Exam adjustments

If you are disabled or have a health condition that you feel might impact on your ability to perform in exams, you can apply for examination adjustments.

On this page:

Types of examination adjustments 

Examination adjustments are arranged by the Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing team in UCL Student Support and Wellbeing. There are a range of possible adjustments available, but the exact adjustments you receive will be specific to your circumstances. We always base the support we provide around students' needs.

Exam-related adjustments may include the support outlined below.

Assistive technology

You may be able to use a PC and assistive software to enable you to effectively undertake your exam. The assistive technology you use in exams will be discussed with an adviser and outlined in your Summary of Reasonable Adjustments (SORA).

Timing and breaks

We can provide students with extra time when sitting their exams. How much extra time you receive will depend on your individual circumstances and will be made clear with one of our advisers. 

You may also be able to have extra breaks during your exams that will not impact on your writing time. The extra breaks you receive will depend on your individual circumstances and will be made clear with one of our advisers. 

Physical or human adjustments

We can provide examination papers in a variety of formats that are most accessible to you, including those in large print or in braille.

We may also be able to provide a reader or a scribe, or adapted or ergonomic furniture. You may also be able to sit your exam in a smaller venue.

How to apply

A UCL Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing adviser will consider your request for examination adjustment arrangements. The first step is to book an individual appointment or get in touch with us through the askUCL online enquiries system. The adviser will talk you through the process.

You must provide medical or diagnostic evidence to support your request.

2021 deadlines

Requests for examination adjustment arrangements for the main examination period must be agreed by a UCL Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing adviser no later than 3 weeks before the start of the main examination period.  The deadline is 5pm  Monday 12 April  UK time (BST (UTC+1 hour). 

For the Late Summer Assessment period, requests must be received no later than 3 weeks before the start of the Late Summer Assessment period.  The deadline is midnight UK time (BST (UTC+1 hour)  Sunday 1st August 2021.   

Requests for examinations outside the main examination period or Late Summer Assessment period (ie. departmentally organised exams) must be submitted at least 6 weeks in advance. 

If your examination adjustment arrangements have already been approved by UCL for the full duration of your course, then there is no need to re-apply each year. You will only need to reapply if you are requesting a change to your current provisions, or have changed your programme of study. 

Sudden illness or accidental injury

In the event of sudden illness or accidental injury, you can apply for examination adjustments up to 3 weeks before the start of the exam period in question (deadlines above).

After this deadline has passed, if you feel unable to sit your exams without adjustments then you should apply for a deferral to the next normal exam period under the Extenuating Circumstances regulations. You can then apply for adjustments to take effect in the next exam period, if necessary.  

Contact us through askUCL if you need to discuss your individual circumstances.

Frequently asked questions

These are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions related to examination adjustments. If you have a question that is not answered below, please get in touch.

What evidence do I need to provide?

Students with a Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD) like dyslexia, dyspraxia or AD(H)D must provide evidence of a full diagnostic assessment carried out by a psychologist with a practising certificate, or a specialist teacher holding an assessment practising certificate.

If you are applying on other grounds, you will need to provide us with a letter or report from a qualified medical practitioner e.g. a GP or psychiatrist. The documentation must be signed and dated. It must include details of the diagnosis given and provide some general information on how this may impact on your studies and/or daily life. 

If you do not provide sufficient evidence, we will not be able to consider your application for examination adjustments.

I had examination adjustments last year - do I need to reapply?

Please check the original letter or Summary of Reasonable Adjustments (SORA) that was issued stating your examination adjustments. The SORA or letter will say whether your adjustments were agreed for the duration of your programme or for 'temporary injury' only. 

'Temporary injury' adjustments are only in place for the current academic year, meaning you will need to reapply in subsequent years. 

If the SORA or letter states 'permanent' or 'duration of programme', you only need to reapply if you have re-enrolled on a different programme, or if your circumstances have changed (see separate FAQ below).

I do not feel that I can sit my upcoming exams - what should I do?

If you want to request a deferral of examinations on the grounds of your health, please contact us to discuss your options. Examination deferral requests are handled through the Extenuating Circumstances procedure.

Contact us through askUCL.

I have injured my hand and cannot write - what should I do?

Depending on the nature of your exams and your injury, we should be able to make adjustments which will enable you to sit your exams. This might involve providing a scribe, the use of a computer or additional writing time. 

Please contact us to apply for adjustments and ensure you give details on the specific format of your exams, e.g. if they involve drawing or writing in a foreign language. If you are unsure what you think would work best, please contact us for guidance.

Contact us through askUCL.

What happens next after I have applied for examination adjustments?

An adviser will email your UCL email account with a Summary of Reasonable Adjustments (SORA), which contains information about the examination adjustments we can recommend for you. Please check this carefully, and respond to the adviser if you have any queries about the recommendations. 

You should take note of whether the adjustments are for the duration of your programme (which will be the case if you have a condition with stable effects) or for the current exam period only (for effects that are likely to change). If you are happy with the examination adjustments proposed, please select the option to approve the SORA on Portico as soon as possible to give your consent for this information to be shared with your academic department and UCL Academic Services (the Examinations team). 

If you have applied successfully for exam adjustments and have received and approved your SORA after the publication of the final exams timetable, please check on Portico for your exam details, as it is likely that your examination venue will have changed.

If you are unhappy with your examination adjustments, please ask us about the appeals procedure.

If I had a change in circumstances and think my adjustments need review, should I reapply?

Yes - when you contact us, please clarify that you are making a repeat application.

Please provide updated medical evidence which indicates a change in circumstances or diagnosis and explain why you feel your previous adjustments are no longer sufficient.

Contact us through askUCL.