Exam Access Requirements

If you have a disability or health condition that impacts your learning and exam results, you may be eligible for access arrangements for your exams. These arrangements are considered ‘reasonable adjustments’ under the Equality Act.

Access Arrangements can include:

  • Extra time the amount demands on the reason and the impact this has on your working memory/processing/co-ordination/results. Typically if granted extra time is 25% but it can be more for some.
  • A reader
  • A scribe
  • A practical assistant for example in a maths or science exam
  • A prompt (a person to keep you focused and on task). 
  • The use of an exam reading pen, a computer  or assistive software (screen reader/voice recognition)
  • Exam papers printed on coloured paper as per your needs Or other modified materials like Braille or large print papers.
  • Supervised rest breaks (not included in any extra time if eligible) 
  • A separate room for the exam or a smaller room rather than being in a large hall.

Details on the types of adjustments and who qualifies is explained by the Joint Qualifications Council here https://www.jcq.org.uk/exams-office/access-arrangements-and-special-consideration

You can get exam access arrangements if you are entitled for public exams like GCSE’s and A Levels,  Functional Skills, other vocational exams and other tests  e.g. theory driving test  or teacher training skills tests.

When determining access requirements there are a number of factors considered such as the assessor’s report for example and what these test results indicate or the medical evidence for example from a medical consultant or GP. Also considered is the knowledge an education establishment has of the individual and the individuals normal way of working such as in class do they have support like they are asking for?

There must be evidence that the access arrangements would be beneficial at removing disadvantage without giving unfair advantage. Simply having a condition like Dyslexia does not automatically give access arrangements it must be the normal working arrangements in the classroom/when learning. Also you do not necessarily need a formal diagnosis like Dyslexia to be entitled to arrangements it depends on a number of factors like the assessors findings. It also depends on the subject being taken and the purpose of the exam being taken in that subject.

You do NOT automatically need a identified SEN need or an EHCP to qualify. It does however take time to get evidence of need to support exam access arrangements and education establishments need to apply for any arrangements so notice must be given to give time to put provision in place. Also once in place with exam boards most access arrangements in most situations are in place for 26 months.  The person do the assessment for access arrangements must be a specialist teacher with a Level 7 EAA assessing qualification.

You also need to try out different strategies to see what works best for you and your studies if you . If for example you have Dyslexia try out different colour overlays/paper does this help? See how you feel having human help like a reader or do you prefer a reading pen? Does a computer help? Does assisted technology help? Technology takes time, training and practice to get the best results and as said must be your normal working. 

Special Consideration however is different from Access Arrangements and is asked for after exams in exceptional situations such as if someone experienced considerable illness or a bereavement. 

This video is about the C reader exam pen