This page should be read with our page: Exams: who to contact when things go wrong 

Preparing for and taking exams can be very stressful, if you do find it stressful it is important to remember that there is a lot of support and help available to help you get through this.

One of the best things you can do to reduce the pressure and stress is to stay up to date with your work throughout the year, see our page on Top Tips for Academic Success and our Surviving Your First Term and Beyond pages.

Revision and Exam time, is a good time to make sure you are looking after yourself and organise how you are preparing, we would recommend that you:

  • If you have a Disability make sure you have spoken to Disability Services about any special arrangements you need for your exams. The deadlines are quite early for this, so don’t leave this until the last minute!
  • Make a revision plan and stick to it
  • Eat healthily
  • Take breaks and get some exercise
  • Make sure you have enough sleep
  • Watch out for the Exam timetable being published – so you know when your exams are.

If the pressure and stress becomes too much, make sure you get some help to deal with it. Information and links to the main places for support can be found on the Wellbeing Support page and also see the Students’Union Advice Pages about Health & wellbeing.

The Students’ Union and University run events aimed at helping students to relax during the main exam weeks and the University Counselling Service runs workshops throughout the year including ones to help you cope with stress.

Hopefully your exam preparation will have gone ok, and when you enter the exam room you will realise you do know enough to answer the questions and be able to complete the exam successfully. Exams are governed by Regulation 10.2 

Here are some tips on how to approach the exam:

  • Try to relax.
  • Read through the questions carefully.
  • Decide on the time to allot to each question – plan your exam time  
  • Leave the question you are least confident about until last.

Unable to sit an exam or have to leave early due to illness

For some students the exam may not go in the way they anticipated for a number of reasons e.g. unable to take an exam at all because of illness or a personal issue such as bereavement, or if you have to leave an exam because you are taken ill. If this happens it is important to inform your department of the reason as soon as possible. Follow this up with another email with medical or other evidence as soon as you can. The regulations state that in these cases students should submit evidence not later than three days following the last day of their University Examination (unless there are specific circumstances which warrant an extension of this period) a medical certificate showing their inability to take or complete the examination at the prescribed time. For details on this see Regulation 12 


Mitigating Circumstances

If things have not gone well for you academically during the year or during the revision and examination period you should talk to your Department eg your Personal Tutor or Departmental Senior Tutor and consider whether you can submit mitigating circumstances for the Exam Board to consider. For information about this see our page on Mitigation Circumstances.



First Year

  • If you fail a first year examination by getting a mark of less than 40%, you can usually resit the exam at the end of the summer vacation of the same year.


  • If you fail the exam a second time you will not normally be able to resit the exam again unless the Exam Board considers you have mitigating circumstances that affected you and your ability to take the exam.


  • If you have mitigating circumstances, you will be given the opportunity to take the exam again as a resit without residence.

Intermediate Year or Final year students cannot normally resit a failed exam, but you should talk to your Department and get advice if you fail an exam.

Post Graduate Exams

If you fail an examination or assessment your Department will be able to advise you on what you can do and the impact it will have on your qualification.

Places to get advice:

Inside your Department:

  • Personal Tutor or Supervisor
  • Departmental Senior Tutor

Outside your Department: