Fit to Sit Policy

My university recently announced that from September, medical students will no longer be able to apply for post assessment mitigating circumstances if they attend an exam, and this has led to a lot of outrage.

These new “fit to sit” rules state that students have to file for mitigating circumstances before an exam, or not turn up and hope that their application gets approved. Apparently the reason for this change is to prepare medical students for practise in the workplace, where doctors have to judge their own fitness to attend work.

I can kind of see where they’re coming from with that, and I guess this new change will stop people from falsely claiming mitigating circumstances, just because an exam didn’t go as well as they’d hoped, but it’s still quite unfair. Sitting an exam will be very different to working on a ward, so it doesn’t make sense to me to enforce this rule to prep students for lives as doctors.

Also, what about students with mental health problems? Or those that get asthma attacks, epileptic fits and migraines? Unpredictable things can happen during exams, so denying medical students the ability to apply for mitigating circumstances after assessments could lead to massive problems.

The ‘pilot year’ of this all will begin in September, and at the moment meetings regarding the policy are still going on so who knows, maybe the decision will be reconsidered before we go back? I sure hope so.


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