Exams Special requirements (including modified formats)

Access arrangements

Before an examination or assessment, you can apply for access arrangements on behalf of a candidate with special needs. Access arrangements aim to meet the particular needs of an individual candidate without affecting the integrity of the assessment.

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What are access arrangements?

Access arrangements allow candidates/learners to show what they know and do without changing the integrity or the demands of the assessment, for example by using a reader or scribe. Access arrangements are approved before an examination or assessment and they allow candidates/learners with special educational needs, disabilities or temporary injuries to access the assessment.

Special needs could include:

  • candidates with known and long-standing learning difficulties
  • candidates with physical disabilities, permanent or temporary
  • candidates with sensory impairment
  • candidates whose first language is not English, Irish or Welsh
  • candidates who have difficulties at, or near, the time of assessment that may have affected their performance in the assessment.

For more information about access arrangements, see JCQ booklet Access Arrangements, Reasonable Adjustments (available below).

How to apply for access arrangements

For GCE and GCSE examinations, use the JCQ Access Arrangements online tool, accessible via Edexcel Online, to make an application.

For BTEC, Functional Skills (excluding QMA), Edexcel Award, IGCSE, L3C, Project and CIDA/DIDA., use the Pearson Access Arrangements online tool, accessible via Edexcel Online, to make an application.

If your application is not approved, you may refer it electronically (refer to Pearson). This will go to the Special Requirements team in Pearson, with any additional information for review.

For BTEC, Edexcel Award, GCSE for international centres, GCE for international centres, IGCSE, International A level, PTE, L3C, Project, PLSC and CIDA/DIDA, use the Pearson Access Arrangements online tool, accessible via Edexcel Online, to make an application.

If your application is not approved, you may refer it electronically (refer to awarding organisation). This will go to the Special Requirements Team in Pearson, with any additional information for review.

For Jetset qualifications please apply via a PAR 1 Form and email to uk.special.requirements@pearson.com.

Email your completed form to:   Or send it to: 
uk.special.requirements@pearson.com Special Requirements Team
Pearson
Fretwell Road 
Hellaby Business Park
Rotherham
S66 8HN
United Kingdom
 

Timetable variations and timetable clashes

For centres in the UK

In the event of a timetable clash, where a candidate has more than three hours of examinations in the morning/afternoon of the same day, you may start examinations later than, or earlier than, the published start time within the same day without needing permission. Security of the examination must be maintained at all times.

For centres outside the UK

Permission must be requested in advance if a centre wishes to vary the start time of an exam in excess of 30 minutes. This request must be emailed to uk.special.requirements@pearson.com with the message in the title 'Request for variation to exam start time', no later than 6 weeks before the date of the exam. Security of the examination must be maintained at all times.

You'll find examination start time documents for your region at the bottom of this page.

Overnight supervision

For timetable variations that require overnight supervision, you don't need prior approval from us if your centre staff undertake the supervision of a learner. You will need to complete the Timetable Variation and Confidentiality Declaration for Overnight Supervision form - available on this page - before the examination(s), and keep it at your centre for inspection purposes, if so requested (UK centre).

For more information, see the JCQ booklet Instructions for Conducting Examinations, available on this page.

You must gain the candidate’s consent before you process his/her access arrangement(s). The Data Protection Notice must be kept on file.

How do I apply for extra time for BTEC onscreen/ondemand examinations?

You can apply for access arrangements on Edexcel Online  via Pearson Access Arrangements Online. For onscreen tests that require extra time, you can select 25% extra time at the time of booking the test, where you have prior approval. For requests over or under 25% extra time, you must email uk.special.requirements@pearson.com, at least 15 working days where possible, before the test date and always before the test package is downloaded.

You must gain the candidate's consent before you process his/her access arrangement(s). The Data Protection Notice must be kept on file.

Accessibility and screen reader software in onscreen testing for BTECs

Screen reader technology, such as 'JAWs' or 'Read and Write Gold', is unfortunately not currently compatible for use with our NQF BTEC onscreen tests. We're working hard to resolve this. For now, we recommend that you use a human reader.

The accessibility functionality in the Pearson Onscreen platform includes:

  • colour filters that mimic the function of coloured overlays used by some dyslexia sufferers, helping them to interact with text more easily
  • zoom functionality allowing users to enlarge screen content and navigate around the page if they have reduced vision
  • keyboard access: all onscreen content and functionality is accessible via the keyboard. There's also a number of keyboard shortcuts for commonly used functions.

We're sorry for any inconvenience this will cause you and your learners. If you have concerns about whether your learners can still participate in the tests, please contact us.

JCQ documents

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Pearson Access Arrangements Online - PAAO

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For more information on how to use Pearson Accesss Arrangements Online, watch our video tutorials:

International documents

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GCSE and GCE documents

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Functional Skills

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