Reasonable adjustments to your assessments

If you are disabled or have a health condition that you feel might impact on your ability to perform in assessments, you can apply for reasonable adjustments to your assessment(s).

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Types of reasonable adjustments 

Reasonable 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.

The type of support available also depends on the type of assessment that you are taking e.g. controlled condition exams, take-home papers, coursework etc. Full details are included in the Student Regulations for Exams and Assessments 2022-23.

Students with protected characteristics such as parents, key workers, those observing religious beliefs, and any student experiencing discrimination, harassment or trauma should apply for support under academic adjustments.

Students needing adjustments for placements should apply for support through Workplace Health. Students can self-refer or be referred by their department.

In January 2020, a Student Support Review was established to revise UCL’s regulations and procedures relating to student support, including Extenuating Circumstances, Reasonable Adjustments, and Fitness to Study. The Student Support Framework has now been agreed by UCL’s Education Committee for implementation in the Academic Manual for the 2022-23 session onwards.

SoRA applications must be received by the Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing team by certain deadlines each year. Dates can be found on the SoRA website.

  • Deadline for Main Summer Central Assessment Period: Monday 3rd April 2023

  • Deadline for Late Summer Central Assessment Period: Monday 31st July 2023

If you miss this deadline, please still reach out to Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing.

For more information about SORAs, see the dedicated UCL website or get in touch with the team. The Student Support and Wellbeing team provide a safe, confidential, and non-judgmental space in which you can discuss any issues that may be affecting your ability to study. Your needs are their primary concern.

Assistive technology

You may be able to use a PC and assistive software to enable you to effectively undertake your assessment. The assistive technology you use in assessments 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 exams and take-home papers. 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 or take-home papers 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. 

Note: If you have been granted extra time for an assessment as part of a Summary of Reasonable Adjustments (SORA), it is important to note that this additional time is not shown on your Central Assessment Timetable but it is included in the assessment duration shown on AssessmentUCL. You must complete and submit your assessment by the time and date shown in AssessmentUCL.  

Physical or human adjustments

We can provide exam papers and assessment briefs 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 if you are taking face-to-face assessments. You may also be able to sit your assessment in a smaller venue.

Coursework extensions

For essays, dissertations, reports, research projects etc. you may be eligible for extensions. 

Please speak with your SORA contact for details on how your coursework extensions will be applied. We advise informing your module leader when you will be using your extension.

How to apply

A UCL Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing adviser will consider your request for reasonable adjustments. 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.

2022-23 deadlines

Coursework adjustments 

There isn’t a specific application deadline for coursework assignments as they take place throughout the year. In order to access Reasonable Adjustments you should make sure that you get in touch with the UCL Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing team as soon as you arrive at UCL or as soon as your condition is diagnosed or changes. 

Adjustments for exams and take-home papers 

Applications must be received by the Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing team by  the following deadlines:  

  • Deadline for Main Summer Central Assessment Period: Monday 3rd April 2023
  • Deadline for Late Summer Central Assessment Period: Monday 31st July 2023

If you are taking a departmentally-managed assessment outside of the Central Assessment Periods, you will need to submit your request at least six weeks in advance of the assessment.  

If you have missed the deadline

After the deadline has passed, if you feel unable to sit your assessments without adjustments then you may be eligible for support such as a deferral under the Extenuating Circumstances procedures. You can then apply for reasonable adjustments to take effect in the next assessment period, if necessary.   

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

Sudden illness or accidental injury

In the event of sudden illness or accidental injury, you can apply for reasonable adjustments up to three weeks before the start of the Central Assessment Period in question (deadlines above). 

After this deadline has passed, it is unlikely that UCL will be able to make Reasonable Adjustments. However you may still be eligible for support such as a deferral via Extenuating Circumstances procedures. You can then apply for reasonable adjustments to take effect in the next assessment 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 reasonable 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 reasonable adjustments.

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

Please check the original letter or Summary of Reasonable Adjustments (SORA) that was issued stating your reasonable 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 assessments - what should I do?

If you want to request a deferral of an assessment on the grounds of your health, please contact us to discuss your options. Deferral requests are handled through the Extenuating Circumstances procedures.

Contact us through askUCL.

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

Depending on the nature of your assessments and your injury, we should be able to make adjustments which will enable you to sit your assessments. 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 assessments, 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 reasonable adjustments?

