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 Deferred examinations

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How to apply for a deferred examination

The information and guidelines set out below enact the University’s rules, policies and procedures relating to deferred examinations:

General Award Rules, Part 1A Assessment, Subdivision 4 – deferred examinations

PPL 3.10.11 Examinations – Procedures 

What is a deferred examination?

The University recognises that on occasion a medical condition or other exceptional circumstances may impair your ability to attend an examination at the scheduled date and time.  Depending on the circumstances, you may be eligible for a deferred examination, and be permitted to sit your mid-semester or end of semester examinations at a later scheduled time.

Note:  Deferred examinations apply only to assessment which takes the form of an examination, whether it be written or oral, quiz or test, theory-based or practical, or online.  It does NOT apply to extensions to due dates for submission of other assessment, such as individual or group assignments, literary reviews or tutorial assignments, wherein an 'Application for Extension' should be submitted.  Please refer to the course profile/s for details on applying for extensions to assessment.

Mid-semester examinations are those which are held during the teaching weeks of semester, either in-class or on Saturdays, and may be written examinations, orals, labs etc.

End of semester examinations are those held during the University’s end of semester examination periods -

  • in June for Semester 1
  • in November for Semester 2, and
  • in February for Summer Semester.

Generally, end of semester examinations will be written examinations, but may also be orals or other practical type examinations.


Permission to sit a deferred examination will only be granted in the event of a certified medical condition or other exceptional and unavoidable circumstances. 

Medical reasons

  • certified medical condition

Medical conditions that present themselves during an examination (for example an epileptic seizure) would be considered under exceptional circumstances only. The onset of the condition must be sudden, unexpected, and debilitating, requiring immediate medical attention. Consideration of these circumstances would require confirmation in a medical certificate dated the date of the examination and which details the following criteria in relation to the medical condition:

  • suddenness of onset of the condition
  • predisposition to the condition
  • seriousness of the symptoms, and
  • impact on your ability to remain and complete the examination.

A medical certificate that simply states that you were unfit to sit the examination will not be sufficient to demonstrate exceptional circumstances in the event that you attend and attempt whole or part of the original examination.

The medical certificate cannot be provided by a near relative or close associate. (Examples of near relatives are partner, child, brother, sister, or parent. Examples of close associates are close friends, neighbours and partners or children of colleagues.) It will remain at the discretion of the treating medical practitioner whether to declare the precise nature of the relevant impairment.

Supporting documentation

All applications for deferred examinations must be accompanied by supporting documentation corroborating the reason for the request. Supporting documentation must be uploaded and attached with your application for a deferred examination. A scanned copy or clear photographic image of the supporting documentation is acceptable, however you must retain the original documentation for a minimum period of six (6) months to provide as verification should you be requested to do so. 

Verification of supporting documents

If your deferred examination is approved, you may be required to submit the original of the supporting documentation that you uploaded with your request, for verification purposes.  Failure to produce the original documentation for verification, within the required timeframe, may result in the approval of your deferred examination being rescinded.

Deferred examination application criteria

Students must give priority to their university study commitments and make themselves available for scheduled examinations.  The University academic calendar is published a minimum of 1 year in advance and students must consult the academic calendar and their course profile prior to making any arrangements which will clash with scheduled examination periods.

Any absence from a scheduled examination must be for circumstances beyond the student’s control.  Deferred examinations are approved only where the granting of a deferred examination rectifies a disadvantage.  Deferred examinations are not approved where the granting of a deferred examination would create an unfair advantage for the applicant.

Students who make five or more applications for deferred examinations within six calendar months will be contacted by the University.

Students with longer-term illnesses that have impacted significantly on their coursework are strongly advised to seek advice from their Faculty/School well in advance of the examination period and prior to submitting deferred examination applications.

Timelines and guidelines for application submission

·        Applications must be submitted within 5 calendar days of the examination.

·        All relevant supporting documentation must be uploaded at the time of submission.

·        Documentation must clearly state that there is a direct date clash with the date of the student's examination/s or in the case of compassionate or bereavement, how it has impacted on the student’s ability to sit the examination on the scheduled date.

·        Documentation not in English must be accompanied by a translated English copy from a registered Nationally Accredited Authority for Translators and Interpreters.

·       Statutory Declarations will only be accepted where there is no alternative formal documentation that can be obtained eg medical certificate, funeral notice, police report, road service report, Jury duty summons.




Examples of acceptable evidence

Typically would not be approved


The medical practitioner must examine the student before the day of the examination or within 2 business days of the exam.

The independent professional assessment and opinion provided of the student’s illness or event must affect the student’s capacity to undertake the assessment concerned on the relevant date.

Elective/non-critical medical appointments eg optical, dental must be made outside of designated examination periods.


