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Acceptable Reasons to Miss an exam: 15 Good Excuses and Tips

Reasons to miss Exam

Many students find themselves in a situation where they must miss an exam. Maybe you had a car accident, were sick, or simply forgot about it.

Whatever the reason, there are ways for you to make up for the lost time and still pass the class. Below are good excuses/tips that might help with this.

15 Acceptable reasons to Miss an exam: Good excuses and Tips

There are a lot of reasons you can miss an exam. But when you do, it’s important to explain your absence in a way that won’t get you into trouble with the professor.

a good reason

Here are some good excuses and tips for explaining why you missed the exam.

1. Illness

If you are ill, you should let your instructor know immediately. If your illness is serious enough to need a doctor’s note, you must be absent from the exam.

However, if your sickness is not severe and you have medication for it, you can send an excuse form to the instructor.

If you are ill and cannot attend an exam scheduled for later than one day after your absence, you can write an excuse letter to the instructor explaining why there will be no makeup exam.

You must also give information about where you were hospitalized or how long it took to recover from your illness.

2. Family Emergency

If one of your family members has fallen ill or had an accident, it’s okay to miss a test or two as long as it’s truly an emergency and not just something that could wait until after finals.

You can also use this excuse if someone else needs to take care of you such as a parent who needs to help with homework.

3. Job interview

a job interview

Suppose something came up unexpectedly at work, like a last-minute interview. In that case, it might be okay for you to miss a few exams because this situation is more critical than taking them until after finals.

This is especially true if the job is filled, but there’s still time left before hiring.

4. Maternity Leave

You’re going on maternity leave or other leave from your job. You may have a baby within two weeks after the exam date.

Alternatively, the baby is sick, and the mother has to take care of the child and nurse him/her back to health.

5. Death of a relative

A death in the family brings up many emotions, including fear and anxiety about the future. Losing a loved one can leave you feeling helpless and overwhelmed by grief. It may be hard to concentrate on schoolwork when your mind is focused on dealing with this crisis.

If this happens to you, there are two options: You can either skip schoolwork until your emotions stabilize or take advantage of any free time that allows you to relax and reflect on your situation.

6. Relocation

moving to new city

Relocating is one of the most stressful times in life, especially when you’re trying to get your degree. The stress of packing and moving can make you lose focus on your studies.

If your current residence is in an area with no school nearby, it is usually easier for you to join the new school rather than commute.

7. Religious obligation

Some people believe they cannot attend class on religious grounds or because they want to observe holy days such as Ramadan or Christmas.

In this case, you should explain clearly why your religion does not allow you to attend school during these times and what arrangements parents have made so that the student can study during these times.

8. Mental health issues

Sometimes students suffer from mental problems like anxiety or depression that make them feel unwell and unable to concentrate on their studies properly.

These issues should be discussed with a psychologist who can help find ways of treating them effectively so that they do not affect their performance negatively.

9. Weather

You were stuck at home because of bad weather conditions and couldn’t make it to school. Weather is an acceptable reason for missing an exam, but it’s legitimate.

bad weather

We all know that the weather can be unpredictable, and if you’re going to be studying where it’s supposed to rain or snow or otherwise be less than ideal, it might be better to take the exam another day.

You don’t want to end up with an incomplete because of something beyond your control.

10. Birth of a child

The most common reason for missing an exam is the birth of a child.

A woman who has just given birth can be excused from all or part of her exams for up to one month after the birth, provided she presents a medical certificate stating that she is suffering from any complications related to pregnancy.

11. Job Loss/Referral to another Job

However, the most common reason people miss an exam is that they have a job. You have responsibilities and obligations that can’t be ignored when you’re in the workforce.

Some people miss exams because they need to take care of their family or because they have to work extra shifts or overtime. Other people miss exams because they have a lot on their plate and don’t have time to study.

12. Accident

If you miss an exam because of an accident, it’s understandable. You may have been in a car accident or had a medical emergency.

accident scene

In some cases, you may be able to get the exam rescheduled if you submit a doctor’s note and pay a fee.

Accidents happen. No matter how careful you are, someone may slip on a banana peel and fall down the stairs. In addition to the physical injuries that can occur, there are also psychological impacts.

13. Natural Calamity

Natural calamities like earthquakes can affect your country’s transportation system, leading to your flight being delayed or canceled.

That can force you not to take your exam because you need time to make arrangements for alternative transportation to get back home as soon as possible.  That can also applies if a tsunami causes flight cancellations.

14. School/College Holidays

Schools and colleges often close during summer, winter, and spring breaks. In some cases, students may even be excused from attending classes because they participate in extra-curricular activities or travel to another city/country for recreational purposes.

However, if you miss an exam due to school holidays, you must let your teachers know about this as soon as possible so that they can choose a replacement for you in case there are no replacements available.

15. Lack of transport to get to the exam venue

empty wallet

There are many reasons you may miss an exam. The most common is that you did not get to the exam venue in time. This can be due to many different reasons, such as; your train or bus was delayed.


Don’t take it lightly when you’re given an opportunity to make up a test or an exam. Plan as best as you can and try to be on time. Missed exams are missed opportunities to do well! Never forget that your grades are only average if you have many failed attempts.

In this article, we have mentioned some commonly accepted reasons for being late for exams; however, understand that different universities have different polices. You must clarify this with your university by asking them directly on their websites.

Also, be aware that some of the reasons stated may be construed as unacceptable by your exam supervisors, and you could still be penalized.