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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.

This page is part of the University's Student Guide to 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).

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 did not have arrangements this year and think you now need them, you must meet with the Disability Service as soon as possible for an assessment. 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 last minute arrangements in place.

Additional time and rest breaks

If you’re taking a time-limited exam (a  ‘fixed-time' or a ‘flexible-start’ exam, as set out on the exam schedule, additional time may be added to your exam time based on the recommendation in your DAP. 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

Alternatively, you may be taking an open-24 hour exam. In this case, you’ll already have more time to attempt your assessment, so additional arrangements like extra time and rest breaks won’t be needed.

If you have any questions during the exam period, the Exams Helpline is available from 8am to 6pm British Summer Time (BST), Monday to Friday, throughout the exam period.

How your 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:

  • the standard amount of time for the exam (the ‘expected work’ outlined on the exam schedule and
  • any additional submission time allowance (also detailed on the  exam schedule and the Exam Instruction Sheet on the front of your exam paper).

For example, if you have a two-hour exam with a one-hour submission time allowance, the additional time you need will be calculated based on three hours (two hours + one hour).

Additional time for rest breaks

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 to cover the additional time you have been allocated.

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 disability, you can take your breaks at any stage throughout the exam, but 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 practices for doing this.

If you are taking an in-person, paper-based 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 other candidates if they are in the room. If you wish to leave the room during your rest break this is permitted but you must let the Invigilator know as they must accompany you. If you leave the room unaccompanied you will not be permitted to return to your desk to complete your exam.

How your additional time will be shown on Inspera

The additional time you are given will be incorporated into your exam time. On Inspera, you will see the extra time included within the start and end time for each of your exams approximately a week before the start of the assessment period.

If additional time does not appear to have been added to the duration of your exams, or if you think that you have not been allocated the correct amount of additional time, please contact  your Programme Administrator.

How you will know your additional time has been included for an in-person, paper-based exam

Your additional time will not appear on your SAMIS schedule. You will have been allocated the time as specified on your DAP and you will have been scheduled into a room in the Chancellors’ Building.

You do not need to check your additional time is in place prior to the exam.

Your Invigilator will discuss your arrangements with you when you enter the room, and if there are any discrepancies the Invigilator will contact the Academic Registry for advice. If you have any queries about your arrangements during your exam, please let the Invigilator know. The Invigilator will write your end time (including additional time for breaks) on the white board at the front of the venue, so that you are aware how much time has been allocated and can manage your time accordingly.

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 period. 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 new process. The Disability Service will be in contact with you about this and can provide further support and advice before and during the exam period. You can contact them if you are unsure about the disability support that might be available to you.