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Student Complaints

The University has robust marking and examination policies in place to ensure that all examination results are accurate. However, you may believe that there has been an issue with your final published results and would like them reviewed, to ensure the appropriate marks and class have been awarded. Essays or pieces of work which are submitted for feedback and the development of your learning but do not produce marks that count towards your final award, and any provisional marks, cannot be reviewed using the Examination Review Procedure.

If you have taken any University of Cambridge examination, including a PhD probationary examination, and believe that any of the following apply:

  1. a procedural irregularity in the examination process has adversely impacted on your examination results; or
  2. demonstrable bias or the perception of bias has occurred within the examination process; or
  3. the withdrawal of academic provision, which had adversely impacted on your examination results and of which the Examining Board were not aware [this ground is for students whose assessment results have been adversely affected by industrial action].

You can request that your final examination results are reviewed by completing the online Examination Review form within 28 days of receiving your formal examination results. You will receive your results either through your electronic student record (CamSIS) or in a formal letter from the Examiners.

Please include all of the evidence that you wish to be considered, and do not include unnecessary information about other people in your request. Please contact OSCCA using if you have any questions regarding the Procedure.

Before submitting a request for reconsideration of examination results you can seek advice from your College Tutor or relevant departmental staff. You can also seek independent advice from the Student Advice Service. If you believe there has been a mathematical error in the calculation of your marks within a paper or their classification, then you should request a mark check from the Department or Faculty to ensure that the marks have been appropriately calculated. 

If you are dissatisfied with the examination review decision, there is an opportunity to request a review of the decision. If you remain dissatisfied following the further review, you will have access to the external ombudsman, the Office of the Independent Adjudicator complaints scheme.

If your personal circumstances affected your examination - exam allowances

The University has processes that provide for an allowance or an adjustment to be granted in certain circumstances - in particular, on account of illness or other grave cause in preparing for, or taking, the examination or part of the examination for the degree or other qualification concerned.

  • If you are an undergraduate, MASt, MBA, EMBA, MCL, LLM, MEng, MFin, MMath, MMus, MSci, or PGCE, M.Res, M.St. or M.Phil. Degree by advanced study, find more information at:
  • If you are a Postgraduate B.D, M.D, Vet.M.D, Ph.D., Bus.D, Eng.D, M.Sc, M.Litt, M.Phil. Degree by dissertation, or Certificate of Postgraduate Study student, you can use the Examination Review Procedure outlined above to review your examination results where "serious illness or other grave cause which has clearly impacted upon the examination itself and of which, for sufficient reason, the Examining Body were not aware" has taken place. Tick the relevant ground on the Examination Review Form.

Examples when an examination review may be upheld

The University conducts many examinations every year, in 2020-21 there were 24,270 students, with the vast majority of these sitting multiple assessments. In 2020-21, 103 examination review requests were received, 58 were investigated and 10 were upheld - a rate of 0.004% of the student population. As a result, while it is highly unlikely that there will be an error in your results, it is not impossible. Some examples of when it might be appropriate to use the Procedure include:

  • (ground 1) An error in an examination question, which the examiners were not made aware of in advance of them confirming the final examination marks;
  • (ground 2) An examiner knowingly marking the work of a student who has previously submitted a formal complaint about the examiner, and therefore, where the examiner could be perceived to be biased;
  • (ground 3) Where lectures have not taken place due to industrial action, and they have not been re-scheduled or replaced but the examiners are unaware of this, and have therefore assumed that students have been taught this material.

However, it is not possible to use the Examination Review Procedure to question the academic judgement of the assessors or examiners. Therefore, a belief that your work was of a higher quality than the mark you achieved, would not be sufficient grounds for an examination review. In addition, if something went wrong in the examination but the examiners are already aware of the matter, then if they have already taken action it is highly likely that there would be no grounds for further action to be taken. Where you believe that the quality of teaching you received, including supervision, impacted your examination results, this is investigated using the Student Complaint Procedure. However, you should raise concerns about the quality of teaching as soon as the issue arises. If you have waited until receiving your examination results before raising a complaint, it is likely that your complaint will be out of time. Waiting for examination results is not a good reason for delaying a complaint and it limits the potential remedies the University can offer.

External ombudsman scheme

The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) runs an independent scheme to review student complaints, including examination reviews. We are a member of this scheme. If you are unhappy with the outcome you may be able to ask the OIA to review your examination review. You can find more information about making a complaint to the OIA, what it can and can’t look at and what it can do to put things right on the OIA website.

You normally need to have completed the Examination Review Procedure before you complain to the OIA. We will send you a letter called a “Completion of Procedures Letter” when you have reached the end of our processes and there are no further steps you can take internally. If your examination review is not upheld, we will issue you with a Completion of Procedures Letter automatically. If your examination review is upheld or partly upheld you can ask for a Completion of Procedures Letter if you want one. You can find more information about Completion of Procedures Letters on the OIA website.