Coronavirus-related FAQs

All exams in January will be undertaken as online assessments.

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 4 January, that is when it will be released to you on Blackboard. The exam timetable will be published in December 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.

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).

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.

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.

If your assessments have been unexpectedly affected by a failure in device functioning or internet connection, you should use the mitigating circumstances procedure to request a deferral for the assessments that you are not able to complete.

If you do not have a suitable digital device at home, you can contact your tutor so that you can be advised on arrangements for accessing equipment from the University.

Please check our Online learning page to see if the software you need is available.

If the software you need is not available, you can use the mitigating circumstances procedure to request a deferral for any assessments that you are not able to complete.

If you are well, you should be able to continue your studies online and submit coursework remotely during this period using resources on Blackboard, if these are appropriate for your course. If you keep up with your studies and submit work on time, this will reduce the risk of overlapping assessments and potential academic progression or completion issues later.

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

For the current academic year (2020/21), the University will accept mitigating circumstances claims for all Coronavirus-related absence without the need for documentary evidence.

You'll need to submit a mitigating circumstances claim (MC claim) in the normal way for each piece of assessment missed. You'll be granted either an extension or a deferral without penalty for any coursework or a deferral for any exams. The length of the coursework extension will be 5 working days. 

If you do submit an MC claim for Coronavirus-related reasons requesting a deferral rather than an extension, you'll need to complete your outstanding assessment(s) during the next available assessment period. If you do not complete your outstanding assessments during the refer/defer period, this may impact your ability to progress or complete your award.

If you're a final year undergraduate student and you defer your assessment, you may not be able to complete your degree this academic year.

If you're a Tier 4 student, there may also be an impact on your continued sponsorship in the UK. Check with the University’s Tier 4 team (at [email protected]) for further advice.

The deadline for submitting mitigating circumstances claims can be found on the Mitigating circumstances page.

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

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.