Access Arrangements

The deadline to apply for Access Arrangements was 12 noon (BST) on 19 September 2023.  If you have missed the deadline for legitimate reasons, please contact us directly at [email protected]

Access arrangements are available to disabled candidates. This may apply to candidates with:

  • cognition and learning needs e.g., learning difficulties such as Dyslexia or Dyscalculia.
  • communication and interaction needs e.g., Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
  • sensory and physical needs e.g., a hearing or vision impairment; physical disability.
  • social, mental and emotional needs e.g., Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); mental health conditions.

Access arrangements may also be considered for candidates experiencing major illness or injury under the Fitness to Test Policy.

Access arrangements should be arranged in advance of testing.  Some arrangements require candidates to make an online application with supporting evidence before they book a test.

It is the candidate’s responsibility to apply for access arrangements to be put in place in a timely manner.

UCAT will not take any action if a candidate chooses to test without putting access arrangements in place.

This page outlines the access arrangements we can provide in test centres.

Key Dates 2023

16 May (09:30 BST)

Access arrangement applications open

20 June (06:00 BST)

Booking Opens

19 September (12:00 noon BST)

Access arrangements application and evidence deadline


What access arrangements do not require approval?

Comfort Aids

The medical items and devices on this list are allowed into the test room after visual inspection and do not require prior approval: Pearson VUE Comfort Aid List

Test Centre Accommodations

Whilst the following test centre accommodations do not need supporting evidence, they should be arranged at least 5 business days in advance of testing by calling Pearson VUE Customer Services

  • Wheelchair access (subject to test centre availability)
  • Adjustable height desk (subject to test centre availability)
  • ZoomText: the magnification and colour enhancement features may be used, but the reader features will be turned off. Pearson VUE currently uses version 2021. Prior familiarity with the software is strongly recommended. Download a free trial of ZoomText
  • Coloured overlay (supplied by the candidate): subject to visual inspection by staff.  Overlays should lie flat against the screen (kept in place by static) or in a frame that sits on the top of the monitor.  Monitors in most UK test centres are 24” flat screen.


What access arrangements can I apply for?

Extra Test Time and/or Rest Breaks

Requests for extra time / rest breaks must be approved by the UCAT Office before candidates book their test.

We offer the following extended versions of the UCAT:

  • UCATSEN (150 minutes) for candidates eligible for 25% extra test time.
  • UCATSA (up to 140 minutes) for candidates eligible for rest breaks. The UCATSA has the standard UCAT test timings with 20 minutes available for pause-the-clock breaks.
  • UCATSENSA (up to 175 minutes) for candidates eligible for 25% extra test time who also need rest breaks. The UCATSENSA has the UCATSEN test timings with 25 minutes available for pause-the-clock breaks.
  • UCATSEN50 (180 minutes) for candidates eligible for 50% extra test time (refer to specific evidence requirements below).

There are different timings for some of the extended versions of the test for candidates testing online.

Find out about the timings of extended tests

Candidates cannot book an extended version of the UCAT until their access arrangement application has been approved and they have been issued a Private Access Code (PAC).

Do not book a standard test until your access arrangement application has been approved.  A standard UCAT appointment cannot be extended to add on extra test time/rest breaks.

Extra Test Time

Extra test time is approved when more time is needed to process test content due to a disability.

Extra test time will not normally be approved if a candidate is applying for extra time because English is not their first language.

As UCAT is computer-based, extra test time will not normally be approved if a candidate’s disability only relates to handwriting issues.

Rest Breaks

Rest breaks are approved if extra time is needed to manage a disability or health condition during testing.  Extra time may be used to pause the clock and take a break without losing test time.

Find out about pause-the-clock functionality

During their rest breaks, candidates do not have access to test content as their computer screen is obscured.  At the same time, candidates should not be making use of their notebooks for any purpose including actively working on test questions.  In the event of invigilators observing candidates actively working on the test during a rest break, this may be reported to UCAT and investigated as potential misconduct.


Special Test Centre Accommodations

Requests for special accommodations must be approved by the UCAT Office before candidates book their test.

Separate room:
  • To test in a separate room at a test centre, evidence must specify the need for separate invigilation.
  • Test centre rooms usually accommodate up to 15 candidates which we consider meets the requirement for testing in a smaller room.
  • Separate rooms are not soundproofed or quieter than the main testing area. They may be near busy areas such as the invigilator station or check in area.  Candidates should request earplugs to limit disruption.
  • Separate rooms are subject to test centre availability.

Items at a test centre workstation for medical reasons (including water):
  • Approval is only required for items not considered Comfort Aids
  • Evidence must support the need for continuous or immediate access to items during testing.
  • This arrangement requires a separate room (see above) subject to test centre availability.
  • Items not approved must be stored in a locker or designated area and used outside the testing room.  This applies if a separate room is not available.
  • Food/drink must not be placed or consumed near the workstation.  Candidates are responsible for damage related to these items.

Candidates with diabetes should refer to this information to assess whether they need to apply for access arrangements.

Online Testing:
  • In certain circumstances, the best way to meet a disabled candidate’s needs might be by allowing them to test using the online proctored solution OnVUE.
  • Access Arrangements available in OnVUE are different to those supported at a Test Centre and would be discussed with the individual candidate.


