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Alternative arrangements for exams (Disability Access Plans)

To help you understand how your Disability Access Plan arrangements will be put into place for your exams.

Some students are entitled to alternative exam arrangements due to disabilities or long-term health conditions. These are set out in an agreed Disability Access Plan (DAP).

You can find general information on exams in the Student Guide to Exams.

Alternative arrangements in an exam room

A short video explaining how alternative arrangements can be put in place for in-person exams.

Discussing your support requirements

If you would like to review or discuss your support requirements ahead of the assessment period, please contact the Disability Service as soon as possible.

If you have not had arrangements before and think you might now need them, you must meet with the Disability Service as soon as possible.

Whilst we will do our best to support you, we can’t guarantee your support requirements will be in place in time for the exams. Your department or the Academic Registry will notify you if they have been able to put arrangements in place at the last minute .

Additional time and rest breaks

Additional time may be added to your exam time based on the recommendation in your DAP if you’re taking a time-limited exam, such as a fixed-time or a flexible-start exam. These can be exams using Inspera, or paper-based exams. Your will be able to see what type of exam you are sitting on your Exam Schedule.

You might be given:

  • extra time to complete the assessment, or
  • extra time to take rest breaks, or
  • both extra time to complete the assessment and time for rest breaks

If you are taking an Inspera open-24 hour exam you will already have sufficient time to attempt your assessment, and additional arrangements like extra time and rest breaks won’t be necessary.

Any additional time you are given for rest breaks will be calculated using the total exam duration. You won’t be given further rest breaks for the additional time you have been allocated.

If you have any questions during the exam period, the Exams Helpline is available.

How additional time is calculated

Your DAP may recommend additional time per hour to:

  • complete the assessment, or
  • take rest breaks, or
  • complete the assessment and take rest breaks

This additional time will be calculated by taking into account the total exam duration, which includes:

  • Exam work time - the standard amount of time for the exam.
  • Any file preparation and upload time you have been given.

These times are shown on your Exam Schedule and the Exam Instruction Sheet on the front of your exam paper.

For example, if you have a two-hour exam with one hour to create and upload files, the additional time you need will be calculated based on three hours (two hours, plus one hour).

Using your rest breaks

If you’ve been given additional time to take rest breaks you should only use it to take breaks. You should not work during this time.

To help you manage your personal needs, you can take your breaks at any stage throughout the exam. However, you will need to take responsibility for managing the time you have been given to complete your work. Your disability advisor will be able to advise you on the best practice for doing this.

If you are taking an in-person exam you should speak to the Invigilator before your exam starts so you can let them know how you may wish to take your rest breaks.

During your rest break, you may wish to stand or move around. However, please be mindful of any other candidates in the room. You can leave the room during your rest break, but you must let the Invigilator know so they can accompany you. If you leave the room unaccompanied, you will not be allowed to return to your desk and complete your exam.

How your additional time will be shown on Inspera

A screenshot of Inspera showing the start and end time of an exam, and how much extra time a student has on top and their own individual deadline as a separate date and time.
A screenshot of Inspera showing the normal start and end time for an exam, details of the extra time given to the student and their own, personalised deadline.

You will see the extra time you have been given as a separate line on the summary screen for each Inspera exam. This will look similar to the example above, and you will see:

  • how much extra time you have
  • your individual deadline to submit your exam. (The date and time will be different from the standard deadline, which is shown above).

When you attempt the exam you will be able to see in the top right-hand corner of the screen how many minutes you have left before the exam deadline to submit your attempt. This number includes your extra time. If you miss the deadline, the number will be replaced with 'Late submission'.

If your extra time does not show on Inspera, or if you think that you have not been given the correct amount of time, please contact  your Programme Administrator.

How your additional time will be shown for an in-person, paper-based exam

Your additional time will not appear on your SAMIS Exam Schedule. You will have been allocated the time as specified on your DAP.

Your Invigilator will discuss your arrangements with you when you enter the room, and if there are any discrepancies the Invigilator will ask for advice. If you have any queries about your arrangements during your exam, please let the Invigilator know. The Invigilator will write your exam end time (including any additional work time) on the white board at the front of the venue. They will also separately write down any additional time allocated to you for rest breaks, so that you are aware how much time has been allocated and can manage your time accordingly. You must inform the invigilator each time you take a break, so that the time taken can be added to the end time of the exam on the board and the remaining rest break time can be adjusted.

Assistive software

If you are using any assistive software (e.g., screen reader, text-to-speech etc.) you should familiarise yourself with how it works before the exam. It is important that you establish your own way of working ahead of the exams so that you are relaxed and confident when they begin. Assistive Technology can help you identify any specialist equipment you might need. Please also read our guide to preparing for your exams.

If you have been allocated a laptop for a paper-based exam you can choose whether to work on the laptop or use the answer booklet, or a mixture of both. If you are using the laptop, please remember to save your work regularly.

Exam support worker

You may have an entitlement to an exam support worker, such as a reader, scribe, and/or prompter. If you take up this support, we advise that you have a practice session prior to the exam period to familiarise yourself with the process. Disability Service will be in contact to confirm your exam support worker, and can provide further support and advice before and during the exam period. You can also contact them if you are unsure about the disability support that might be available to you.

Further sources of support

Contact us

If you have any questions about your alternative arrangements, please get in touch.

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