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Exams at UCT

Exams at UCT

Your final grade will be awarded through assessment of a combination of essays, assignments, tests, class participation/presentation and exams. Exams usually count for a significant proportion of your final course result. Your lecturers will explain the system for their course at the outset.


Exam timetable

Exams are written in the ‘exam period’, which is set annually and published in the academic calendar. The final exam timetable is set centrally by the university and is not flexible.

The rules require that students write the exam on the date and in the venue published in the exam timetable. It is important you only make travel arrangements for after the semester (and exam session) has ended.

If you need to make plans for an internship programme or you have any queries regarding suitable dates to leave, please check the academic calendar or email


Permission to write exams

Students must meet the minimum course Due Performance (DP) requirements to be eligible to write the final invigilated exam.

The DP requirements typically relate to class attendance and submission of assignments or coursework throughout the semester and are published in the course outline in the faculty handbook. Each course has different DP requirements which will be explained to you at the outset. If you have any questions, chat to your lecturer or course convenor.

Students who meet the DP requirements are issued with a notional DP certificate giving them permission to write the final exam for the end-of-semester assessment. Students who do not qualify for a DP certificate will find their names on a DP Refused list. If your name is on the DPR list, you will not be allowed to write the final exam. Your course grade outcome will be DPR (a fail grade).


Missing an exam due to illness and injury

If you cannot write an exam because of illness or injury, or if you fall ill in the exam venue, you must notify the academic department (or exam venue invigilator) and then report immediately to the Student Wellness Centre for assessment. You should not see another doctor for this purpose.

You will then need to apply for a deferred exam. Contact for assistance with your application.


Extra time accommodations for tests or examinations

Students with physical or learning disabilities which affect performance under test or examination conditions may qualify for specified accommodations or an extra time concession. Read the FAQ or contact us for advice in accessing this service. There are specific application requirements and submission timelines to apply to be considered for special concessions. Make sure to write to us in good time to receive the relevant information. To contact Disability Service directly, write to:

The deadlines for registering with the Disability Service are

1st Semester: 20 March
2nd Semester: 20 August

Register as soon as possible to ensure you have the necessary approvals and accommodations in time for your first test.

You will need the following supporting documents in your application to the Disability Service. 

  • the accommodations letter issued by your home university. This is the letter that lists what accommodations you currently receive from your home university.
  • for accommodations for a specific learning disability, an assessment report from an appropriately qualified psychologist.
  • for accommodations for a physical or sensory disability, or chronic illness, the relevant medical documentation, including certificates and reports from your medical practitioner or specialist.
  • for access to a secluded exam venue on the grounds of mental health disability, a report from your mental health practitioner.

Download the guidelines on availability of and eligibility for extra time concessions
Download the guidelines on how to apply for extra time concessions


Late withdrawal from courses

Do pay special attention to the deadlines for submitting a change of curriculum request to withdraw from a course.

You can apply to drop a course by completing a Change of Curriculum request and submitting it to your faculty office by the end of the 6th week of teaching in the semester.

After this deadline, it is not possible to remove the course from the transcript. Any abandoned courses will be graded ‘incomplete’ (which is a fail grade).

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