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Special examination arrangements

A number of students across the University qualify for special examination and assessment arrangements, either due to disability, medical or personal problems, or religious observance.

Examples of such arrangements include:

  • Being allowed extra time in which to complete examinations and timed assessments;
  • Being allowed to take rest breaks during examinations and timed assessments;
  • Not being penalised for poor spelling, grammar or awkward sentence structure in examinations and in coursework;
  • Being allowed to use a computer in examinations and timed assessments;
  • Being allowed to use an amanuensis (scribe) or reader in examinations and timed assessments;
  • Being provided with examination question papers in large print;
  • Being allowed to sit examinations in an alternative venue;
  • Adjusting a student's examination timetable to accommodate religious observance.

If you need special examination and/or assessment arrangements to be made for you, please read the information below. You should note that to ensure fairness to all candidates, you will be asked to provide supporting documentation to confirm why special arrangements are required. 

1. Students with specific learning difficulties (such as dyslexia or dyspraxia)

Students with specific learning difficulties (such as dyslexia or dyspraxia) often qualify for extra time in which to complete examinations and timed assessments. Such students are also commonly entitled to not be penalised for poor spelling, grammar or awkward sentence structure in examinations and in coursework, where appropriate.  In some cases, students with specific learning difficulties are also allowed to use a computer, amanuensis (scribe) or reader in examinations.

If you have already been formally diagnosed as having specific learning difficulties, please provide a copy of your Educational Psychologist or Specialist Teacher Assessor's assessment report to the Disability Advisory Service in the Carrington Building. Our Specialist Teacher Assessor will review your assessment report. Provided that your report is sufficiently recent and contains enough information, the Specialist Teacher Assessor will make recommendations for your University examinations and assessments based upon it.

If your report is more than three years old, or does not contain enough detail, you may be asked to make an appointment for a new assessment.

An assessment or re-assessment for specific learning difficulties is charged at £350 for undergraduate and taught postgraduate students. This amount will be waived for students in receipt of a University bursary. If you are studying at the Greenlands campus or the College of Estate Management you will be charged a separate fee - please contact the Disability Advisory Service for further details. Students who wish to be assessed but are concerned about the charge are invited to discuss this with the Disability Advisory Service.

If you think you may have specific learning difficulties, but have not yet been formally assessed, you may wish to discuss your concerns with your Academic Tutor or School Disability Representative in the first instance. You may also refer yourself to the Disability Advisory Service for a full assessment for specific learning difficulties.

Click here for more detailed information on the examination and assessment arrangements for students with specific learning difficulties.

2. Students with disabilities other than dyslexia or dyspraxia

If you need special examination and assessment arrangements to be made because of a disability other than dyslexia or dyspraxia, please contact your Academic Tutor or School Disability Representative to discuss your requirements as soon as possible after commencing your programme of study. You can also contact the Disability Advisory Service.

If special arrangements were made for previous examinations you have taken (e.g. at school or college), then it is helpful if you can provide documentation giving details of the arrangements that were put in place.

Your School or the Disability Advisory Service will then liase with the Examinations Office to ensure that appropriate provision is made for your University examinations and assessments.

3. Students with medical or personal problems

If you suffer from medical or personal problems that mean you need special examination and/or assessment arrangements, please discuss your requirements with your Academic Tutor, the Disability Advisory Service or the Examinations Office as soon as possible.  Problems for which special arrangements in examinations can be made include:

  • Medical conditions whereby students need to take rest breaks and/or stretch/move around;
  • Medical conditions whereby students are unable to write their examination answers by hand (and so need to use a computer or amanuensis);
  • Medical conditions whereby students need to use the bathroom frequently;
  • Panic attacks;
  • Depression.

Please note, however, that space is very limited in our special examination centre(s), and we are only able to accommodate students with the greatest need.

4. Students who are unable to sit examinations on a particular day/during a particular period for religious reasons

If you are unable, for religious reasons, to sit examinations on a particular day or during a particular period, you should contact the Examinations Office as soon as possible after commencing your programme of study. Provided that the examination timetable has not been produced, it may be possible for us to schedule your examinations to accommodate your religious observance.

Please note that you will be asked to provide evidence (usually in the form of a letter from your religious leader) to confirm that you are unable to sit examinations on a particular day/during a particular period.

5. Students who suffer unexpected problems immediately before or during their examinations

In the unfortunate event that you suffer unexpected medical or other problems immediately before or during your examinations, please alert both your Academic Tutor and the Examinations Office as soon as possible. If you are still able to sit your examinations, we will try to make special arrangements so that your needs can be accommodated.

If you discover at the last minute that you are unable to sit an examination at a particular time, we may be able to arrange for you to sit the examination earlier or later than scheduled.  However, it will not normally be possible to move the examination to a different day.

If you fall ill on the day of an examination, you should first seek medical help. If you recover sufficiently, we may be able to arrange for you to take the paper later the same day.

If your problem means that you are unable to sit your examination(s), or that your performance is badly affected, you should complete an Extenuating Circumstances Form as soon as you are well enough to do so, and before the published deadline.

Once complete, this form should be returned to your School Office, with the appropriate documentation attached. Further information is given in the 'Examination Arrangements: What you Need to Know' document, a link to which will be sent with your personal examination timetable.

Where special arrangements are set up in advance for your centrally timetabled examinations, we will write to you about a month or so before they begin to confirm the practical arrangements.

6. Retrospective Allowance

The policy on Retrospective allowance for students diagnosed with a disability during their programme of study is available on the retrospective allowance page.

7. Further Information

For further information about special arrangements, please contact Colin Baker in the Exams Office.

If you wish to get in touch with the Disability Advisory Service, please email disability@reading.ac.uk, or visit them in the Carrington Building.

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