Examinations and Assessment

A Guide to Online Summer Examinations

Updated 29 May 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and in the interests of staff and student health, the university has decided to substitute Summer written examinations with an online format.

This web page aims to help students prepare for online examinations.

UCC’s Approach to Examinations and Assessments

A flexible approach | Designed to be fair | Your concerns

Updated 29 May 2020 

A Flexible Approach

Examinations can be a stressful time and when a new way of learning and teaching is brought about abruptly it can be daunting.   

Across the university and together with Students’ Union we have been working hard to ensure you are supported and informed, and it is why we put in place additional measures to ensure no student will be academically disadvantaged regarding their academic work at this time. To recap these are:

  • Students whose personal circumstances have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, may apply to defer their summer online exam. This includes students who cannot access the hardware/software and internet connectivity required to complete the online examination/ assessment.
  • Students who sit a summer online examination but are unhappy with the grade awarded may choose to re-sit the exam to improve their grade.
  • Students who fail a summer examination can re-sit the exam without academic penalty.
  • Students who re-sit/repeat a summer online exam will not incur an exam repeat fee.

Consistent with the principle that no student will be disadvantaged academically as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, the measures put in place with respect to Semester 2 exams will also apply to all forms of continuous assessment submitted after 12 March 2020.

For those with examinations on the horizon please be assured that any impact on student performance during the COVID-19 period will be carefully considered by examiners at every stage.

A system designed to be fair  

It is important to note that our academic system is designed to be fair and rigorous so that academic integrity and the quality of our degrees is maintained at the highest level.

  • Assessments and examinations are designed and graded with great care by lecturers and professors , scrutinised by External Examiners and then reviewed, often multiple times, to ensure that the grades awarded across a student’s portfolio of marks truly reflect that student’s performance.
  • Examination Boards, at local and University level, take special account of any impediments to student performance in a process that ensures fairness to all students. The flexibility already built into our Marks and Standards, the formal university record of all examination rules, is applied appropriately to this end.
  • We consult throughout with the relevant professional and accrediting bodies to ensure our system strikes the appropriate balance between the various interests at this difficult time.

It is important to recognise that for many students a significant portion of their learning has already been assessed in Semester 1 and through Semester 2. Credits have already been accrued that are not impacted by COVID-19.

Your concerns 

We hear your concerns and we fully acknowledge the student petition requesting that the University adopt a ‘No Detriment’ Policy.

In relation to this petition, we note that the UK universities have taken different approaches to the ‘no-detriment’ policy. Given the differences between University systems and the measures UCC has already taken to protect against student academic disadvantage – in line with other Irish Universities – adopting further so-called ‘safety net’ measures would risk undermining the integrity of your degrees. This concern is heightened by the fact that the degrees overseen by the professional accreditation bodies would, we have been advised, have to be exempt from the proposed ‘safety-net’ policy.

Many courses in UCC must meet the requirements set by both professional and statutory accreditation bodies. UCC cannot change the structure or content of its courses without the prior approval of these bodies. The introduction of a ‘safety-net’ for courses which do not require oversight from an accredited body risks the creation of an unfair two-tier education system and we have a responsibility to ensure that in all circumstances the measures we take in response to COVID-19 are proportionate and fair to all students. This is particularly important for Final Year students, as this policy could pose a significant risk to the value of your degree in all future pursuits.

For these reasons, UCC intends to continue with its flexible and considered approach to examinations and assessments, developed in partnership with your Student Union, at this time.


Please check that your module registration is up to date. Your module registration details are available on https://mystudentadmin.ucc.ie/ 

  • If you are not registered for a module you will be unable to take the online exam. If you need to change your registration record you should immediately email sreo@ucc.ie  
  • If you cannot access https://mystudentadmin.ucc.ie/ please log a support call with Student IT 


Updated 17 April 2020 

Your exam timetable is available on https://mystudentadmin.ucc.ie/ 

It is intended that each exam will only run at the scheduled time but some necessary changes may be made to your timetable. Your module lecturer will inform you of any such change. 

You should familiarise yourself with your timetable and check it in the days leading up to your exams. 


Updated 17 April 2020 

All online examinations will be delivered through Canvas unless otherwise specified. Please familiarise yourself with Canvas assessment functionality and check that you can access the relevant modules prior to the examination period. 

