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Please note that Special Examination Arrangements for Graduate Students only relate to examinations undertaken by Graduate Students for graduate qualifications; that is, the PhD, MSc, MLitt, MPhil, MRes, MSt, Certificate of Postgraduate Study (CPGS) and Graduate Diplomas in Economics, Legal Studies and International Law.

Candidates will need to contact their college tutor if they are not registered for one of the above courses and need information on examination allowances.

If candidates think that they may need a special arrangement to help with their preparation for, or, the actual undertaking of their examinations, they should contact their college tutor as soon as possible.

Candidates are encouraged to contact their college tutor as early as possible in order to set up effective special examination arrangements.

It is the college tutor's responsibility to apply, on behalf of the candidate, for special exam arrangements to the Secretary of the Board of Graduate Studies with medical evidence if appropriate. College tutors are required to submit all applications relating to existing, diagnosed conditions by 31st January preceding the examination. It is important that sufficient time is allowed to discuss requirements with the college tutor prior to this deadline.

Appropriate consultation should take place between the candidate, their college tutor, and the Disability Resource Centre or a specialist professional (for example, an Educational Psychologist or GP as appropriate) prior to submitting an application. The Student Registry may need to liaise with relevant parties if the exam you are to take is managed centrally (this will usually be a formal 'sit-down' examination).

The purpose of setting up a special arrangement is to relieve candidates of any disadvantage that may arise if the examination were conducted under standard conditions. Any special arrangements made for candidates will not give an unfair advantage over those taking their examination under standard conditions.

If candidates have been diagnosed with a specific learning difficulty they may be granted extra time in written examinations. Candidates will be required to provide a full assessment report from an Educational Psychologist conducted within the five years prior to the start of their course. It is recommended that this report is based on diagnostic tests undertaken in the candidate's first language because testing undertaken in English may not be conclusive in terms of diagnosis and recommendations for examination purposes. Please note that this assessment report cannot just be the proforma used for public examinations. Detailed information is required in order to meet actual needs. Any recommendations need to be clear and explicit, for example, 25% extra time for sit-down exams, additional minutes per hour and/or the exact type of equipment prescribed. The amount of additional time and any other arrangements will be determined on the basis of the recommendations of the educational assessment.

If candidates have not been assessed within the five years prior leading up to the start of the course, they should request their Educational Psychologist to contact the Disability Adviser (SpLD) at the Disability Resource Centre (DRC) directly for the current guidelines on assessment of students with specific learning difficulties. This can take some time so please make arrangements as soon as possible.

If a student feels unable to attend an examination paper(s) due to religious observance, it is the student's responsibility to bring this to the college's attention at the earliest opportunity and in advance of the examination. The college should contact the Student Registry, identifying the exam paper(s) affected. Where possible, special arrangements will be made for the student to sit the examination.

A calendar of religious and festival dates and relevant information can be found on the Human Resource Division's Faith and Belief in Practice web page. The Board takes seriously the requirements of UK Equality legislation and the University's policies in this area. The Board's task, in considering applications, is to balance the merits of the case with ensuring that no student gains an unfair advantage over others taking the same course.

Examples of special examination arrangements include:

 

Additional Time

Candidates may be granted additional time if they have a short-term or long-term condition or disability which would prevent them from completing the examination in the specified time. For example, if candidates have ME or a diagnosed, specific learning difficulty they would normally qualify for extra time. The amount of time would depend on the nature and severity of the illness or disability. If extra writing time is granted, candidates would be expected to take those examinations in an approved venue. Candidates may apply for extra time needed for rest breaks (see Supervised Rest Breaks below).

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Additional time for writing up course work, dissertations and theses

Candidates may apply to defer submission dates for medical reasons or other very good reasons.

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Food and Drink

Candidates may be permitted to bring food and drink into the examination room if they have a medical condition that requires them to consume food or drink at regular intervals.

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Supervised Rest Breaks

If candidates experience excessive fatigue or pain as a consequence of a medical condition or disability they may be granted supervised rest breaks. Rest breaks may also be granted to prevent candidates from becoming excessively tired as a consequence of additional time. If extra time is needed for rest breaks then candidates are expected to take examinations in an approved venue.

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Alternative Formats

If candidates are visually impaired, question papers may be enlarged or produced in an alternative format such as Braille. Candidates may also wish to consider using a low vision aid; further details about this are available from the Disability Resource Centre.

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Alternative Location

If a candidate's mobility is restricted and they are unable, or would find it difficult, to gain access to the examination room, they would normally be permitted to sit examinations in an alternative approved venue. Similarly, if candidates experience anxiety and anticipate finding the examination too stressful they may be granted permission to sit examinations at an alternative approved venue.

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Amanuensis (dictation)

If Candidates are unable to write because of a temporary or permanent disability or injury they can sit their examination by dictating to an amanuensis. The College is responsible for appointing the person who will conduct the amanuensis. Candidates are not permitted to use a friend or any individual with whom they have close personal or academic relationship.

Effective dictation requires a certain level of skill and it is recommended that candidates practice with the person prior to their first examination. Where an amanuensis is not appropriate, candidates may apply to use a word-processor. Candidates are encouraged to contact their Tutor as early as possible to help identify the most appropriate arrangements.

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Special examination arrangements for research degrees examined by thesis and oral only

This section refers to arrangements for the oral examination and refers to examinations for the MPhil degree (by thesis and oral only), MLitt degree, MSc degree, PhD degree and the Certificate of Postgraduate Study.

The Disability Resource Centre (DRC) will make recommendations for access arrangements (also referred to as 'special examination arrangements') where requested by Degree Committees for students who have disclosed a disability via existing mechanisms or via disclosure directly to the DRC (normally as a result of initial application disclosure). Where a degree committee requires advice or recommendations from the DRC in relation to appropriate examination access arrangements, a request should be emailed to the DRC.

The Degree Committee should email any requests to the main DRC email: disability@admin.cam.ac.uk and be headed 'Request for research-only exam access arrangement recommendations', with the name of the student/students clearly identified in the email header. The name of the individual to whom the recommendations are to be sent should be clearly identifiable within the email.
The appropriate DRC Disability Adviser will then send the recommendations by email to the Degree Committee within the existing Student Support Document template which contains a section for examination recommendations.
It should be noted that sufficient time should be allocated to allow the appropriate recommendation to be considered and communicated. A minimum of three weeks should be allowed.

It should be noted that recommendations from the DRC are advisory. The Degree Committee or Board of Graduate Studies may decide whether recommendations are appropriate and reasonable.