognition to proceed in their chosen careers. To enable to give this recognition, many professional bodies have strict rules about what you need to have passed or completed to enable you to demonstrate your competence in the subject.

Unfortunately, these rules may mean that you need to pass every module or can only take a set number of credits every year. This means your course will not be able to use our temporary regulations and the existing regulations will apply to your studies.

Your Course Leader will confirm if this applies to your course.

One of our key concerns in considering the actions we would take to ensure that you do not suffer any detriment during this period is that we maintain the standard of your award. Moving to 24-hour online assessments allows you to access reference material while completing the assessment. You must therefore ensure you properly reference your work and do not work with others to complete it. Your work will be submitted through plagiarism detection software and the University will take action in line with its academic misconduct policy if required.

Another way we are ensuring that the work you complete during the online assessments is your own is that we have taken the decision to suspend anonymous marking of these assessments. If your course team do not think that you have produced the work yourself, they may ask you to undertake a viva to help them to assess the provenance of the work.

If you have questions about anything to do with your teaching or assessment, then in the first instance you should contact your Module Leader. If your Module Leader is unavailable (for example, due to illness), then please contact your Course Leader.

If you have questions concerning any other aspect of the University’s services, then please consult the Student Hub in the first instance. If the answer you need is not there, you will find details of how to contact the relevant service team.

Note that although all University colleagues are currently working remotely, all services are operational and someone will get back to you as normal.

It is very important that you keep in contact with the University during this period.

Please ensure that you regularly check:

  • your University email account
  • your course and module Blackboard sites
  • the University webpages – updated information will be published to the Student Hub
  • The University’s Coronavirus Response page

As we have listened to your feedback and increased the amount of time for which you can have an extension during the main assessment period, this means your course teams need a little longer to complete marking and ensure all your marks are ready to be considered by the Assessment Boards. This means that your results will be released a little later than we have previously advised.

Results will now be released on 3 July 2020.

As a consequence of the changes to deadlines to the main assessment period, we have moved the reassessment (refer/defer) period to later in the year. 

Refer/defer results will now be released on 19 August 2020.

The University has carefully considered its regulations to postgraduate students and, to provide parity with undergraduate students, we will be making amendments to how we classify your award. You will still need to pass every module but we will drop your worst 20-credit module from the classification calculation.  

Postgraduate students can also apply for mitigating circumstances if you have been impacted in any way by COVID-19.

General FAQs

There are three main University exam periods each academic year:

  • January: Semester One exams
  • May: Semester Two exams
  • July: referral/deferral exams

Exam timetables and their publication dates are provided on our Exam timetables page.

Exams are held Monday-Friday and there are no exams on weekends or on public holidays.

Exams normally start as follows, but check your exam timetable carefully in case of changes:

  • Monday-Thursday: 10am, 2pm and 6pm
  • Friday: 10am and 2pm

Note that you may have an exam scheduled in any of the available slots, including the evening, even if you only study during the day.

Information about exam clashes is provided on our Exam clashes page.

You may be able to apply for individual exam arrangements.

If you’ve had an accident that may affect your ability to sit exams, check our Individual exam arrangements for temporary conditions page for details of what to do next.

If you feel you're too ill to sit the exam, you should follow the mitigating circumstances procedure.

If you feel that you're able to sit the exam, you may do so, but please note that the University operates a ‘fit to sit’ policy, which means that if you attend the exam, you have deemed yourself fit to do so and are not eligible to submit a mitigating circumstances claim for that assessment.

Because of the large number of exams that need to be scheduled in a short timeframe, sometimes students will have two exams in one day. You wouldn't normally be expected to sit any more than two exams in one day.

Sometimes it's impossible to avoid students having exams on consecutive days, because of the number of exams that need to be scheduled in a short timeframe.