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  3. Exams, EMAs and emTMAs

Exams, EMAs and emTMAs


If a student is being released or moving to a different prison just prior to their exam please notify your regional SiSE support team immediately. If we are made aware soon enough we may be able to arrange for them to take their exam at an external venue or the prison they move to.

Exams take place at several times during the year, March, April, June and September depending on the module.

If you have a student who is due to take an exam you will receive an email several weeks in advance of the exam date providing you with the details of the student's name, the module they are studying and the date and time of the exam. You will also be requested to confirm the name of the person the exam packs should be sent to.

The examination packs will be sent out to prisons at least a week before the examination.

Changing the times of exams

The times of the exam can be changed to fit in with the regime of the prison if required but please notify your regional SiSE support team  if this is the case.

Changing the dates of exams

If you need to change the date of the exam this may also be possible but requires further approval from the exams team, please let your regional SiSE support team know as soon as possible so they can make this request.


Disabled Students

If you have a student who is disabled, and we have been made aware of this, you will also receive forms so they can apply for extra exam arrangements. Medical evidence will be required in support of any request made. There will be a deadline to apply for these to allow sufficient time to put any extra arrangements in place which is normally about 8 weeks prior to the exam, however we will notify you of the specific date. A copy of the exam arrangement forms can be also be downloaded from here.


Submitting End-of-Module Assessments - EMAs and emTMAs

Please submit in good time, extensions aren't allowed under any circumstances for EMAs or emTMAs.

If a student is struggling to submit by the deadline please speak to your regional SiSE support team for further advice.

End-of-Module Assessments (EMAs) and End-of-Module Tutor-Marked Assignments (emTMAs) are the final, marked piece of work on some modules.

They may be similar to Tutor-Marked Assignments (TMAs) but will usually be a longer piece of work. They'll usually cover the whole module rather than a part of it. The deadline for EMAs/emTMAs will always be fixed and they must reach the OU by this deadline.


EMAs/emTMAs can be submitted in the following ways:

Via The Open University's online eTMA system

To do this the EMA/emTMA needs to be a single file of up to 10MB in size which has been saved in a file format compatible with Microsoft Word* (a .doc, .docx or .rtf file)

By email to the eTMA mailbox

As above, the EMA/emTMA must be a single file of up to 10MB in size which has been saved in a file format compatible with Microsoft Word* (a .doc, .docx or .rtf file)

Assignments can be emailed into the eTMA system by submitting a blank email to with the assignment attached as a single attachment. The subject line of the e-mail must be entered with the student’s Personal Identifier (PI), the module code and the emTMA number in the format: A1234567/A111/06

If you send the EMA in this way, then the ‘TMA’ number must be 30, so will take the format: A1234567/A111/30

You will receive a confirmation e-mail confirming receipt of the assignment, we recommend that you keep hold of this until the assignment has been returned as proof of submission.

Please remember that electronic transmission isn't immediate and network traffic may be particularly heavy on the cut-off date

* This is the general submission rules but some modules apply specific rules to the file submission format.

Paper submission

Please do not send EMAs to the tutor. They should only be sent to Assessment Handling Operations, The Open University, P.O. Box 721 Walton Hall MILTON KEYNES MK7 6ZU

Paper submissions must arrive at the Walton Hall campus by noon on the cut-off date and you should allow at least three working days for delivery. Be sure to obtain proof of posting.

Submission guidelines

Information for students submitting end-of-module assessments (EMAs) and end-of-module tutor-marked assignments (emTMAs) electronically or on paper (PDF, 117.18 KB)


Cut-off date and late submission for EMAs and emTMAs

There is a grace period of 12 hours, so any examinable work received before midnight on the cut-off date will still be accepted.

Work received late but within 24 hours of the midnight grace period will be accepted for assessment but will be subject to a mark penalty.

If your work is received after the 24 hour period it will not be accepted for assessment and will be returned unmarked.

EMA/emTMA submission timing

Date Time Status
Cut-off date Submission received by 12:00 noon (UK local time) Received in time – work accepted for marking
Cut-off date, between 12:00 noon and 23:59 Submissions received by 23:59 (UK local time) Grace period – work accepted for marking and no penalty incurred
Day 1 after cut-off date, between 00:00 and 23:59 Submissions received by 23:59 (UK local time) Work accepted for marking – penalty incurred
Day 2 after cut-off date, 00:00 onwards Submissions received by 00:00 (UK local time) onwards Work not marked


Special circumstances

If something happens which negatively affects a student's performance in an exam or EMA/emTMA, they can ask the Module Result Panel to take this into account when the module result is agreed. It must be something that affected the student during the three weeks up to and including the exam date, EMA or emTMA submission cut-off date.

Special circumstances can only be considered if the student sat their exam or oral assessment, or they submitted the EMA or emTMA on time. They can't be considered if the student didn't go to the exam or submit at least a partial EMA or emTMA. 

What are special circumstances?

Special circumstances can only be considered in exceptional cases, so please think carefully whether your case merits attention before completing the form. The kinds of special circumstance we may make allowance for include:

  • serious and prolonged illness
  • bereavement
  • the loss of more than 10 minutes of exam time, due to circumstances beyond your control
  • inadequate adjustments made by the University for any disability or additional requirement we've been told about.

The information provided about the students special circumstances will only be used to their benefit. It’s passed to the Module Result Panel for them to consider when they meet to agree the final result. However, the Panel can only give limited weight to any information provided and don't consider events that could have been anticipated.

How to submit special circumstances

  • To inform the University about special circumstances affecting a student in prison or a secure hospital unit complete and submit the Special circumstances form.
  • The student must submit a separate form for each module where they feel their circumstances affected their performance.
  • The form(s) must be received before midnight (UK local time) on the day after the exam, speaking assessment, EMA submission or emTMA cut-off date.
  • The written third party evidence of what happened to adversely affect their performance must be received within 14 days of submitting the form and this can be sent to us afterwards.

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