Deferring Exams

AngeIt’s that time of year again folks, the time where the world seems to be in two minds about everything. Its sunny out and 16 degrees, but by 3pm it’s poured with rain three times and you’re freezing in your short shorts. The birds are out and singing, but so are the mosquitos and the dreaded moths. Consumerism is complained about on television for the holiday season, and yet every store is decked out with silver bells and holly berries.

Students though, I feel like we get the really short end of the stick. We’re excited because its almost summer, and soon we’ll have the three-month freedom of the lecture break! But that means that it’s also end of semester exams and assessments, so who are we kidding, the end is in sight but we just can’t reach it yet… HELP!

It’s a stressful time of year, whether you’re studying for an exam or a test, or shopping for your families Christmas and holiday wish lists on a student wage. Sometimes (and inevitably this will happen occasionally), the stress gets too much, or something goes wrong and for whatever reason (illness, loss of a family member, significant personal issues, etc.) we just can’t do the things we set out to do.

From personal experience, I myself have had to learn the ins and outs of the exam deferral process. It sounds scary, and difficult, but it is almost always easier than we think it is. Here is my rough guide in three steps:

Step One: Talk to your lecturer/tutor.

This should always be your number one step. Your lecturer and tutors have all the information you need to complete an exam deferral, and it’s always best to have them on side. If you suffer any of the above listed issues, you shouldn’t be afraid to request a deferral or some special consideration, or discuss which option is better for you with your tutor. It’s best if this is your chosen path to talk to them as early as possible. Whilst this is the case, it is understandable that some events or situations you can’t plan for, and special consideration and exam deferral can be lodged for consideration in these circumstances within three days of the missed exam.

Step Two: Fill out your forms.

Whilst some of the questions can throw you for a loop, the form for special consideration (which covers exam deferral) is fairly straightforward. You are offered a number of choices for why you are applying, and given sections to fill out personal statements, and those of a medical or health professional if the reason you are deferring requires their expert opinion and signature. If you struggle with the form, there are always people around to assist you. Ask your tutor or lecturer about which options they recommend for you. These forms can be found on the library website (we’ll link you below), or you can get them from your schools office (SEA, Health Sciences, etc.).

Step Three: Lodge your form and wait.

Handing in that form is like taking in a breath of fresh air once your sister has “accidentally” almost drowned you in the family pool. It’s a relief, and though not all applications are accepted a majority are, especially if you have applied for the right reasons. Acceptance is usually delivered within a week, and then its up to you and your lecturer or tutor to discuss alternative exam times or assessments. If you’re deferring your exam, chances are you’ve had one of the unpleasant and unthinkable happen, so once you’ve put in your form sit back, try to relax, and forget about it until you hear back. We can’t always control what happens around us, and it is perfectly okay to know your limitations and when you need to sit down and take a breather, so do it.

Remember, if you’re applying for a deferral you are probably doing so for a very good reason, and your lecturers and tutors are only around to assist and aid you in your journey through university. Don’t stress too much about asking for assistance, its something we all have to do at one point or another, and once you’ve asked you’ll feel much better.

Whilst I can’t offer any advice on your holiday shopping (as mine has never been quickly or easily accomplished either), as a student, and one who has had to defer before, it is a relatively simple process that really does help take the pressure off during difficult circumstances.


NB: Information of the University policy on exam consideration and deferment, including the forms to apply for consideration or exam deferment can be found at this link here.

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