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Welcome to RCVS Awards - a recognised awarding organisation of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

Special consideration


Guidance to VN students on requesting special consideration



RCVS Awards will, in relation to a formal assessment (examination or college assignment) consider any exceptional circumstances that may have adversely affected your performance. Such circumstances must:

  • be unforeseen at the time of examination entry

  • occur within five working days of the examination (normally)

  • be seen to have a significant impact on your assessment performance


Special consideration

Examples of circumstances that might justify special consideration are:

  • bereavement or serious illness in your immediate family at, or immediately before, the time of assessment

  • serious social problems, such as marital break-up at, or immediately before, the time of assessment

  • untoward disruption immediately before, or during, the assessment process such as fire evacuation or equipment failure.

This list is not meant to be exhaustive; if you feel you should have special consideration you should seek the advice of your centre (college) or RCVS Awards.

Lack of preparation to take an assessment, for whatever reason, is not grounds for special consideration. If you do not feel sufficiently prepared to be assessed or examined, you should defer your assessment until this situation is remedied.

The above notwithstanding, the Awarding Organisation generally expects that candidates, in deciding to attend an examination, are in a fit state to do so. If you become unfit to take an examination between submitting an entry and the date of the exam, you are encouraged to withdraw rather than to take the examination whilst unwell or ill-prepared.

However, the Awarding Organisation will take into consideration any unexpected circumstances that occurred immediately prior to an examination, or during the examination itself, which may have adversely affected your examination performance.



If you experience difficulties such as those outlined above, they must be notified to the Veterinary Nursing Department before the meeting of the Veterinary Nursing Examiners. You should download and complete the Special Consideration Form (available from the 'Related documents' box - top right) and submit this to the Veterinary Nursing Department as soon as possible, and in no case later than five working days after the examination date.

If you are unwell at the time of an examination, or become unwell during the examination, you must inform the invigilator at the time.

Please ensure that you complete the form fully and attach substantiating evidence as required. Examiners can make a decision only upon information that you disclose. Information disclosed is treated in strict confidence.


Late notification

The examiners cannot give special consideration to circumstances that come to light after the publication of results.

Should you subsequently decide to appeal against a result, the Appeals Panel will take into account whether or not you could reasonably have requested special consideration from the RCVS examiners. It is therefore important to notify such circumstances immediately they become apparent.


Special consideration and examination results

It is at the discretion of the examiners to accept or reject your request for special consideration of circumstances when reviewing your examination result.

If you achieve a 'pass' standard, your application will not need to be considered and all information relating to these will be destroyed.

If you fail one or more parts of the examination, your application will be considered. If accepted by the examiners, special consideration may lead to the nullification of all or part of an examination attempt.

This means that, if the examination is failed, there may be an additional attempt allowed with or without charge, or, a partial pass may be allowed where a student would normally be required to re-sit the whole examination. It is important to note that Special Consideration cannot change a poor result into a pass. You must note that adjustment of marks only applies in the case of a borderline failure.


Non-attendance at an examination

Should unforeseen circumstances prevent you from sitting any part of an examination, you should submit the reasons to the Veterinary Nursing Department using the Special Consideration form (available to download from the 'Related documents' box - top right) and attach substantiating evidence e.g. a medical certificate. No refund of fees will be considered otherwise.

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