An adviser will email your UCL email account with a Summary of Reasonable Adjustments (SORA), which contains information about the assessment 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 Central Assessment Period only (for effects that are likely to change). If you are happy with the 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 the Central Assessment Team. 

If you have applied successfully for adjustments and have received and approved your SORA after the publication of the final Central Assessment Timetable, please check on Portico for your details, as it is likely that your arragements will have changed.

If you are unhappy with your 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.

I have recently been diagnosed with a medical problem or disability and this will have an effect on my assessment/exams. Who can I speak to? 

Please get in touch with the Student Support & Wellbeing team

I have a SORA but my exam timetable shows that I am in the Excel centre and not on campus. Why is this the case?

There could be a number of reasons. Your SORA may have been granted after we gathered the data for the exam timetable in which case your exam location will be manually adjusted to meet your needs according to your SORA. 

Your SORA may still be in draft stage and will need to be approved or you may previously have had a temporary SORA which has now expired. Please get in touch with the Student Support & Wellbeing team.

My assessments/exams are now face-to-face and I will have to come into campus. I would like my assessments/exams to be remote and online like previous years which worked really well for me.

Mode of assessments are designed and finalised by the teaching department. Central Assessment Team or Student Support & Wellbeing team do not have any influence in the mode of assessment.

My timetable shows that I have back to back assessment/exams. Is there anyway this can be rearranged?

The Central Assessment team do their best to ensure students are not scheduled for back-to-back assessments/exams. However, this cannot be avoidable, and the utmost care is taken to minimise this given all the constraints.

One or more of my assessments/exams are not listed on the timetable. What do I do?

The timetable has details for centrally managed assessments/exams. 
Departmental assessment/exam will not be on the timetable so please check with your teaching department. 

If the assessment/exam is centrally-managed and it is not listed on your timetable you will again need to go back and check with your teaching department.

I have recently been granted a SORA but my timetable has not been updated with the correct venue or end time.

Please rest assured your assessment/exam location as well as any time adjustments will be manually corrected to meet your needs according to your SORA.

I have SORA which was approved many weeks before the timetable was published but my timetable does not have the correct venue and or adjusted end time for my Assessment/exam? What do I do?

Please contact the Central Assessment team via askUCL.

Will there be a seating plan outside the room where I am expected for my assessment/exam?

Yes – there will be a seating plan outside venue indicating your name, seat number and module code.

How will the invigilators know that I can take in snacks/drink/medication and or medical equipment into the venue?

A list of all candidates, their assessment/exam details, start and end times as well as extra writing time and or rest break along with details of what has been permitted in the SORA will be provided to the invigilation supervisor. All details are confidential and will be returned to the Central assessment team at the end of each day.

How will the invigilators know how much rest break allowance I have and how much I have taken?

Rest break allowance and extra writing time allowance will now be rolled into one. For example if you have 15 minutes rest break allowance per hour and 15 minutes extra writing time allowance per hour, this equates to 30 minutes extra time per hour. What you do with this extra time is entirely up to you but the exam will finish at the adjusted end time which incorporates your rest break allowance and extra writing time allowance.

My SORA does not approve the consumption of snack and or drinks during the assessment/exam but because of the duration, I will need the snacks/drinks to keep me going. Can I bring in snack and drinks?

As you will be in exam conditions, consumption of food and or drink will not be permitted unless there is a medical need.

Will I be able to leave the room to have a break and stretch?

You will be permitted to leave the room if your SORA permits you to do so. You must raise your hands to notify the invigilator. However, you will be required to be escorted by an invigilator to a designated place and the invigilator will be present until you return back to your seat.

Can I take my own noise-cancelling headphones into an assessment/exam?

This will not be permitted. Ear plugs will be available in all venues.

Typing on a laptop or using a tablet is my normal way of working. Can I take in my own laptop and or tablet into the venue to complete my assessment/exam?

Students are not permitted to bring in their own devices. We have dedicated rooms with desktop PCs where students who have a SORA which permits the use of a PC can complete their assessment/exam. 

My assessments/exams are scheduled to take place in the PC cluster rooms. Can I still write some or all the answers by hand?

Yes – answer booklets will be provided on each desk where students can write their answers. Please clearly label the work so it’s easy for the examiners to identify and mark. 

What do I do if I feel unwell during an exam or require medical assistance?

If students are feeling unwell on the day of the exam they should stay home and rest, they can apply for extenuating circumstances and defer the exam. If students become ill during the exam or require medical assistance the supervisors will be on hand to assist the student.