Medical certificate from a registered medical practitioner or registered nurse obtained no later than two (2) business days after the date of the original examination OR certifying that due to the nature of the student's condition it was impossible or unsafe for the student to have obtained the certificate earlier. Must have provider number/stamp on certificate.

**NOTE: If a student has multiple examinations on one day, and the student obtains a medical certificate to seek deferral for only one of those examinations; the certificate must specifically address why the student has the capacity to undertake one exam but not the other on that date.

The certificate must cover the day of the examination and be signed by a professional medical practitioner or registered nurse.

Medical Certificate must;

  • be on Medical Centre letterhead
  • contain Practioner's Provider Number
  • contain Practitioner's Provider stamp
  • be free of handwritten amendments

Documents stating only information provided by the student, will not normally be accepted.

A Student Access Plan (Disability) is not acceptable supporting documentation for a deferred examination.


The recent death of a family member or close friend.

Death Certificate or Funeral Notice and where the relationship between the student and the deceased is not obvious, evidence of the relationship in the form of statutory declaration, birth certificate etc.

The death or ill health of pets is not regarded as grounds for a deferred examination.




Examples of acceptable evidence

Typically would not be approved


Causes that prevent a student from attending an examination include extenuating circumstances beyond a student’s control that could not have been reasonably anticipated, avoided, or guarded against such as:


  • The illness/death of a family member;
  • Trauma;
  • Misadventure;
  • Being a victim of crime.

Statement from medical practitioner confirming medical status of patient, relationship to student, and relevant dates.

If student is a caregiver, the medical certificate must state the period that the student is required to provide care for the patient.

Statement from regulatory authority eg Police, attesting to the trauma, misadventure or victim of crime.

The following are not considered grounds for a deferred examination:

  • financial support needs
  • demands of employment or travel related to employment
  • scheduled anticipated changes of address/moving home
  • reasonably anticipated usual family commitments
  • tension with or between parents, spouses and other persons closely involved with the student.





Sporting events must be at state, national or international level.

Student must hold approved UQ Elite Athlete status.


A letter on state, national or international sporting letterhead confirming the event and dates of the sporting activity.


The nature of the commitment, eg training, travel etc. and the impact on examinations must be provided.


Applications based on sporting events not of a state, national or international sporting level.

Holiday travel associated with Elite Athlete commitments.


A student who is operating at the highest level in their field as a contracted artist or performer.


A letter on official letterhead confirming the dates of the event and the impact on examinations.


For example, student is a member of:

  • Actors Equity Australia
  • Australian Dance Council or Theatre
  • Australian Chamber Orchestra
  • The Symphony Australia Orchestras
  • Australian Youth Orchestra
  • Opera Australia

Lower level performances or artistic events, attendance at performances or activities.




Examples of acceptable evidence

Typically would not be approved


Students must advise of and seek permission from employers for their study and examination commitments at the beginning of the semester.

A letter on company letterhead from the employer confirming the unforeseen and extraordinary work commitments.

The letter must detail the date on which the student was notified of the commitment, the unexpected nature of the commitment, and how this commitment will impact the examinations.

Usual demands of employment in themselves or as a consequence of promotion, including periods of pressure and being absent temporarily from one’s normal place of residence are not grounds for a deferred examination.

Irregular casual work, increased work commitments and conference attendance during examination periods are not normally considered a justification.

Email relating to work from a colleague will not be accepted.


Attendance at a wedding is not generally considered as a reason to grant a deferred examination.

However being an integral or important member of the wedding party may be considered as extenuating circumstances.

A copy of the wedding invitation must be provided to support that the attendance of the student is required at the wedding and clear evidence of participation in the wedding party and/or immediate family is required.

Returning home or pre-arranged holiday or other travel and/or accommodation which conflict with the examination timetable will not be accepted.

Additional holidays included within the wedding arrangements will not be upheld.

Invitation as a guest at a wedding is not grounds for a deferred examination.


For consideration of rendering any service (including undertaking training) to military or service to emergency services such as the Country Fire Authority.

A statement on letterhead signed by an authorised officer of the appropriate organization, detailing the nature of the service rendered, the start and finish dates of training or activity.



Where the student is too late to attend their examination due to a weather event, traffic accident or public transport (eg bus, train) event that caused delay.

Submission detailing the event from the relevant website detailing the issues, date and time of the occurrence in support of their application.


Students must avoid making travel bookings where there is any chance that a delay will compromise attendance on the scheduled date of their examination. Delayed flight/arrival of a few hours is not grounds for a deferred examination.


For consideration where the vehicle accident has delayed or prevented the student attending the examination.

Police Report and/or other supporting documentation eg traffic report, receipt from towing company detailing date, time and location of accident.



