How To Write an Email To Request a Test Deferral

Navigating the delicate process of deferring a test requires tact and clear communication, particularly when circumstances prevent you from fulfilling your academic commitments.

This comprehensive guide is crafted to assist you in composing a courteous and effective email to your instructor for such an occasion. We’ll walk you through the essential elements to include in your message, from the initial preparatory steps to the final email templates designed to facilitate a respectful dialogue about your situation.

Whether you’re facing a personal emergency or an unforeseen event, our step-by-step guide ensures that you handle your test cancellation with professionalism and consideration for all parties involved.

What To Do Before Writing the Email

Before you start writing the email to cancel a test, it’s essential to take a few preparatory steps:

  • Contact your instructor as soon as possible: Reach out to your instructor promptly to inform them about your intention to cancel the test. This shows respect and consideration for their time.
  • Gather relevant information: Make sure you have all the necessary details about the test, such as the date, time, course name, and any specific instructions or requirements.
  • Review the syllabus or test policy: Familiarize yourself with your class’s syllabus or test policy to understand any guidelines or procedures related to test cancellation.

What to Include In the Email

When writing an email to cancel a test, it’s crucial to include the following information:

Date, Time, and Course Details

Start the email by clearly stating the date and time of the test you want to cancel, along with the specific course name. This ensures clarity and helps the instructor identify the correct test.

Reason for Cancellation

Provide a brief, honest, and clear explanation for why you are canceling the test. It could be due to illness, a family emergency, or any other genuine reason. Be concise and avoid unnecessary details.

Apologize and Express Regret

Show understanding and apologize for any inconvenience caused by your decision to cancel the test. Express regret for not being able to take the test as scheduled. This demonstrates your professionalism and consideration for the instructor’s time.

Possible Alternatives

Suggest possible alternative solutions, if applicable. For example, you might propose rescheduling the test or exploring options for making up the missed test. However, keep in mind that the final decision lies with the instructor.

Contact Information

Ensure that you include your contact information (email and phone number) in the email, making it easy for the instructor to reach out and discuss the situation further if needed.

Email Template – Cancelling a Test

Subject: Test Deferral – [Course Name] – [Date and Time]

Dear [Instructor’s Name],

I am writing this email to inform you that I am unable to attend the test scheduled for [date] at [time] for the [course name]. Due to [provide a brief reason for cancellation, such as medical reasons or a family emergency], I will not be able to take the exam as originally planned.

I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused by this last-minute change. I understand the importance of adhering to the test schedule and appreciate your understanding in this matter.

If possible, I would like to discuss potential alternatives for rescheduling the test or any arrangements to make up for the missed exam. Please let me know if there is a suitable time for us to meet and address this issue.

You can reach me via email at [provide your email address] or by phone at [provide your phone number].

Thank you for your understanding and assistance. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


[Your Name]

Second Email Template (Alternative)

Subject: Request for Test Cancellation – [Course Name] – [Date and Time]

Dear [Instructor’s Name],

I wanted to reach out as soon as possible to discuss the upcoming test scheduled for [date] at [time] in the [course name]. Unfortunately, due to [explain the reason for cancellation briefly], I am unable to attend the test as planned.

I understand the significance of adhering to the test schedule, and I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused by this unforeseen circumstance. I wanted to request your guidance on how we can handle this situation, whether through rescheduling the test or considering an alternative solution.

Please let me know your availability to discuss this matter further. I am open to any suggestions or arrangements you may have to ensure that the integrity of the evaluation process is maintained.

You can contact me via email at [provide your email address] or by phone at [provide your phone number]. I appreciate your understanding and flexibility regarding this matter.

Thank you for your attention to this request.

Best regards,

[Your Name]


Writing an email to cancel a test requires professionalism, clarity, and consideration. Make sure to inform your instructor promptly, provide a valid reason, apologize for any inconvenience caused, and suggest possible alternatives if applicable. Remember to include your contact information for further communication. By following these steps and using the provided templates, you can effectively communicate your test cancellation.

Tips for Cancelling a Test via Email

  • Notify your instructor as soon as possible to allow them time to adjust their schedule.
  • Be honest and provide a valid reason for canceling the test.
  • Apologize for any inconvenience caused and express regret for not being able to take the test.
  • Suggest alternative solutions if appropriate, but respect the instructor’s final decision.
  • Include your contact information for easy communication.