Exceptional circumstances

The Examination Exceptional Circumstances Consideration Service (EECCS) supports learners who have been:

It is available for all exams that appear in the exam timetable. Non-question paper components are not eligible for this service.

The service will open on 22 April 2024 and the closing date is 10 working days after the exam for which the request is being made. There is no charge for this service.

Only schools, colleges and training providers may submit requests. We are unable to accept requests from learners or parents/carers. Learners who believe they are eligible for this service should contact their school, college or training provider.


Learners are eligible for EECCS consideration if:

An exceptional circumstance is a circumstance that is unplanned and fundamentally affects a learner’s ability to attend or perform on the day in an exam.

Examination exceptional circumstances are categorised as either ‘personal circumstances’ or ‘examination circumstances’. These are called outline reasons. Under each outline reason there are detailed reasons, such as a medical condition or a disruption.

It is not possible to produce a definitive list that covers every possible exceptional circumstance. However, each request submitted should correspond with one of the following reasons.

Outline reason Detailed reason
Personal circumstance


Medical condition*

Domestic circumstance

Exceptional absence

Examination circumstance**

Examination arrangements***


Current public health advice in Scotland does not require a period of COVID-19 self- isolation. Disruption at the time of exam, caused by COVID-19, or related COVID-19 conditions, should be recorded using the detailed reason of medical condition, as appropriate to the circumstances.

* Schools, colleges or training providers will not be required to specify the nature of the medical condition when submitting a request, but they must hold documentation such as a letter or statement from the head of centre confirming that it affected the learner.

** To be considered for an Examination circumstance request, learners must have been affected during the exam by a disruption, or other exam circumstance, reported by the chief invigilator.

*** Examination arrangement related exceptional circumstances include situations where the centre fails to correctly implement a pre-agreed assessment arrangement.

We will only accept EECCS requests from schools, colleges or training providers. We will not accept requests from learners or their representatives. Each request must have been approved by the head of the school, college or training provider. Learners must give written consent for an EECCS request to be submitted on their behalf.

The head must be sure that:

  • The reason for the request is exceptional and satisfies one of the following:
    • The learner was unable to attend the exam due to a personal circumstance
    • The learner’s performance was fundamentally affected by a personal circumstance
    • The learner was affected during the exam by a disruption or other exam circumstance, reported by the chief invigilator
  • The reason for the request falls into one of the categories (outline and detailed reasons).
  • Appropriate documentation is held to support the request.
  • Alternative academic evidence for the impacted exam component(s) is available.
  • All non-exam components were completed by the learner.
  • An estimate has been submitted.

Your school, college or training provider must provide alternative evidence for the question paper component of the relevant qualification. We will consider a range of evidence. Evidence is most convincing where the assessment mirrors important aspects of the specific skills, knowledge and understanding requirements of the course.

All academic evidence submitted in support of requests must have been generated before the date of the timetabled exam.

The following are examples of the types of learner evidence that could be considered under this service:

  • Prelims or mock exams
  • End of topic assessments
  • Performance recordings
  • Classwork

We are unable to accept any further learner evidence after we have issued your result.

Examiners will be provided with the learner’s estimate, alternative academic evidence, any relevant non-question paper component candidate materials (for example a folio or project), and any attempted question papers related to the request.

Examiners will review the academic evidence and award a grade subject to the following conditions:

  • Where the learner has not managed to attend and/or complete any parts of the timetabled exam and therefore only alternative academic evidence is available, any grade awarded will be at the lowest band point available; for example A2, B4 or C6.
  • Schools, colleges and training providers should inform SQA if a learner has a conditional offer from university that requires an A1 band. In these cases, by exception, should the learner’s alternative evidence justify an A grade, the examiner will also determine the appropriate band.

Results will be issued via the normal national certification channels and according to the associated published dates.

Learners who have undergone exceptional circumstances consideration are excluded from Appeals 2023 for the same qualification. This is because the EECCS includes a marking review of any/all submitted external assessments that are related to the request.

Learners can appeal their EECCS request outcome on two possible grounds. This must be done through the head of school, college or training provider on a learner’s behalf if:

  • they believe that SQA’s decision to refuse an EECCS request that was submitted within the published timescales, based on all the evidence available to SQA at the time, is wrong


  • they believe that there was procedural irregularity in SQA’s handling of an EECCS request, which contributed to a decision that based on all the evidence available to SQA at the time, is wrong.

Learners should speak to their school, college or training provider if they want to appeal an EECCS outcome.