Special Consideration for Impaired Performance or Missed Examination

Special Consideration is the name of the application that students can make to the University of Waikato if an examination is impacted by unforeseen circumstances.

Special Consideration is available when

  1. A student has been prevented from undertaking an examination,
  2. A student’s performance in an examination has been seriously impaired, or
  3. A student’s ability to prepare for an examination in the two weeks immediately preceding the examination has been seriously impaired, the student may apply for special consideration.

For missed or impaired performance in items of internal assessment, including tests, assignments, or presentations, applications should be made in writing to the examiner (Lecturer) of the relevant paper no later than three days after the date on which the item of internal assessment is due. If you have queries about special consideration for internal assessment, please contact your division of study. All queries regarding special consideration for internal assessments should be made to your lecturer.

The Student Services Division is responsible for the special consideration process for formal examinations only. The following information relates only to Special Consideration applications for formal examinations.

For further information on the regulations for special consideration, refer to the Assessment Regulations in the University of Waikato Calendar.

Who Can Apply for Special Consideration?

You may apply for special consideration if your situation falls under one of the three provisions below:

  1. absence from an examination - you have been prevented from sitting an examination by circumstances beyond your control;
  2. serious impairment to examination performance - you consider your examination performance has been seriously impaired by illness, injury, personal bereavement or any other critical circumstance;
  3. serious impairment to examination preparation - you consider your examination preparation has been seriously affected by an illness or trauma, for which you are under continuous and well documented care by a qualified person, e.g. a medical practitioner. To make an application under this provision you must demonstrate that effective preparation for the examination was not possible in the two weeks immediately before it. You should consult with the relevant health professional within five working days of your examination.

We recommend attempting your examination unless you have been advised not to by a relevant health professional or your impairment is very serious.

Before you apply please familiarise yourself with the following application types and the evidence required:


Where an absence of examination or impaired performance is due to a medical reason causing the student to seek medical attention.

Evidence Required: Section B form.

Compassionate Circumstances

Where an absence of examination or impaired performance is related to significant life event(s) and/or mental health challenges the student has sought counselling, therapy or advice from a health professional.

Evidence Required: Section B form.


Where an absence of examination or impaired performance is impacted by reasons other than medical or compassionate. E.g bereavement , IT issues during exam.

Evidence Required: Any relevant evidence to support your application e.g Death notice, letter from a religious leader or kaumātua, screenshots or video of IT issues with date and time stamps.

All applications for examination special consideration must be submitted with supporting documentation within five working days of the examination affected.

How to Apply

Step 1

For all medical and compassionate applications, before you visit your GP, Counsellor, Dentist, Midwife or other health professional, please download this Section B form to be filled out by them as it is compulsory for your application.

Step 2

To apply for special consideration under medical or compassionate circumstances you must consult either a registered medical or dental practitioner, midwife, registered psychologist or counsellor as soon as possible, but within five working days of the examination affected. If you have another examination that is more than five working days since you had a consult, you will need to see your relevant health professional again to have them fill out the Section B form.

Step 3

Once the scheduled date and time of your examination has finished, login to your MyWaikato and click the “Results” tab. You will see a tile called “Apply for exam special consideration”. Click this tile.

Step 4

Fill out the application fields including the written statement, then upload your Section B form and/or relevant supporting documentation and submit.

To apply for a special consideration under the “Other” category, fill out the same application in your MyWaikato and upload your relevant supporting documentation along with the written statement.

Step 5

Applications will be open in MyWaikato for five working days from the date of the examination affected. Once submitted, it can take between 3-6 weeks to process. When a decision has been made, you will receive an email through your MyWaikato portal with an outcome for each examination applied for. If you feel there has been a discrepancy in the decision, instructions on how to appeal will be detailed in the outcome email. All appeals must be made within seven days of receiving the email in MyWaikato.

Important Information

  1. If you need to apply for special consideration for another exam after submitting one application, you will need to fill out another application. 
  2. Please also note that once your application has been submitted you will not be able to upload any more supporting documentation – If you forget to upload a document or additional documents are requested you can email these to exams@waikato.ac.nz  as soon as requested or no later than the Special Consideration Committee Meeting which is six working days after the last exam date. 
  3. Failure to provide supporting documentation that has been requested may result in your application being declined.
  4. All medical and compassionate applications are processed by appointed committee members from Student Health and all information disclosed in your application will remain strictly confidential with members of the committee. Applications under the “Other” application type will also be processed by appointed members of the Special Consideration Committee and will remain strictly confidential with those members.

Special Consideration Outcomes

If your application is declined, this does not always mean your circumstances weren’t severe enough. It may mean that your documentation was dated outside the five working day timeframe, or that your supporting documentation did not warrant an absence of examination. Once a decision has been made you will receive an email through your MyWaikato portal with an explanation and instructions on how to appeal if you wish to do so.

If your application was approved, this does not necessarily mean that you will be rewarded a higher grade. This means that the Special Consideration Committee has recognised that your supporting documentation was true to the level of impairment or absence described and that your division of study for the respective examination will decide on an academic outcome.

If you are rewarded a “Change of Grade” you can expect to see these in your MyWaikato shortly after grades go final.

What do the Special Consideration decisions mean?

Change of Grade: A “Change of Grade” can be rewarded if a student has submitted all compulsory items of internal assessment within the course and the chief examiner believes the exam grade was not a true indication of the student’s usual academic standard.

No Change of Grade: A “No Change of Grade” can be rewarded if a student did not submit all compulsory items of internal assessment or if the chief examiner believes the grade rewarded for the examination is an accurate indication of the student’s usual academic standard.

Special Exam: An “Offer of Special Exam” is an opportunity to sit a new examination and can be rewarded at the chief examiner's discretion. Students may be offered a Special Examination if they have completed all compulsory internal items of assessment and were unable to attempt their exam due to unforeseen circumstances. A Special Examination may also be offered by chief examiners to students in place of a change of grade.

Student Health

If you require an appointment to see a GP, Nurse Practitioner or Counsellor to apply for examination special consideration and you cannot book an appointment with your health professional, you can call the University of Waikato Student Health Services on 07 838 4037 to make an appointment.

All counselling appointments are free to University of Waikato students – even if you are not registered as a patient at this practice.

Casual medical appointments can be made for non-registered patients. The cost is $50.00 if you hold a current community services card, or $65.00 if you do not hold a community services card.

Tauranga students can contact our Student Services staff at The Hub on 07 262 0500

Contact us

Student Centre (Hamilton) or the Hub on Level 1 (Tauranga)

Office Hours: Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.00pm
Student Centre University of Waikato Private Bag 3105 Hamilton