Illness or exceptional circumstances at final assessment time

Find out what to do if you're acutely ill or suffer exceptional circumstances during final assessments—and how to apply for an aegrotat pass.

If you are suffering an acute illness or exceptional circumstances affecting your ability to sit tests and exams or complete assessments in the final three teaching weeks of the course or during the exam/assessment period, here's what you should do:

  1. Contact your course coordinator as soon as possible.
  2. If your problem is health related, see a health professional and obtain a medical certificate*—this may be required later if you need to apply for a special 'aegrotat' pass.
  3. If your problem is due to a bereavement—that is the death of a family member or close personal friend—or other serious personal circumstances, you will need to provide evidence. This evidence might be a death notice or a copy of a police report.
  4. Sit your exam/s or tests and/or do as much as you can towards your assessments, unless your circumstances do not allow you to do so.

*A medical certificate will confirm that your circumstances during the relevant period were significant enough for you to be considered for an aegrotat pass. The medical certificate will not contain anything about your condition—this will remain confidential between you and your doctor.

How your course coordinator can help

Your course coordinator may consider different options depending on the type of assessment, when the assessment is scheduled relative to your period of acute illness or exceptional circumstances, and the work you have already completed for the course.

The options considered by your course coordinator will include:

  • an extension of the due date for your assessment
  • re-weighting of your assessment
  • an alternative assessment
  • submission of drafts or work in progress.

If none of these options are appropriate and you think that you may fail the course, you can apply to be considered for an ungraded pass known as an aegrotat.

An aegrotat (ungraded) pass

You may be awarded an ungraded aegrotat pass if you are otherwise on track to pass a course, but due to exceptional circumstances you are unable to either:

  1. take or prepare for a test/exam, or
  2. complete a piece of assessment due in the last three weeks of teaching or during the exam/assessment period.

An aegrotat pass for the course would appear on your academic transcript as a 'G'.

How aegrotat passes are considered

To consider your application, the University needs to be sure you have largely met the learning outcomes for your course. We look at:

  • The assessments you have completed so far on the course. If you have missed much of the course or have done poorly on previous assessments, your application is likely to be declined.
  • Your achievements relative to others in your class.
  • Whether there is evidence of the circumstances of your impairment, for example, a medical certificate.

Your health provider can’t approve your application for an aegrotat pass. Their role is to assess whether your illness, injury, or other serious circumstances during relevant period warrants the University to consider your application. Beyond this threshold, the severity of your condition will not have an impact on the outcome of your application.

Teacher education exception

You can apply for an aegrotat pass for most courses, but teacher education students cannot apply for an aegrotat pass for any course that is part of a teacher education programme. There is an alternative process available—contact the Faculty of Education office for further information.

When to apply

You can apply for an aegrotat pass for a course when your acute illness or exceptional circumstances had an impact on your ability to sit or complete assessments that are due or take place within the last three teaching weeks or within the exam/assessment period.

You can’t apply for an aegrotat pass if your assessment is due before the start of this time period. This means:

If your course is... You can apply for an aegrotat pass relating to assessment(s)...
In Trimester 1 within the last three weeks of teaching or during an exam/assessment period
In Trimester 2 within the last three weeks of teaching or during an exam/assessment period
Full year within the last three weeks of teaching or during an exam/assessment period
In Trimester 3 within the last three weeks of teaching 

The last day you can submit an aegrotat application is 10 working days after your last test, exam, or assessment submission date.

Late applications may be considered under exceptional circumstances—for example, if you are in hospital. Check with your faculty office. You will need to provide a reason why your application is late.

Aegrotat application process

If you have discussed your situation with your course coordinator, and decided that applying for an aegrotat pass for the course is your best option, follow these steps:

1. Fill in the aegrotat pass application form

Fill in the online aegrotat application form. This form is only available for enrolled students, and you must apply using your student account (username@myvuw.ac.nz).

Students who are also staff members may initially be denied access to the form. If this happens, right-click this aegrotat application form link, select ‘open link in incognito/private window’, and then proceed to log in with your student account.

If you have any questions about this stage of the application process, please contact your faculty office.

2. Get evidence of your impairment to support your application

You need evidence of impairment to support your application for an aegrotat pass. Unless your application is based on impairment due to bereavement or other serious personal circumstances, you will need a medical certificate from a registered health professional.

Organise to see a health professional if you haven’t already done so. You can go to Mauri Ora—Student Health and Student Counselling or choose a relevant external health professional, such as a GP/doctor, practice nurse, hospital medical practitioner, physiotherapist, or midwife.

3. Submit your aegrotat pass application form and evidence

If you visited Mauri Ora—Student Health and Student Counselling for evidence to support your application, they will email you the medical certificate for you to upload as part of your application.

If your evidence of impairment is in paper form, you will need to scan it before uploading it as part of your application.

Your faculty needs both the application form and the medical certificate to accept your aegrotat application. The faculty office will send you an email to acknowledge that they have received your application.

4. Wait for a decision

Aegrotat processing starts once final grades are released. Aegrotat applications are usually decided within four weeks of grades being released. Your application will be held by your faculty until your final grades have been released.

During this time, your record for the course(s) will either display a fail grade or ‘GP’ (grade pending), which will be adjusted once a decision has been made on your aegrotat application.

Your aegrotat application will either:

  • proceed if you failed the course(s), or
  • stop if you passed the course(s).

If you passed the course(s), your record will be updated with your grade. If your application proceeds, it will be assessed based on your performance in other assessments within the course. You will receive an email as soon as a decision is made on your application.

After you apply

Appealing a decision

If your application is declined, you may appeal the decision. The appeal process is outlined in the email advising you of the result of your application.

The appeal process will review your case to ensure that appropriate criteria for decision making have been applied. Additional medical information is not required and will not affect the appeal decision.

Prerequisite courses

Sometimes the course for which you’ve applied for an aegrotat pass may be a prerequisite for another course. If that course is starting soon and you haven’t yet received a decision, contact your faculty office for help. You may be able to start the next course (and attend associated tutorials and labs) while the decision is pending.

Your grades

Aegrotat passes are ungraded

When you get an aegrotat pass, you will see a ‘G’ on your transcript instead of a normal passing grade in the C- to A+ range. An aegrotat pass is treated as a pass in all other respects. You won’t need to repeat the course and you will be eligible for any courses for which the course was a prerequisite (as long as you meet all other requirements).

Aegrotat and GPA

There is no GPA value for an aegrotat pass. Check with your faculty about if and how your aegrotat pass will affect selection for other courses within that faculty.

Passing grades and aegrotat passes

If you applied for an aegrotat pass but still managed to pass your course anyway, your aegrotat application will not proceed. The passing grade will be recorded on your academic transcript.

You may feel the passing grade does not reflect your ability in the course. In that case, you can apply to your faculty for a letter explaining that your performance may have been impaired. Your faculty office can tell you how to apply for this letter.