[skip to content]

Registry

Special Examination Arrangements

Procedure to apply

If you think you will need any special examination arrangements (e.g. because you have a disability or a medical condition), you are strongly encouraged to contact the Disability Office in Term 1. They will need to see documentary evidence of your condition. 
The last date for application is 21 February 2014. Requests received after that date may not be accommodated.
If the problem will affect your academic work throughout the year, you may also wish to bring it to the attention of your tutors.

Based on the medical evidence you provide, the Disability Office will make a recommendation as to what adjustments are needed for any examinations you will take during the School examination period (i.e. between 8 May and 4 June 2014). Please see a description of standard arrangements below.
If your condition demands more specific arrangements (i.e. use of specialist equipment or software, unusual combination of arrangements…), we will refer your application to the Special Assessment Panel for consideration.

Once agreed, your special exam arrangement will be confirmed to you in an email sent to your SOAS account by the Examinations and Assessments Office in Term 2.
The agreed arrangement will also show on the individual timetable that will be emailed to your SOAS account in April.

Conduct of examinations with special arrangements

  • If you have agreed adjustments to the examination arrangements, you will sit all of your end-of-year examinations on the same day and time as your classmates but in a different exam venue. No candidate with special arrangements will sit in the main exam halls as the arrangements would be impossible to monitor. You may sit in:
    • The special arrangement room. Only candidates with agreed adjustments sit in this room and it holds a maximum of 16 candidates.
    • The computer suite. If your arrangements include use of a computer.
    • A separate room. If you need to be on your own.
  • You must bring your individual timetable with you as it shows your candidate number and what arrangements have been agreed.
  • The invigilators will be aware of your arrangements but not the reason why you have them. They may be given additional information such as “may need to take medicine” or “must be seated by the door” to help them ensure the smooth running of the exam.
  • If you have a specific learning difficulty, you will be given labels by the Chief Invigilator at the end of your exam. You may apply them to the front of your SOAS examination scripts, if you wish.  This will ensure that the examiner is aware that you have a specific learning disability.
  • If you have to sit an end-of-year exam for an intercollegiate course, you will sit it on the same day and time as your classmates but at a SOAS exam venue. We will borrow the paper from the teaching college and send them your script back for marking.

There is also guidance from the disability office with frequently asked questions about exams.

Description of standard arrangements

Please find below a short description of the arrangements routinely put in place for students with special needs. Please note that these might be combined. A candidate may be granted extra time and use of computer, for example.

Extra time in examinations
  • A fixed time, usually 10 or 15 minutes per hour of examination, is allowed. For instance, an extra 10 minutes per hour means that a candidate will have 3 hours 30 minutes to complete an exam with a normal duration of 3 hours.
  • Breaks are not discounted. If a student has to leave the room at any point during the exam, the clock keeps ticking and no time will be added at the end of the exam to compensate
  • The exam duration showing on the individual timetable does not take additional time into consideration but the agreed adjustment to the examination arrangement will show on the individual timetable and the invigilators will be informed.
Examinations taken on computer
  • Computer examinations will use Microsoft Word.  Dyslexic students may use the spell checker unless their agreed arrangements state otherwise.
  • Candidates must ensure that their candidate number and the code and title of the examination are put in the header of the document to ensure that it appears on every printed page. They should not put their name or student number anywhere on the document.
  • The document should be saved on the desktop during the examination. It will be saved to CD at the end of the examination.
  • DO NOT CLOSE DOWN THE DOCUMENT AT THE END OF THE EXAMINATION so that if there is a problem with the disk, the document can be retrieved by the Examinations and Assessments Office prior to the next examination.
  • Computers can fail. It is the candidates own responsibility to ensure that the work is backed up regularly. It is recommended that the document is saved at least every 15 minutes and that candidates take the opportunity to do so whenever they are not typing.
  • There may be several candidates in the computer room for any examination session and there may be some background noise. Candidates who feel they may be distracted by this will be permitted to use foam/non-electronic earplugs (these are available from chemists). Candidates must supply their own earplugs.
Extra time to compensate for breaks taken where approved
  • Please note that this arrangement only allows extra time for breaks taken during the examination. The duration of the exam, i.e. the time permitted for reading and writing the examination, is as published for that examination.
  • When a candidate wants to take a break they must raise their hand and inform the invigilator. The break will then be timed.
  • During breaks candidates are not permitted to access either their question paper or answer script. This will be monitored by the invigilators.
  • Rest breaks are permitted in relation to the candidate’s condition. It is time for them to take a break from working on their exam, to manage their condition. They can leave the room but may not leave the building unless it is directly related to their condition and recommended by the Disability Office. The invigilators’ time has to be used carefully as other students will require rest breaks or assistance during the exam.
  • When a candidate completes their break, they must inform the invigilator. They may then return to their paper and the time taken will be added on at the end of the examination.
Labels
  • Candidates with a Specific Learning Difficulty will be offered labels by the invigilator at the end of each of their exams. They are to ensure that markers are aware that the candidate has a Specific Learning Difficulty.
  • If a candidate accepts the label, they should stick it on the front cover of their main answer book.