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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

Unavoidable Circumstances

  • for a sporting or cultural commitment at state, national or international level
  • for serious personal or emotional trauma
  • in very exceptional circumstances, for example, an important planned family or social commitment or unavoidable work commitment.

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.

As a general rule, neither pressures of work or university studies, nor other avoidable events or commitments, are sufficient reasons for deferring an examination.  If the Associate Dean Academic or Head of School is not satisfied that you took reasonable steps to avoid missing your examination, you will not be granted a deferred examination.  Deferred examinations are not granted:

  • for pre-arranged holidays, including overseas travel
  • if you misread your exam timetable
  • for social and leisure events, including sporting and cultural commitments other than at state, national or international representative level
  • for not having a University approved calculator
  • if you have attempted whole or part of the original examination.

Supporting documentation

All applications for deferred examinations must be accompanied by supporting documentation corroborating the reason for the request.  Examples of the type of supporting documentation are set out in the table below.  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.  (See below - Verification of supporting documents

If you are sick, you must obtain a medical certificate and submit this with your application for a deferred examination.  The medical certificate must:

  • be signed by a registered medical practitioner or registered nurse (including contact details, provider number and clinic stamp)
  • state that you were unfit to sit the examination on the relevant day, and
  • be dated no later than two (2) business days after the date of the examination

In addition, 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.

A 'medical practitioner' means a person in the medical profession who is registered under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act.  Acceptance of medical certificates provided by non-registered medical practitioners (for example, pharmacists, dentists, chiropractors) will require the approval of the Academic Registrar.  Click here to check whether a practitioner is registered. 


Examples of Supporting Documentation


Accident, not involving medical injury

Police report, statutory declaration.


Registered Elite Athlete Sporting Event

Letter from sporting body confirming selection and setting out dates of sporting commitments; itinerary.


Death / bereavement

Death notice, funeral notice, and evidence of relationship.  Where appropriate, confirmation of relationship is required (eg. statutory declaration, birth certificate).  NB: A medical certificate is not appropriate if applying on compassionate grounds rather than medical grounds.


Serious illness of a family member or close relative

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


Medical grounds

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.


Significant personal problems

Statement from counsellor / psychiatrist / psychologist detailing impact on patient; protection orders.


Significant family or social commitment

Wedding invitation, evidence of relationship (eg. statutory declaration)


Other – Please describe

Statutory declaration, or other appropriate evidence.


Unavoidable work commitments

Letter from employer confirming unavoidable work commitments and relevant dates of commitment.

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.  If required to do so, you will receive email notification to your student email address at the time your request is approved.  The original documentation must be submitted to the Student Centre within fourteen (14) calendar days from the date of the email, together with a printout of the Request Summary for that specific request.  Failure to produce the original documentation for verification, within the required timeframe, may result in the approval of your deferred examination being rescinded.

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 for more information on how to request a deferred examination and view the status of your request. 

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.

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 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. 

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 exam 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.