IMCs for Postgraduate Taught Masters


Follow this guide when something unexpected has affected your ability to perform in an exam or assessment. 

This is a summary of the University information on the Individual Mitigating Circumstances (IMC) process; we recommend using this guide to understand the basics and following these links to the University IMC guide and Individual Mitigating Circumstances and Assessment Principles and Procedures for the finer details.

There are two parts to the IMC process. In the first part, you submit an IMC request at the time of your assessment. In the second part, you receive the outcome when you receive your results on SAMIS. 

You can ask us for advice at any time by emailing suadvice@bath.ac.uk.

Step 1. Check what Individual Mitigating Circumstances can achieve

You don't need to fail to have an IMC accepted.

Regardless of whether you pass or fail, an IMC won’t change the mark you receive or allow you to retake an assessment you have passed to get a higher mark. Instead, it shows the Department there was a reason why your mark may be lower than usual and is considered when the Department decides if you:

  1. Need to retake an assessment
  2. Can progress to the next stage of your programme
  3. Can complete your course
  4. Can be awarded a different degree classification.

These are known as assessment, progression and classification decisions.

Step 2. Check if you need an IMC or an extension 

IMCs are usually used when something unexpected happens close to an exam or another timed assessment. If something is impacting your performance in a piece of coursework, extended project or dissertation, it might be more appropriate to request an extension rather than an IMC. If you receive an extension, you can still request an IMC for the same assessment later on.  IMC claims can be requested in both the main (January and May) and supplementary (August) exam periods.
 

Step 3. Confirm how long the situation has been impacting you

IMCs are usually only accepted for unexpected situations that happen suddenly and are unpredictable (e.g. the death of a relative or a sudden deterioration in your health). If a long-term physical or mental health issue affects your assessment, you must explain how a sudden worsening of your issue impacted your exam (e.g. you experienced an unexpected flare up of a chronic health condition).
 
When a technical problem unexpectedly prevents you from submitting an online exam (e.g. your internet provider goes down half-way through your exam) the late submission process is usually more appropriate. This link takes you to more information about the late submission process.

Step 4. Confirm the reason for your IMC claim

 Your reason must be at least one of the following:

  1. Something unexpected and significant has happened or is happening to you.
  2. Something unexpected and significant has happened or is happening to someone else in your life which is impacting on you.
  3. A significant event outside of your control.

You can ask an SU Advisor or your Director of Studies whether your situation is likely to be accepted as an IMC.

IMCs are usually accepted for: IMCs are not usually accepted for:

A sudden and unexpected situation which impacts your performance.

For example, a:

  1. Health condition which is first experienced, diagnosed or unexpectedly become much worse at assessment time.
  2. Significant physical accident, injury or illness (including to a friend or family member)
  3. Accommodation, financial or immigration crisis
  4. Unexpected and lengthy technical or internet connection issues during an online exam
  5. Experiencing bullying, harassment, assault or a crime
  6. Placement-related event that can’t be rescheduled
  7. Natural disaster or political conflict
  8. Unavoidable and unreasonable time difference between your location and the start time of a fixed exam.
  9. Unplanned circumstances during pregnancy or other caring responsibilities.
  10. Unexpected change in Government travel restrictions due to COVID.

On-going or longer-term issues.

For example, financial difficulties.

Normal life events, for example:

  1. A minor illness
  2. Normal levels of anxiety about exams
  3. Booking a holiday.

Mistakes which could have been avoided, for example:

  1. Not checking your location has a reliable internet connection
  2. Not being aware of your exam dates
  3. Having assessments close together
  4. Submitting the wrong document in an online exam.

 

If an IMC isn't appropriate for your circumstances, alternative options might include:

  1. Speaking to a University Disability Advisor to agree a Disability Action Plan or special assessment arrangements with your Director of Studies.
  2. Speaking to a University Money Advisor to access support for on-going financial challenges.
  3. Temporarily suspending studies and postponing assessments to the next assessment period after speaking to your Personal Tutor and Director of Studies.
  4. An SU Advisor can explain these options to you and give independent advice on your situation.

Step 5. Talk to your Director of Studies

 If you haven’t already spoken to your Director of Studies (DoS) now is a good time to let them know something has happened and you are considering submitting an IMC, especially if this is before the assessment period has started. Your DoS may be able to offer some immediate support.
This link will help you find the name of a Director of Studies.

Step 6. Check the deadline to submit your IMC claim

 You should submit your IMC claim as soon as possible after the assessment takes place; the final deadlines are explained below. There are some circumstances when you can submit an IMC claim in advance (e.g. to attend a funeral or to receive medical care). If this applies to you, please ask your Director of Studies when to submit your IMC claim.

The final deadline depends on whether your IMC applies to one or more assessments:

• For one assessment: your IMC claim is due 3 working days (excluding weekends) after the assessment deadline.

• For more than one assessment in an assessment period (e.g. January exams): your IMC claim is due 3 working days (excluding weekends) after the end of the formal assessment period. In January 2023, the deadline for IMCs for multiple assessments is Wednesday 1st February.

These deadlines are the same for exams in the main examination period (January and May) and supplementary period (August).

