Students with disabilities, specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia and temporary conditions (including pregnancy) can apply for Special Examination Arrangements as part of the Academy’ legal obligation to provide reasonable adjustments as specified under the Equality Act 2010.
The Academy of Forensic Medical Sciences also has policies in place to ensure equal treatment of students such as:
Special examination arrangement requests are considered in a fair and transparent manner. At the same time, these special examination regulations ensure that the arrangements do not give a student an unfair advantage over others, including the students who take their examination under standard conditions.
Any student with a long-term health condition or disability, including a specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia may apply for special exam arrangements. In addition, short-term health conditions affecting a student’s ability to undertake an exam under standard conditions may also apply (pregnancy, broken limbs or other relevant disability).
Please download an Application for Special Exam Arrangements (Form C) form from the Academy website: [insert link]. Form C must be received at the same time as Examination Entry Form.
Forms and Guidelines, dates and deadlines can also be found on the Academy website: www.afms.org.uk
All supporting documentation must be listed in the form and attached to it.
In cases of dyslexia or any other learning disability this must include a Psychological Assessment Report made by a qualified educational psychologist after the candidate attained at the age of 21 years. In other circumstances, expert professional evidence should be provided as appropriate
Candidates must attest on the form that full disclosure has been provided.
If a candidate is not able to supply the documents before the application deadline, special arrangements may not be instituted.
Special arrangements will only be put in place if a candidate receives written notification from the Examination Office confirming that they have been.
Visually-impaired or blind candidates typically require a greater allowance of additional time than a candidate with non-visual disabilities. The precedent at the Academy is that visually impaired or blind students will need 50% additional time in their examinations. The RNIB recommend anything up to 100% additional time as being reasonable, although the expectation is that only the most complex of cases will warrant 100% additional time, for example where a student has to make extensive use of both an amanuensis and assistive technology owing to the nature of the assessment.
Other arrangements for visually impaired and blind students include converting the examination papers into Braille or enlarging the size of the text.
Many students will require an electronic copy of the exam paper so that they can use text-to-speech software to hear the questions read aloud – such students will usually have access to this equipment to type their answers and proofread their responses. Other students may require a reader to read questions aloud.
Students with dyslexia and those with other specific learning difficulties typically receive 25% additional time in their examinations, which is the level recommended in the 1999 Working Party report into supporting dyslexic students within Higher Education. (Dyslexia in Higher Education: policy, provision and practice. Report of the National Working Party on Dyslexia in Higher Education, January 1999.)
Students with physical disabilities may require additional time so that they can take appropriate rest breaks during their exam or to compensate for their slow writing or typing speed as a result of their disability; they may also need either an amanuensis to dictate their answers to or a computer to type or dictate their responses onto using voice recognition software. Candidates with this arrangement will require additional time to proofread the work produced by the amanuensis or voice input software.
Some students may need to bring food, drink or medication into the examination venue as a consequence of their disability. This has to be agreed by the Examination Office in advance as part of the student’s special arrangements.
Students with mental health issues may require additional time in their examinations to compensate for their impaired concentration or to offset the effects of medication that they are taking.
Students with conditions on the autistic spectrum, such as Asperger’s Syndrome, may require arrangements to verbal assessments, such as vivas, owing to the nature of their communication disorder. They may also require additional time in written examinations, depending on the specific nature of their diagnosis.
Students with temporary conditions such as broken limbs can also apply for special examination arrangements. Students in this situation should also be advised of the Academy’s ‘fit to sit’ rule, i.e. that if they are not well enough to take their examinations they resit their exams during next intake.
The Academy has a responsibility under the Equality Act 2010 to accommodate the needs of pregnant students, who form one of the ‘protected characteristics’ covered by the legislation. Pregnant students should present a MATB1 certificate to confirm their pregnancy to the Examination Office who will be then able to recommend the provision of 25% additional time to compensate for the fact that they may need to leave the exam hall more frequently than their peers to use the bathroom. It is also advisable that pregnant students are sat near the door of the examination venue to minimise disruption to other students if and when they need to leave the exam room.
Submitting a falsified claim for a special examination arrangement could be regarded as an attempt to gain an unfair advantage, which would be considered as an academic offence.
Once the application has been received, the student will receive a decision from the Examination Office by letter confirming the arrangements within 14 days of receipt of the application.
If a student wishes to amend or terminate their examination arrangements, they can do so by contacting the Examination Office prior to the deadline for making applications.
Candidates have the right to appear against the decision. Appeals should be made in writing. Candidates should give the grounds on which the appeal is made and be sent to the Examination Office within 2 weeks of the date of the notification of the decision.
All appeals will be considered by the Examination Board and a candidate will be informed of the result as soon as practical.
Any entry to the examination will not be permitted until the result of the appeal have been confirmed.