Alternative examination arrangements | University of Oxford
Alternative arrangements
Student tutorial at the Faculty of Music, Oxford, UK.
Copyright © Rob Judges Photography. This image comes from

Alternative examination arrangements

You should apply for examination adjustments after matriculation and no later than Friday of Week 4 of the term before the examination is due to take place. It is your responsibility to request alternative arrangements and provide any supporting evidence required. Requests may, for urgent reasons, be considered nearer to the date of your examinations. 

Examination provision

Examination provision may include:

  • extra time and / or the use of a word processor for students with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs) or physical disabilities / illnesses that make writing difficult
  • enlarged font papers for those with a visual impairment
  • written instructions for those with a hearing impairment
  • ergonomic or other seating arrangements
  • scheduling of examinations at a specific time of day or only one examination scheduled per day due to fatigue effects caused by some disabilities, or for religious observances
  • permission to bring food and drink into an examination – requires a signed letter from the nurse or Senior Tutor in your college. Please refer to the information at sitting your examinations

This list is not exhaustive. If you have requirements that are not covered here, contact your college office to find out if these can be accommodated. 

Applying for alternative arrangements

Your college office or college disability advisor can advise you on the process of applying for alternative examination arrangements, or you may contact the Disability Advisory Service. You will need to provide evidence of why you need the adjustments, and you may be asked to undertake additional assessments to evaluate your needs.

If you have a Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD) and have an educational psychologist's or specialist teacher’s report, the Disability Advisory Service will arrange for a summary sheet to be produced by the University's SpLD specialist. Your assessment must meet the University of Oxford’s Guidance on SpLD Diagnostic Assessments before alternative examination arrangements can be agreed by the Proctors.

For all other types of disability, medical evidence from a specialist, general practitioner and / or college doctor is required. That evidence should explain explicitly why you need alternative examination arrangements.

The Proctors make the final decision on whether to allow the adjustments requested and will notify your college and the Chairman of Examiners of their decision. If permission is given for ongoing examination adjustments for the remainder of your course, this will be recorded in Student Self Service.

You cannot claim exemption from Jury service, however, if you are summoned to serve during term-time, and particularly when sitting examinations, you should apply to the Jury Central Summoning Bureau for deferral or excusal, as set out in the summons. You should also seek the advice of your college office.

Alternative examination arrangements for religious observances

If you wish to uphold religious observances which impact on your ability to sit examinations at particular times, you should speak with your college office at the earliest opportunity andmake an initial application for alternative arrangements so that your preferences may be taken into account during the setting of the examination timetable. There is no guarantee at this stage that your requirements will be met, but once you receive your individual timetable, if there are any clashes with your religious observance, you may apply to the University for an adjustment to your individual timetable under Part 12 of the Examination Regulations.

Coursework and other assignments

You will not necessarily be given extra time to complete your assignments. If you are having difficulties with keeping up with the workload because of your disability then you should discuss this with your tutor and with the Disability Advisory Service. There may be other adjustments that can be made to help, and an extension of the course may be recommended.

Checking or changing your arrangements

You can check your examination arrangements in Student Self Service; they are also printed on your individual timetable and you should check this carefully when you receive it. If your examination arrangements need to be altered, you should raise this with your college as soon as possible. It is your responsibility to provide medical or psychological evidence to support any changes.

Special circumstances or illness affecting performance in examinations

If you would like the examiners to be aware of factors that may have impacted on your performance in an examination, refer to the information on the sitting your examinations page.