How to Appeal

A guide to making a case and to the University procedures involved

If you fail an assessment or don’t get a good mark, you might want to appeal. In theory, this is an appeal against the decision of the University Award Board – that is the board that confirms your marks.

First, think: do you have a case?

You can't simply appeal because you disagree with your marks – you need a good reason (“grounds”).

The only two “grounds” for appealing are:

That there has been a “material error or irregularity”

Possibly including:

  • You receive your results for a module and it’s 42%, but you know the mark should have been 62% and you think there has been an administration mistake; or

  • An examination or assessment was not done properly; for example if your exam was stopped 30 minutes early (so you were given 2.5 hours to do it instead of 3 hours).


That your “performance was adversely affected by illness or other factors which you were unable, for valid reasons, to declare in accordance with the provisions of the Extenuating Circumstances Procedure

This could be illness, bereavement, family problems, or any life event that was not your fault and which you couldn't prevent.

The University will want to know why you didn't use the Extenuating Circumstances procedure at the time. If they think you could have used the Extenuating Circumstances procedure, your appeal will probably be rejected: it's really important to explain this and to provide evidence of why you could not use Extenuating Circumstances at the time.

If you are appealing against an Extenuating Circumstances decision, the grounds are different. See item 6.1 of the Extenuating Circumstances Regulations for those grounds.

Second, take urgent action

You must appeal in writing (letter or email) within 15 Working Days of the publication of your results (10 Working Days of the decision if you are appealing the rejection of an Extenuating Circumstances claim).

The Procedure for a student to appeal against the decision of an Assessment/Award Board includes a template appeal letter/email (it's Appendix 1 at the end of the procedure).

If you are appealing an Extenuating Circumstances decision, the process is at item 6 of the Extenuating Circumstances Regulations instead.

Write the appeal.

A good appeal will include: 

  • A timeline of events. The University will need to know what happened, when it happened, and how it affected your work. Include an explanation of why you couldn't use Extenuating Circumstances (unless you are appealing against the refusal of your Extenuating Circumstances application).

  • Evidence to support your case. The University needs proof of what has happened, and usually will not uphold appeals without good evidence. The more evidence you can get, the better.

Make sure that evidence covers the date/s of your assessment/s, covers everything you want the University to know, can be understood by someone who does not know you, and matches with your grounds for appeal.

Don't be afraid to go back to a source of evidence, (e.g. your GP) if you feel something could be made more accurate or detailed.

  • A request. Tell the University what you want to happen next if the appeal is upheld. This will be taken into account, but we can't guarantee you'll get exactly what you want.

Third, what happens next?

The University will acknowledge your appeal within 5 working days and will aim to reply fully within 25 working days of receipt of your appeal.

If your appeal is turned down (“rejected”), get advice – you might be able to ask the University to think again, or might be able to take your case to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education.

If you need more advice:

These services can help:

Student Advice Centre (independent advice on how to make a good appeal)

Student Guidance Advisors (University advice on appealing)

The Academic Regulations and Compliance team (University advice on the process and how your appeal is progressing)