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Assessment and screening : 4. Exam Access Arrangements

4. Exam Access Arrangements

In most public and professional examinations, special arrangements are permitted to give a more equal opportunity to those with dyslexia, reading difficulties or other recognised difficulties.  Most examining bodies do not want a person to fail or underperform simply because they have made mistakes reading the question or been unable to write sufficiently quickly or legibly.

Different examination bodies have different requirements for evidence that such special arrangements are justified.  

Dyslexia Action offers Exam Access Arrangements assessments and advice for children and adults who may need specific arrangements made during their exams at school, college or in professional development. 

The Exam Access Arrangement report will provide specific details and recommendations for examinations which could include:

  • Extra time usually 25%
  • Reader or a scribe
  • A separate room
  • Use of a computer (spell check is disabled) or a prompt.

Primary schools do not require an access arrangement report; but it is required for GCSEs, A Levels and other examinations where there is limited time.

The assessment for exam access arrangement usually takes between 1 and 1.5 hours. 

Who applies for the access arrangements?

The application for special examination arrangements is made by the school and must include evidence of a history of the difficulty and that the student has made use of such arrangements as part of his or her normal means of working.

Under current regulations, schools may ask an assessor from Dyslexia Action to complete one section of the application called ‘Form 8’.  

To find out more about assessments and screenings, contact your local Learning Centre.

For further information about our online training courses for Exam Access Arrangements (designed for qualified assessment professionals and support staff) click here 

Abagail’s Story

Abagail was assessed by Dyslexia Action when she was 7 years old. She is now 12 and has been having lessons at Dyslexia Action Nottingham, since she was diagnosed.

“When I was assessed, and they told me I was dyslexic, I felt like it was something new; a new thing that been made up, because no one had told me about dyslexia before."

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