All students have been enrolled in to the Learning with Canvas - Online Examinations Preparation course where you can practice submitting an essay, and taking a canvas quiz. 

  • If you are not registered for a module you will be unable to take the online exam. If you need to change your registration record you should immediately email sreo@ucc.ie
  • If you cannot access https://mystudentadmin.ucc.ie/ please log a support call with Student IT


Updated 17 April 2020 

  • You will need a laptop/computer and internet connection to take an online exam. 
  • You will also need to have Microsoft Word. All UCC students have access to Microsoft Office 365, which includes Microsoft Word. For access and download instructions visit our Office 365 support page. 
  • In some instances, other software may be mandated by your Department/School and they will advise you separately of any such requirements. You can contact your module co-ordinator through the Canvas Help menu, when logged in to Canvas, and choosing the “Ask your lecturers a question” option.  

If you cannot meet these requirements, you can choose to apply to defer your exam. Details of how to apply for an exam deferral will be made available on 17 April 2020  

If on the day of your exams you experience a failure of technology you should contact the IT Support Desk on +353 (0)21 490 2120

If this issue cannot be resolved and you are unable to complete your exam and/or upload your work, you must immediately alert your module co-ordinator. 

Assessment Formats

Updated 17 April 2020 

Your module co-ordinator has chosen an online assessment format that will assess the module learning outcomes and satisfy requirements of professional/accrediting bodies and External Examiners. This is important for your career and employability. 

All students have been enrolled in to the Learning with Canvas - Online Examinations Preparation course where you can practice submitting an essay,and taking a canvas quiz. 

If you have questions about the exam format, you can contact your module co-ordinator through the Canvas Help menu, when logged in to Canvas, and choosing the “Ask your lecturers a question” option. 

Examination Preparation Resources

Updated 22 April 2020

Your module coordinator should have contacted you by now to let you know the format of your assessment and how to contact them in the event of issues with the examinations or assessments. Please check your email spam folders and Canvas account for messages. If you haven’t heard from them, please contact them directly. You can contact your module co-ordinator through the Canvas Help menu, when logged in to Canvas, and choosing the “Ask your lecturers a question” option. 

All students have been enrolled in to the Learning with Canvas - Online Examinations Preparation course where you can practice submitting an essay, and taking a canvas quiz. 

There are a number of additional services and resources available to you to support you as you prepare for on-line exams  


Updated 17 Apr 2020

Exam durations and reading time will remain as listed on the exam timetable unless otherwise specified by your Department/School. An additional 20 minutes will be allowed so that students can save and upload their work. You should take this additional 20 minutes to upload your assessment. Don not wait until the end time of the examination to upload. Canvas will timestamp all assessment submissions as per normal practice. Scripts uploaded after the allocated time has passed will not normally be accepted.

For DSS students entitled to extra time, an additional 10 minutes per hour of examination will be provided. 


Online exams are university exams and subject to the university’s exam regulationsplagiarism policy and Code of Honour. TurnitIn will be enabled on all submissions. A breach of examination rules is a serious issue and can incur penalties including the awarding of a mark of zero for an entire module. Do not risk cheating.

Mitigation (Deferrals)

Updated 23 Apr 2020

You may encounter unexpected circumstances that impact on your ability to prepare for, or to sit, an examination. We have a process that takes these circumstances into account. We call this the Mitigation Process. COVID-19 and the circumstances surrounding it falls into the category of circumstances for which you can apply for mitigation.

If you are a student whose personal circumstances have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, you can now apply online to defer your Semester 2 exam to autumn (the application process including further information on COVID-19 grounds for deferral are available on the online deferral form).

You do not need certification from a medical doctor or other in order to make an application, if you are applying for reasons arising due to COVID-19.

In late June, following the release of Semester 2 examination results, an online application process will become available for: 

  • Waiver of capping at autumn for Semester 1/Spring examination repeats
  • Resit of a passed Spring/Semester 2 examination for those students who are unhappy with their result

DSS Students

Updated 17 April 2020 

Exam accommodations for students registered with the Disability Support Service will be facilitated. For further information please refer to the DSS website.

