I failed an exam last year and now I am retaking it but in a different format. Everytime I sit in front of my laptop to write the assignment I have anxiety. My anxiety is mainly caused by the fear I have to fail the exam or the fear to make the things wrong. The anxiety probably depends also on other reasons(I have a chronic disease plus other families related problems). I did not say anything to my teacher about the anxiety because I don't want he thinks I am using the anxiety as an excuse.

The problem is that I already asked for a small extension but now, I realized I need few more days. What should I do?I am spending all my days crying because I am stuck with this assignment and I cannot procede. I have the fear of the deadlines, I always wait the last days to finish an assignment because of my menthal status and the medical treatment the doctor gave is not helping me as I am feeling sleepy the whole day.

I don't know what exactly to ask to the teacher...If I can say the truth(stress/anxiety related problems) or if I can tell him that I need few days because I would like to achieve better result without talking about my mental status(which is something I need to fix as soon as possible).

Update 09/03/2020: I didn't receive any answer from the teacher :( I am feeling really really bad

  • 1
    Askng for an extension is fine, but asking for a second, or third is not especially when your plan is to wait until the time has run out - how much time was given for the original assignment? You should contact the teacher or a suitable advisor as soon as possible to deal with this.
    – Solar Mike
    Mar 7, 2020 at 22:41
  • yes, the problem is to ask for a second extension in this case :( I had around 1 months to work on the project (presentation + assignment) but after the last presentations I had to make some changes for the assignment...I asked for a 7 days extensions last week but I did not make a lot of work. Do you think I can ask him?or I can just write something and hopefully I will pass the exam
    – Lisa
    Mar 7, 2020 at 22:45
  • Why the downvote?
    – user111388
    Mar 8, 2020 at 11:15

2 Answers 2


Most universities have an office dedicated to helping students deal with disabilities of various kinds. Perhaps you should visit them. They can probably help with stress reduction. In extreme cases a doctor's help might be needed.

But, you might also consider asking your professor for an alternate way to take the exam than online. Perhaps taking it on paper would be helpful. Perhaps having someone else in the room with you would be helpful. But think about more options than just additional time. There is something going on in your life that suggests that time, alone, isn't the issue.

Even an oral exam is better for some people, though not everyone. But it requires a certain amount of empathy from the professor that not all will exhibit.

But if you need to ask, do so in person if at all possible. It is more likely to be successful and the professor might be able to suggest alternatives that won't come up in an email exchange.

  • I already had 2 oral exams for this "project" and now, I need to write the assignment. I cannot change the format of it. How can I ask to the teacher for an extension? I don't want to mention the "anxiety" problems. I would like to tell him that I want to achieve a better result because I am spending a lot of time doing the research...but I also would like to ask him if the extension will affect my grade(I just want to pass the exam).
    – Lisa
    Mar 7, 2020 at 22:47
  • 2
    @Lisa Hiding your anxiety issues at this point is probably a mistake. You have tried valiantly to cope unaided, other than by asking for extensions. Unfortunately, that has not worked. The next thing to try is getting help, possibly from a disability services office. Mar 8, 2020 at 0:47
  • I agree with you. I did not say anything because I did not want to expose myself or talk about my personal problems like a crazy person. I was also sick a lot of time last year due to my fragile body and I don't have a good reputation in terms of grades so I am feeling in a weak position. Last year had the impression that not even the teachers believed me when I said I was sick and with the sick note in hand.I am also loosing the motivation because I fell myself wrong in everything I do
    – Lisa
    Mar 8, 2020 at 2:00

It is not ideal to ask for multiple small extensions. Moreover, if your condition causes you to wait until the deadline to begin work, an extension may just push back the point at which you begin work, so think about what you really need here. In any case, your options are either to ask informally for another small extension, or put in a formal application under the policies of your university. The most important thing to do in this situation is to make sure you make a clear request, as early as possible. If you decide to make a formal request, I would recommend the following:

  • Read the university policy on extensions/special consideration, and make sure that what you are asking for is consistent with the rules set out in that policy. Ideally, you should frame your request in a way that makes it clear that you have read the policy, and that you are making a formal request under that policy. E.g., "In accordance with Rule 4.3 of the University Special Consideration Policy, I would like to apply for an extension of seven days for my assignment."

  • Clearly state how much of an extension you are asking for (i.e., when do you propose for the assessment item to fall due), and the basis for your request. Provide evidence of the adverse circumstances you are claiming --- for example, if you are suffering from a psychological/medical condition, then get a note from your doctor to this effect. If you cannot get this in time, put in your application anyway, and tell your professor that you will provide a medical certificate at a later date.

  • You do not need to worry about whether or not the professor will take your application as an "excuse", or what "impression" it will give them. Most professors are very matter-of-fact people who will assess an application for an extension/special consideration on an objective basis, based on the evidence in the application. If they think the requested extension is not merited, they will reject the request and then they will probably just forget about it. As the old saying goes, you wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you knew how seldom they do.

Regardless of whether you are able to get an extension on this piece of work, it is probably a good idea to go and talk to the university counselling service to deal with the broader problems you are having with anxieties over deadlines. Regardless of whether you are doing assessments at university, or projects in the workforce, managing deadlines effectively is a skill you will need to develop.

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