Alternative examination arrangements | University of Oxford
Alternative arrangements
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Alternative examination arrangements

You should apply for exam adjustments after matriculation and no later than Friday of Week 4 of the term before the exam 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 exam.

Information relating to the Coronavirus pandemic:

For the most up-to-date advice and guidance relating to Examinations and Assessments, please refer to the dedicate 'Advice and support for students' webpage at

Your responsibilities:

  • Application: to initiate a request and provide evidence for reasonable alternative arrangements for your exams or summative work.
  • Deadline: to request adjustments as soon as possible in the academic year to allow your adjustments to be factored into your exam timetable (no later than Friday of Week 4 the term BEFORE your exam/s will take place).
  • Trial arrangements: it is strongly recommended that you trial your alternative exam arrangements ahead of sitting your exams.  This can be arranged with your college office for collections or by attending a mock exam

Types of adjustments:

  • Extra time and/or the use of a word processor for students with Specific Learning Differences (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 exams at a specific time of day or only one exam scheduled per day due to fatigue effects caused by some disabilities, or for religious observances.*
  • Permission to bring food and drink into an exam - requires a signed letter from the nurse or senior tutor in your college.  Please refer to the information at sitting your examinations.

*Scheduling requests MUST be submitted by Week 4 of Michaelmas Term in order to be factored into exam timetables.

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

Duration of adjustments:

On-going exam adjustments apply for the duration of your course.  If you change course or college, your college will need to re-apply for adjustments.  On-going adjustments include:

  • SpLDs
  • Long term conditions and disabilities
  • Religious observance

Temporary exam adjustments apply either for the year or the exam period.  Temporary adjustments include:

  • Infection
  • Injuries and surgery
  • Changeable conditions such as anxiety, RSI, tendonitis, etc.

How to apply:

  1. Contact your college office or disability advisor, who can advise on reasonable adjustments and what information you will need to provide to support an application for those adjustments to be considered.
  2. Contact the Disability Advisory Service who offer a range of services to you in your studies and assess requirements. They can provide a Student Support Plan, which may be used in evidence for an application for adjustments.
  3. Provide evidence to your college office to support your request (additional assessment/s may be required to evaluate your needs).
  4. Your college office will submit an application for consideration on your behalf.
  5. The Proctors' make the final decision on whether to approve the adjustments requested.
  6. Approved adjustments will be notified to your college office and the chair of examiners for your course.
  7. Your approved adjustments will be visible to you in self service and your individual exam timetable (when this is published).  Any issues should be raised with your college office as soon as possible.

What evidence is required?


(Specific Learning Differences)

An educational psychologist's or specialist teacher's report should be provided to the Disability Advisory Service who will arrange 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.

 Long term conditions and disabilities

Medical evidence from a specialist, general practitioner and/or college doctor.

The evidence should explain explicitly why you need alternative arrangements and clearly specify the duration of any additional writing and/or rest time required.

 Religious observance A letter from your faith leader.
 Infection A medical form from your college doctor.
 Injuries and surgery A medical form from your college doctor.
 Changeable conditions (i.e. anxiety, RSI, tendonitis, etc.) Your evidence should address the duration of your condition and what medications are being used to treat the symptoms. 

Contact your college office for advice if you are unsure of what evidence is sufficient to support your request.

Jury Service

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

Religious observance

  • If you wish to uphold religious observances which impact on your ability to sit exams on particular days or times of day, speak to your college office as early as possible.
  • An application for scheduling preferences should be submitted as an alternative exam arrangement application via your college office.
  • Scheduling adjustments must be applied for by the end of Week 4 of Michaelmas term in order for your preferences to be taken into account whilst setting the exam timetable.
  • If it has not been possible to meet your preferences and your exam timetable does clash with your religious observance, you may need to apply for an adjustment to your individual timetable under Part 12 of the Examination Regulations.

Coursework and other assignments

  • Extra time is not automatically applied for coursework and other assignments.
  • Undergraduate or postgraduate taught students with a diagnosed SpLD may also be permitted to attach a cover sheet to exam scripts and formally assessed coursework to notify the examiner about the possible impact on their written work - see 2D form quick guide for more information.
  • If you are having difficulties with workload deadlines 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 the extension of the course may be recommended.

Mitigating circumstances affecting performance in exams

If you would like the examiners aware of mitigating circumstances that may have impacted on your performance in an exam, refer to the information on the in-person exams page.

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