Special Examination Arrangements
Students with disabilities, specific learning difficulties like dyslexia and short-term conditions (e.g. broken limbs, pregnancy) can apply to the Disability and Dyslexia Service for Special Examination Arrangements (SEA's).
The role of the Disability and Dyslexia Service (DDS) is to agree appropriate arrangements with the student. This is part of QMULs legal responsibility to offer its disabled students ‘reasonable adjustments’, as outlined in the Disability Discrimination Act and latterly the Equality Act.
All applications for special examination arrangements must be accompanied by medical evidence in the case of a disability or a diagnostic report in the case of a student with a specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia. This evidence must be in the English language and should be dated no more than two years prior to the date on the student’s application for special examination arrangements in the case of medical evidence or after the student’s sixteenth birthday in the case of students with specific learning difficulties.
As QMUL deals with students from Medicine and Dentistry slightly differently from those from the other two faculties the following text explains the procedures for all students at QMUL wishing to apply for examination arrangements.
To apply for exam arrangements students should complete the application form (available at the bottom of this page) by the deadline stated on the form. This is the latest date by which DDS can guarantee that special exam arrangements can be implemented for the end of year examinations.
Applications can be made after this date, but it is possible that they will not be in place until the following academic year.
Once the application has been received you will need to make an appointment with one of the Disability and Dyslexia Service’s advisers to discuss your requested recommendations. If you and the adviser agree on the recommendations, this information will be passed onto Registry who administer the end of year exams. It will also be passed to your academic department in case you have any in-class tests or mid-term tests that would be affected by your request for special examination arrangements.
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your request for special examination arrangements you will need to request for this decision to be reviewed. For more information about the review procedure please see QMUL's Special Examination Arrangements Policy and Terms of Reference documents (available at the bottom of this page)
Recommendations will usually be made for the lifetime of a student’s academic programme. The exceptions to this are where students request a review or amendment to their agreed recommendations or where a student has a temporary condition, such as a broken arm, that could reasonably be expected to recover from. In such cases the student would need to reapply the following academic year.
To apply for special examination arrangements Medicine and Dentistry students should complete the application form (available at the bottom of this page).
Students are required to apply for their examination arrangements no less than 30 working days before the date of their examination to ensure that the School of Medicine and Dentistry have sufficient time to implement these arrangements, (examinations in the School of Medicine and Dentistry are administered by the school itself).
The School of Medicine and Dentistry are able to make some accommodations in OSCES, such as printing scenarios on different coloured paper or enlarging font sizes. We are advised by the School of Medicine and Dentistry that they cannot administer different stations with differing amounts of time; however, MBBS students now have 7 minutes on shorter stations to allow more flexible reading time. These stations used to be 5 minutes with 1 minute reading time and are now 7 minutes in total. This additional time is provided to all students.
For more comprehensive guidelines on special exams arrangements in OSCES please contact the School of Medicine and Dentistry.
Students taking the final clinical exams in dentistry can request to circulate to the examiners the following document:
Please note that the Special Examination Arrangements (SEA) and Special Circumstances Affecting Placements (SCAP) processes are different. As such, students who require Special Examination Arrangements and Special Circumstances Affecting Placements need to apply for both separately. SEA applications are administered by the Disability and Dyslexia Service - please follow the details above. SCAP applications are administered by the School of Medicine and Dentistry. Please note that SCAP applications are for one year only, and as such students with ongoing requirements will need to reapply every academic year. Students should contact the Student Office (Garrod Building) for more information .
QMUL has a responsibility under the Equality Act 2010 to accommodate the needs of pregnant students, who form one of the ‘protected characteristics’ covered by the legislation. Pregnant students should present a MATB1 certificate to confirm their pregnancy to the Disability and Dyslexia Service who will be then able to recommend the provision of 25% additional time to compensate for the fact that they may need to leave the exam hall more frequently than their peers to use the bathroom. It is also advisable that pregnant students are sat near the door of the examination venue to minimise disruption to other students if and when they need to leave the exam room.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why is there a deadline for making an application for exam arrangements?
There is a deadline for making an application for special examination arrangements to ensure that Registry have sufficient time to put all of the recommendations in place. This year QMUL have over 800 students with special arrangements - these arrangements are bespoke, agreed on a student-by-student basis. Arrangements include everything from additional time to students using assistive software, to the provision of readers and amanuenses, or scribes. Making so many bespoke arrangements requires time to ensure that students can access the support that they need.
2. What happens if I miss the deadline?
You can still apply for exam arrangements, but there is no guarantee that they will be in place for that academic year’s examinations. If you feel you cannot take the examinations without special arrangements you can declare yourself not ‘fit to sit’ the exam and apply to QMUL's extenuating circumstances procedure.
3. I didn’t know that there was a deadline. Did you contact students to let them know?
Yes. All students declaring a disability are emailed from the Student Information System after enrolment has been completed in October to let them know about the Disability and Dyslexia Service, as well as the need to apply for special exam arrangements by the deadline.
We email everyone again in February to remind them – we also send an email to all students at QMUL to advise them that if they think that they need special arrangements in their examinations they need to contact the Disability and Dyslexia Service. If you make sure that you check your QMUL email address regularly you will receive all of these reminders.
4. I am from North America and usually get more than 25% additional time in examinations as a result of my specific learning difficulty.
In the United Kingdom students with dyslexia typically receive 25% additional time in their examinations, which is the level recommended in the 1999 Working Party report into supporting dyslexic students within Higher Education. You can request more than this, but it is unlikely you will be recommended any more than 25%.