What is special consideration?

When illness or circumstances beyond your control interfere with your assessment performance, you may be eligible to apply for special consideration; a process for assessing the impact of unexpected, short-term events on your ability to complete a specific assessment task.

Application process

Who can apply?

This Special Consideration process is available to all students except: Higher Degree Research Candidates and UNSW Global Diploma students.

If you have a long-term medical or mental health condition, are living with a disability or are the primary carer for someone with a disability, Equitable Learning Services can provide you with ongoing support throughout your studies.

Check if your circumstances are eligible

Your circumstances may be applicable for Special Consideration if they are:

  • short-term,
  • unexpected and beyond your control,
  • substantially disturbed your assessment performance,


  • occurred during an important study or assessment period and lasted for 3 days in a row or a total of 5 days or,
  • prevented you from completing or attending an assessment on a specific date or due date.

Before submitting an application

When to apply

You should apply for Special Consideration as soon as possible and at the latest you must apply within 3 working days of the assessment (or the period covered by your supporting documentation).

Note for offshore students:

Offshore students who are applying for special consideration due to their timed assessment (ie. exam, quiz, test) being held between 10pm and 7am their local time, must apply at the latest, 5 days before the scheduled date of the timed assessment.

Fit to sit/submit rule

In addition to your circumstances being applicable, you must also comply with UNSW's fit to sit/submit rule.

If you access, sit or submit an assessment on time or on the scheduled date, then you are declaring yourself fit to do so and cannot later apply for Special Consideration. Additionally, if you submit an assessment task on time or sit, access or submit a timed assessment on the scheduled date after applying, you will no longer be eligible for Special Consideration.

How does the fit to sit/submit rule apply to different assessment types?

EXAMPLE 1 of 2:
For assignments, essays, reports and other assessments with a set due date. This includes long take home exams (open for more than 24 hours) in the Faculty of Law and Justice.

  • If you are unable to submit the assessment by the due date, you can apply for Special Consideration. Please note that applications must still meet all other criteria to be considered eligible. You are not expected to wait for the application to be approved before submitting these types of assessments. You should continue to work on the assessment and submit this when you believe you have completed it to a satisfactory standard. Once the assessment is submitted, the fit to sit/submit rule will apply, meaning that no resubmissions will be allowed.
  • If you have submitted the assessment late (ie. after the due date), you can apply for Special Consideration. Please note that applications must still meet all other criteria to be considered eligible. The fit to sit/submit rule applies from the date you submitted the assessment, meaning that no resubmissions will be allowed.
  • If you submit your assessment on time (ie. before or on the assessment deadline), then you will not be eligible for Special Consideration. Exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis if it is clear that you were prevented from making an informed decision.

EXAMPLE 2 of 2:
For short exams (ie. up to 24 hrs in length), tests (online or in class), presentations and other timed assessments

Before: You can apply, however if you access, sit or submit the exam/test or other timed assessment on the scheduled date, you will no longer be eligible for Special Consideration.

During: If you feel unwell or are impacted by other circumstances to the point that you cannot continue with your timed assessment, you must:

  • stop working on the assessment,
  • tell a staff member immediately that you are unwell (ie. your Course Coordinator, Tutor or Exam Supervisor - they must be advised before the end of the timed assessment),
  • apply for Special Consideration within 3 working days of the assessment date. Your supporting evidence must be dated within 24 hours of the assessment date.

After you have accessed and/or attended the timed assessment: You are not eligible for Special Consideration. Exceptions will be considered if it is clear that you were prevented from making an informed decision.

More information can be found in this Guide to Special Consideration.

Prepare your supporting documentation

When you apply for Special Consideration, you must provide UNSW with sufficient and appropriate evidence that clearly shows the details of your circumstances.

Your evidence must identify the:

  • Circumstances: Describe the situation in as much detail as possible.
  • Time frame: Include dates and length of the circumstances.
  • Severity: How serious the circumstances are and how they have impacted you and your assessment performance.

The evidence you provide will be used in assessing your application, so it is very important to provide all relevant supporting documents.

  • For medical circumstances, use this professional authority form as a supporting document. Backdated or out of date medical certificates may not be accepted.
  • If your supporting documentation is not in English, please submit this and we will attempt to have this translated. Where documentation cannot be translated, you may be asked to have this translated by a NAATI accredited translator. If this occurs, you should supply copies of the original document and a complete English translation.
  • If you provide falsified documents in support of your application, then this will result in one of a range of penalties, from failure in the course to suspension or exclusion. In some cases, the matter could also be reported to ICAC.
  • See the list of common supporting documents and evidence required, in this Guide to Special Consideration.

How to submit your application

Once you have supporting documents, you can apply for Special Consideration via this portal:

Special Consideration portal

If you encounter log in issues or need help,
please see this step-by-step guide to using the portal.

See next

After applying

What happens next?


Answers to frequently asked questions

Online assessments

Prepare for your online assessments and exams

More support

Support services available to students

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