Supporting Evidence

Read this section carefully as providing incorrect evidence will delay your application.

What evidence do I need if I am currently in education (or out of education for less than 2 years)?

DO NOT send us your diagnostic assessment report or medical evidence as your application will be rejected. Please refer to the evidence requirements below.

If a candidate is currently in education (or out of education for less than 2 years) the UCAT Office requires a recent, signed letter on headed paper from the candidate’s current or most recent school/college or university, which should (as appropriate) state:

  • their disability.
  • the amount of extra time they require in public exams (e.g. 25%).
  • the amount of time for any rest breaks.
  • the need separate invigilation.
  • any other accommodations they require in public examinations.
  • on what basis this has been agreed, for example a diagnosis from a qualified medical practitioner or an assessment by a registered psychologist or specialist teacher assessor.

In place of a letter, a copy of an approved ‘JCQ Form 8 Application for Access Arrangements’ (all pages) usually not completed earlier than the start of Year 9 (the school year in which pupils become 14 years old) or equivalent and signed by the Head of Centre/SENCo and Assessor would be acceptable.  A Form 8 is only accepted if it was completed after 1 September 2021 (when JCQ published criteria changed).

What alternative evidence can I provide if I am out of education for more than 2 years?

Candidates out of education for more than 2 years with a disability constituting a Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD) such as Dyslexia, Dyspraxia or Dyscalculia must provide a full, post-16 diagnostic assessment report of that specific learning difficulty from a specialist teacher assessor or registered psychologist. It must explicitly recommend a specific amount of extra exam time (e.g., 25%) and/or other accommodations in public examinations.

Candidates out of education for more than 2 years with a disability must provide a recent letter (dated 2023) from a GP or specialist (e.g. a consultant or psychiatrist) which:

  • includes a clear outline of their disability and the impact this would have on a multiple-choice test sat on computer.
  • explicitly recommends a specific amount of extra exam time (e.g. 25%) and/or other accommodations in public examinations.
  • makes it clear that any recommendations are based on the GP or specialist’s clinical opinion. A letter that simply states the candidate’s exam preferences or wishes would not be sufficient to approve access arrangements.

Additional evidence requirements for candidates applying for 50% extra test time

For the overwhelming majority of candidates who require extra time, 25% additional test time will be sufficient. If more than this is needed, there must be a strong justification as to why more than 25% extra time is required.

Candidates applying for 50% extra test time must have a disability that has a very substantial and long-term adverse effect on their speed of working.  Their evidence must outline the impact their disability would have on a multiple-choice test sat on computer and make a clear recommendation that 50% extra test time is needed to remove any substantial disadvantage.

What alternative evidence can I provide if I have not previously been entitled to access arrangements in public examinations?

Diagnosis after leaving education: Candidates diagnosed with a disability after leaving education are required to provide evidence which meets the requirements detailed above for “candidates out of education for more than 2 years”. Please make it clear in your application when you left education and when the diagnosis occurred.

Recent diagnosis: Where a candidate has a recent diagnosis and arrangements have not yet been put in place for their exams, their school/college/university letter should confirm the recommendations their school/college/university intend to make to the exam board.


How do I apply for access arrangements that require approval?

Extra test time, rest breaks or special accommodations must be approved by the UCAT Office before candidates book their test.

Candidates are advised to apply online at least 10 business days before they intend to book their test.

Candidates who leave their applications until late in the test window may have limited testing options depending on test centre availability.

Step 1: Create a UCAT Account as a candidate ID is required to make an application.  Returning candidates should use their existing candidate ID.

Step 2: Apply for access arrangements with correct supporting evidence by 12:00 noon (BST) on 19 September 2023 or they will not be processed.

Step 3: Receive notification of your approved access arrangements within 5 business days.  If you have not had a reply within this time (after checking junk/spam folders), please email the UCAT Office.

Step 4: Book a test and call Customer Services to arrange any relevant accommodations before the booking deadline (21 September).


IMPORTANT: Do not book a standard test until your access arrangement application has been approved.  A standard UCAT appointment cannot be extended to add on extra test time/rest breaks.  Any existing booking needs to be cancelled (giving appropriate notice) before a new booking can be made. The date, time or location of your new booking is likely to change depending on availability.  This is why we advise you not to book your test until you receive confirmation of approved access arrangements.

Important Information

UCAT reserves the right not to approve access arrangements granted by a school/college/university or those recommended by the GP or specialist.  UCAT will request additional evidence if initial supporting documentation is not considered sufficient.


Access Arrangements FAQs

Can I apply for access arrangements if I experience illness or injury?

What if the access arrangements I require are not listed above?

What if my specific exam needs cannot be met?

Can I leave the test centre room for a break?

Can I book an extended test before my access arrangements application has been submitted or approved?

If I already have a test booked, how do I change this to the extended test version I have been approved to sit?

What if I sit a test with extra time without approval?

What if I take unapproved items with me to the test centre?

Can I take water into the test room?

Can I appeal if I am unhappy with the outcome of my access arrangement application?

Do you tell universities about my approved access arrangements?

Do I need to apply for access arrangements again if I did so in a previous year?

How do my access arrangements affect my university application?