Step 7. Find the right IMC form

 Depending on your Department, you either need to download a template Word document or complete an electronic form. Follow this link to find the right IMC form. If your Department is using an electronic form, you can preview all the pages by writing ‘test’ in the boxes (just don’t submit the form!). The statement page should look something like this:

Step 8. Draft and get advice on your IMC statement

 On a copy of the IMC form or a separate document start to clearly describe your situation and the impact this has had on your assessment. It’s important to explain the impact on your assessment, rather than the impact on you personally.

"“The key is to explain exactly how the exam was affected - actually on the day whilst doing the exam. This isn’t always obvious, but we can ask the questions to help you articulate the impact on your exam.”
Advice from Donna, SU Advisor

For example, if a close relative has passed away before your exam, your statement needs to explain how their illness and death impacted your ability to focus and prepare for the exam, and how this reduced your academic performance in the exam itself. Or, if your mental health has unexpectedly deteriorated while preparing for an assessment, you should explain how the impact of this (e.g. a lack of sleep, increased anxiety) made it difficult to focus and think clearly, and how this reduced your performance in the assessment.

Start by explaining:

  1. When the situation occurred
  2. How the situation was unexpected, unplanned or out of your control
  3. How the situation impacted your performance in an assessment.

You can ask an SU Advisor to read a draft of your statement for advice on the structure, content and the types of evidence you might include.

"“I often ask students what their revision timetable would have looked like and how issues have practically taken away time form this - sometimes even to the point of totalling up the hours.”
Advice from Sonja, SU Advisor

"“With bereavement, I usually ask for examples if someone has been involved in arranging a funeral or travelling far to one, especially for international students, where there may be many more expectations due to traditions around death.”
Advice from Liz, SU Advisor

Step 9. Collect your evidence

 Your evidence needs to show what happened and when. Examples might include a copy of:
  1. A conversation with staff (e.g. from your Department, Student Support or SU Advice)
  2. Your Disability Action Plan
  3. A conversation or document from an external professional service (e.g. the NHS or Police)
  4. Official documentation (e.g. a medical or death certificate)
  5. A conversation with family or friends when the situation happened
  6. A Support and Report submission (if you experienced harassment, bullying or assault)
  7. A positive COVID test and evidence of rescheduling a flight.
It’s helpful if you number your evidence as separate documents (e.g. Document 1, 2, 3 etc) and refer to each document by number in your statement. For example, “Two weeks before my exam took place, I unexpectedly received a letter from the hospital informing me my operation could take place three days before my exam (see Document 1).”

 

Step 10. Submit your IMC claim

Submit your IMC according to the instructions in your programme handbook. You can ask your Director of Studies, Personal Tutor or Department Administration Team for help if the instructions are unclear. If you’re in the School of Management, the Student Experience Officers can also help you submit your IMC.

If the content of your IMC is very sensitive, you can ask for your information to be limited to a small number of staff involved in the IMC process. These are your Programme Administrator, Director of Studies, Chair of the Board of Examiners for Programmes and the External Examiners. By asking for extra confidentiality, the Chair should restrict the personal information which is shared with other staff on the Board of Examiners for Programmes (these are the staff who decide what your accepted IMC means for your assessment and progression).

Your request will be considered by an IMC Panel and the Board of Examiners for Programmes who meet after the assessment period (usually in February and June).

 

 

Step 11. Prepare for the outcome

If your IMC is accepted by an IMC Panel, this will be indicated by an ‘M’ next to your unit when your results are published on SAMIS. For PGT programmes, results are usually published in February and August (for the main exams) and September (for supplementary exams, i.e. retakes).

If your IMC claim is rejected, you can’t directly appeal this decision. However, you can ask an SU Advisor whether it is appropriate to submit an academic appeal instead (follow this link for advice on Academic Appeals).

The IMC Panel share their decision to accept your IMC with a Board of Examiners for Programmes, who decide what action should be taken. Their decision about reassessment, progression or completion may include some of the following actions listed below. If you are unsure what the decision means for your degree, you should speak to your Director of Studies (DoS). If you are still unsure after speaking to your DoS, an SU Advisor can help suggest what to do next.

 

Situation

Potential decision

Potential next steps

You have failed a unit 

You may be able to re-sit an assessment and your new mark will count towards your ability to progress and/or final award.

Prepare to re-sit the assessment in the August supplementary exam period.

You have passed all essential units but need to re-sit ≤12 credits

 

You may be able to progress into the next year of your course rather than suspending while you resit assessments.

Prepare to start the next year of your course as planned (if you are on a 2 year PGT programme).

Your average mark is lower than usually required to progress to the next stage of your course

The normal progression threshold may be disregarded for your situation

Prepare to start the next year of your course as planned (if you are on a 2 year PGT programme)..

You have failed more units than you are normally allowed to re-sit

You may be able to retake more assessments than would usually be allowed.

Prepare to re-sit the assessment in the August supplementary exam period.

You have failed multiple units

You may be allowed to retake a year of your degree and your new marks will count towards your ability to progress and/or final award

Prepare to re-take a year. Now is a good time to speak to a Wellbeing Advisor and a Student Money Advisor to understand the support available to you.

Your marks for IMC-affected units have lowered your degree classification

Your degree classification may be increased based on your performance in assessments that weren’t affected by an IMC.

Your degree classification is increased at the end of your programme.

This is the end of the IMC process.

 

Last updated January 2023