For consideration where the breakdown has delayed or prevented the student attending the examination.

Report from an automotive road service (eg RACQ) or from an authorised vehicle repairer detailing the time and location of the breakdown.





Examples of acceptable evidence

Typically would not be approved


For consideration where the student has been summoned for Jury Duty.

A copy of the summons for jury duty detailing the start and finish dates of the jury duty service.




Misreading or misunderstanding the published examination timetable



Examination Timetable




Not arriving at the examination venue within the prescribed timeframe.

Attempting part of an examination


Permitted Examination Materials


Study Time



Misreading, misunderstanding the published examination timetable or poor planning resulting in late arrival for the examination or attending on the wrong day.


Examination frequency ie two examinations in the same day, examinations on successive days or an inconvenient or onerous examination timetable.


Not being in possession of an ID card.


Attempting whole or part of an examination, unless exceptional circumstances stated in policy apply.


For not being in possession of permitted materials eg University of Queensland approved calculator.


Unexpected event causing loss of a few hours of study time close to the examination eg minor accident. Difficulties adjusting to University academic life or to the self-discipline to study effectively, stress or anxiety normally associated with examinations, assessment tasks or course work, difficulties with the English language or difficulties with visa arrangements. 


Commitments directly related to or beneficial to the student’s UQ studies, such as research trips or University exchange programs.

Confirmation letter from the relevant staff member detailing the event and its benefit to the student’s studies.





(Mid semester only)

Commitments closely related to and substantially beneficial to the student’s life at UQ.

Confirmation letter from the relevant staff member detailing the event and its benefit to the student’s studies.

Applications will be considered ad hoc and in context.

Events of a purely social nature, events of minor benefit.

Does not apply to end of semester examinations where dates are advised a year in advance.


How to apply for a deferred examination

All applications for deferred examinations must be submitted online through mySI-net > myRequests no later than five (5) calendar days after the date of the original examination.  Click here


When would the deferred examination be held?

You must be available to sit the deferred examination at the scheduled date and time.  There are no provisions to sit deferred examinations earlier than scheduled, or for further deferral of a deferred examination.  The deferred examination will be the final opportunity for you to sit the examination.  Should you fail to sit your deferred examination, you will be awarded zero marks for the examination.

Deferred mid-semester examinations are held in the period nominated by the School for the holding of mid-semester deferred examinations.  The deferred mid-semester examination would usually be in the same format as the original mid-semester examination, but in some circumstances may take the form of an oral examination.  If you are approved a deferred examination, the School will notify you of the scheduled date and time of the examination.

Deferred end of semester examinations are held during the University’s deferred examination periods –

·    in July* for Semester 1 examinations, during the week prior to commencement of Semester 2,

·    in December for Semester 2 examinations, and

·    in March for Summer Semester examinations.

* If you are an internally enrolled student sitting a deferred examination for end of Semester 1 examinations, you should ensure any travel arrangements enable you to sit your examination on-campus.

You will receive notification of the scheduled date and time for the deferred end of semester examination on finalisation and publication of the timetable.

If you are approved for a deferred end of semester examination, you will not be eligible to graduate at the forthcoming graduation ceremonies.


Off-campus examination arrangements

If you are eligible and wish to be considered for off-campus examination arrangements for approved end of semester deferred examinations, you must submit your application at the same time as your request for the deferred examination.  Approval for off-campus arrangements will be subject to the outcome of your application for the deferred examination.

Please note that off-campus arrangements are available to students enrolled externally, and are only available to internally enrolled students under certain circumstances, and not for Semester 1 if returning to study at UQ in Semester 2.

Please refer to Off-campus examinations for further information.


Results for deferred examinations

For results of your deferred mid-semester examination, please contact the relevant School.  Results should be available within 7 – 10 days of the examination date.  Results for deferred end of semester examinations are finalised for:

·         Semester 1 deferred examinations, within ten (10) calendar days of the examination date

·         Semester 2 deferred examinations, within twenty-one (21) calendar days of the examination date

·         Summer Semester deferred examinations, within ten (10) calendar days of the examination date

Your result for your deferred end of semester examination will be combined with the marks for your other completed assessment to determine a final grade for the course.  The final grade will be entered on mySI-net by the appropriate faculty and will be reflected on your studies report.

Important Note:  If you are applying through QTAC for a program at any institution, please note that results are sent automatically to QTAC only once, immediately after the official release of results.

Therefore, you must let QTAC know you have been granted a deferred examination, and advise them again when you receive your final grade so it can be taken into consideration for your QTAC application.

Results are graded from one to seven. For details of the grades and their descriptors, see the UQ Grading System policy in the UQ Policy and Procedures Library.