Exam support for students with a disability

Students with a disability may need extra support to sit exams.

On this page

Disability Services identify the support each student requires through a Needs Assessment. They note specific IT needs and make recommendations called adjustments. These adjustments are shared with the Disability Support Officer (DSO) in the relevant department who then informs staff members working with the student, including their lecturers.

Staff members are duty bound to make sure they're aware of these adjustments throughout the semester and shouldn't expect the DSO to be their sole provider of information. Adjustments may take several weeks to filter through Disability Services due to the volume of students, so you should check adjustments regularly. If you're unsure how to do this, the DSO can assist.

Who arranges support for my student?

Exams organised by Registry

For exams in the main diet (Registry managed), adjustments and support arrangements are made centrally. Schools and individual lecturers don't need to take any extra action for these exams.

Class tests and other locally managed exams

For exams not managed by Registry (mock exams or class tests), IT will make the technical arrangements only when we receive a request from the School/department. Usually, the lecturer running the exam will make this request. If no request is made, support can't be guaranteed which impacts directly on the student.

How to request extra IT support

Does one of your students need extra support to take an exam or class test you've organised?

Before contacting IT:

  • Check that your student has an official adjustment from Disability Services. If they don’t, inform the student they need to make an appointment with Disability Services.
  • Speak to your student and establish their support needs. This is important because adjustments may not always be relevant to the style of exam being run (for example, interview style exams).
  • Consider whether we need to know. Students who only have extra time allowance in their adjustments don't necessarily need IT support.

Then follow this process:

  1. Book suitable IT accommodation for the student to sit their exam in (choose one that's centrally managed by IT) through the Room Bookings and Central Timetabling website
  2. Inform the student when and where they will sit their exam
  3. Arrange for an invigilator to oversee the exam
  4. Complete the request for disability IT support form to get an exam account for your student (IT requires at least 10 working days advance notice to make their arrangements)
  5. Check that the list of software available with an exam account meets your student’s needs
  6. Let us know if your student needs Dragon, Jaws, SuperNova, or any other non-standard software (extra setup required)
  7. Direct the student to the information about extra support on the webpage before the exam
  8. Print a copy of the student guidance on extra support, and make it available to them during the exam
  9. Print a copy of the invigilator help sheet on extra support, and hand this to them on the day of the exam

How exam support works for students who need adjustments

IT will provide an exam account for use on a computer in the room you've booked.

We may provide on-call support on the day of the class exam, but this isn't guaranteed.

If on-call support isn’t provided for the exam, you will need to call the Service Desk if your student has issues during the exam.

Saving work during the exam

The way your student needs to save their work depends on the type of exam they are sitting. The invigilator will advise the student to either:

  • save their work as a local copy on the computer (to My Documents), onto the invigilator’s USB stick, and then also print a copy before logging out of the account (as any lost work will not be retrievable), or
  • not worry about saving their work if sitting an online exam using Questionmark OnDemand or ExamOnline, as these programmes auto-save answers throughout the exam

We issue one account per student per exam. Exam accounts can't be shared or re-used.

About the exam account we give to your student

We'll set up an exam account on a computer for your student to sit their test. This account won't let them access the internet or network resources and is credited with funds to let them print during the exam.

Software available with exam account:

  • Ease of Access Centre (adjust computer settings)
  • Exam account home directory
  • Calculator
  • LaTeX (technical and scientific text editor)
  • Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint)
  • Microsoft Paint
  • MindView (visual mind mapping software)
  • Notepad (plain text editor)
  • Read & Write Gold (literacy text help)
  • Shortcuts to online exam programmes (OnDemand and ExamOnline) for those sitting an e-assessment

Extra software you need to ask for if your student needs it:

  • Dragon (speech-to-text software allowing vocal interaction with the computer)
  • JAWS (a screen reader for low-vision/non-sighted users)
  • SuperNova (screen reader and magnifier for low-vision/non-sighted users)
  • Any other non-standard software specified in the individual adjustments


The version of each piece of software is the same as that offered on the student desktops across our campuses. If your student needs a different version, let us know as part of your request.

Does your student need something else?

Requests for other assistive software and equipment are welcome. These may be provided at extra cost.

Request disability IT support

Service Desk

+44 (0)1382 388000

Last updated

20 September 2019


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