Final Year Students

Updated 21 April 2020

Skip to A particular note to final year students | Impact on future employment | Impact on future education opportunities | Results and ParchmentsGraduation and Conferrings

A particular note to final year students

For final year students, we understand that you are especially concerned but please be assured that all individual marks and grades from all your assessments, including those taken during the COVID-19 pandemic, will be carefully reviewed so that your final grades and degree classification is fair and takes account of all circumstances.  

While Marks and Standards may vary as to how each final degree classification is reached, in all circumstances great care is taken when reviewing and approving the marks of students in the final year of their degree to ensure that student performance is fully recognised. The University considers it particularly important that the rigour adopted to both the design and the integrity of the assessment process during this challenging time will result in a qualification of equal value to that received by graduates from any other year of your programme.  

It is important to recognise that flexibility is already built into the academic structures of the university to allow disciplinary norms and student circumstances to be taken into account. The professional expertise of academic staff allows for the robust consideration of all marks in light of all circumstances, to ensure the final result released is an accurate reflection of student learning and commitment over the course of their studies.  

We understand that final years are particularly concerned over future employment and further education opportunities. Please be aware we will be providing more support and information on these issues shortly.  

In the meantime please note that UCC has strong relationships with the business sector. Their concern, like ours, is to ensure the integrity of your degree is protected. Equally the entire university sector globally is working through the implications of  COVID-19 and flexibility is anticipated in the admissions process. We expect our university partners will accommodate those impacted by COVID-19 to the maximum extent possible.

Impact on future employment

Updated 21 Apr 2020

You may be a student who needs certain results in order to take up an offer of employment. If your new exam date/result will be later than planned due to COVID-19, contact your employer and let them know that circumstances dictate that you will need to take your exams at a later sitting.

The recruitment of new graduate talent is a major concern of graduate employers and it is in their interests to work with you on overcoming any issues presented by your later exam date. Many employers are in the process of developing current policies to address this issue, in a way that works within their schedule, priorities and business needs. Some companies can accommodate a later start date. If this is not an option for the company, alternative solutions may be explored.

Be sure to keep the lines of communication open and to provide your employer with timely, accurate information and any documentation they might request in order to plan ahead.

Also, please know that UCC Careers Services staff are available to support you. If you are feeling anxious or unsure of how to reach out to your employer, you can avail of a remote consultation with a UCC careers advisor to discuss your situation in more detail.

Impact on further education opportunities

Updated 21 Apr 2020

Impact on starting postgraduate study at UCC

The Graduate Studies Office in UCC is acutely aware of the issues that COVID-19 presents with regard to the availability of final degree results for those students who are hoping to pursue a postgraduate course in UCC in the autumn. We are working with colleagues, including UCC Student Records and Exams office, to come up with a workable and fair solution. We are also liaising with colleagues across the sector on this issue. As soon as a solution has been confirmed, postgraduate applicants will be updated. Keep an eye on the email you used to apply for a postgraduate course at UCC (through PAC.ie).

Impact on starting postgraduate study at another institution

The recruitment of students into postgraduate degrees each year is a major priority of every university and it is in their interests to work with you on overcoming any issues presented by your later exam date. Third level institutes are working together nationally and internationally in developing current policies to address this issue.

Be sure you to provide the course director with timely, accurate information and any documentation they request to help them in coming to a decision.

Also, please know that UCC staff are available to support you. If you are feeling unsure of how to reach out the institution or course director, you can avail of a remote consultation with a UCC advisor to discuss your situation in more detail.


Results and degree parchments

Updated 21 Apr 2020

We will endeavour to minimise delays to generating and publishing results and any impact to our students where an NUI degree parchment may not be available. We will communicate to you directly on when and how you will receive your final parchments. You can place an order for your academic transcripts, as usual at: https://forms.ucc.ie/transcript-request 

Graduation and conferring ceremonies

Updated 21 Apr 2020

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and in the interests of staff and student health, the university is currently reviewing its conferrings' ceremony schedule for the rest of the year. We understand that this is a time of great uncertainty for our students and we will endeavour to update you, both through e-mail and through the website, once we are in a position to confirm our plans. 

Working with you

Updated 17 Apr 2020

We will continue to work in partnership with you and your Student’s Union.

Thank you again for your patience and understanding and please look after yourselves, your loved ones and your community.

Office of the VP for Learning and Teaching

Oifig an Leasuachtaráin Foghlama agus Teagaisc

East Wing, Main Quadrangle, UCC,