Access Arrangements

Access arrangements are available if you have a disability. This may apply if you have a:

  • learning difficulty (e.g. dyslexia)
  • long-term physical disability
  • medical condition (including ADHD or ASD)
  • sensory impairment (visual, hearing or multi-sensory)

Access arrangements may also be considered if you are experiencing major illness or injury under the Fitness to Test Policy.

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

It is your responsibility to apply for access arrangements by the deadline and put approved arrangements in place in a timely way before testing. You are advised to apply at least 10 business days before you intend to book your test. 

If you leave your application until late in the test window you may have limited testing options depending on test centre availability. UCAT will not take any action if you test without putting approved access arrangements in place.

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


Access arrangements not requiring approval

Comfort Aids

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

General 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.


Arrangements requiring approval

Extra test time and/or rest breaks

You must apply for approval to have extra test time and/or rest breaks before you book your test.

We offer a number of extended versions of the test.  Extended tests cannot be booked without a Private Access Code (PAC).

Important!  Do not book a test until your access arrangement application has been approved. Extra test time/rest breaks cannot be added to a standard UCAT appointment. if you book a standard test this must be cancelled (giving appropriate notice) before an extended test can be booked (subject to approval). The date, time and location of your new appointment will depend on availability.

Extra Test Time

Extra test time is approved when more time is needed to read or process test content due to a disability which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on speed of working.

Extra test time will not be normally approved if you are applying for additional time because English is not your first language.  As the UCAT test is computer-based, extra test time will not be approved if your request only relates to handwriting issues.

Find out about the timings of tests with extra test time.

In most cases, 25% extra test time (with rest breaks if appropriate) is sufficient. 

Requests for more than 25% extra test time will only be approved in exceptional circumstances where you have a disability that has a very substantial and long-term adverse effect on your speed of working. Evidence must outline the impact your disability would have on a multiple-choice test sat on computer and must include a strong justification as to why 25% extra test time with an additional 25 minutes of rest breaks is not sufficient to remove any disadvantage.

Rest Breaks

Rest breaks are approved if needed to manage a disability during testing.

The rest breaks (which equate to 10 minutes per hour of testing) may be used to pause the clock and take a break without losing test time.

  • You are limited to a maximum of 3 rest breaks in each subtest or introduction screen.
  • During rest breaks, you do not have access to test content as your computer screen is obscured.  At the same time, you should not be making use of your notebooks for any purpose including actively working on test questions.
  • In the event of invigilators observing you actively working on the test during a rest break, this may be reported to UCAT and investigated as potential misconduct.  Exam logs may be reviewed to spot check this behaviour.

Find out about pause-the-clock functionality and the timings of tests with rest breaks.


Special Accommodations

You must apply for approval before booking your test to have special accommodations in place:

Separate Room
  • To test in a separate room at a test centre, your evidence must specify that you need 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 subject to test centre availability.
  • 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.  You should request earplugs to limit disruption.
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 these items during testing.
  • This arrangement requires a separate room (see above), which is subject to test centre availability.
  • Items not approved must be stored in a locker or designated area at the test centre and used outside the testing room.  This also applies if a separate room is not available.
  • Food/drink must not be placed or consumed near the workstation.  You 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

If you have a documented disability or medical condition where your needs cannot be met in a test centre (e.g. testing in a separate room) we may allow you to test using the online proctored solution OnVUE.

We will take into account whether you are currently attending school or work in-person when considering a request to take the test online for reasons of disability or health.

Access Arrangements available for online testing are different to those we can support at a Test Centre.  We would be unlikely to approve you to sit an online proctored test if you would be disadvantaged by testing online (e.g. if other accommodations cannot be supported for security reasons).

Find out the timings of online proctored tests.

OnVUE UCAT testing takes place in a different test window (8 July to 20 September).  Other OnVUE eligibility considerations are outlined here.


Application dates

14 May 2024 (9.30 BST) Access arrangement applications open
18 June 2024 (6.00 BST) Booking opens
15 September 2024 (23.59 BST) Access arrangement application and evidence deadline

Supporting Evidence

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


Candidates currently in education (or left education after 2021)

If you are currently in education (or left education after 2021) we require a recent, signed letter on headed paper from your current or most recent school/college or university, which should (as appropriate) confirm:

  • your disability.
  • the amount of extra time you require in public exams (e.g. 25%).
  • the amount of time for any rest breaks.
  • if you require separate invigilation.
  • any other accommodations you 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 one of the following JCQ forms (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/Assessor would be acceptable:

  • Form 8: Application for Access Arrangements – Profile of learning difficulties
  • Form 9: Profile of need

Recent diagnosis: where you have a recent diagnosis and arrangements have not yet been put in place for your exams, your evidence should confirm the recommendations your school/college/university intend to make to the exam board.

Diagnosis after leaving education: if you were diagnosed with a disability after leaving education you must provide evidence which meets the requirements detailed below for “candidates who left education before 2022” and state in your application when the diagnosis occurred.


Candidates who left education before 2022

If you left education before 2022 and you have a learning difficulty (e.g. dyslexia) you 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.

If you left education before 2022 and you have a disability (e.g. physical disability, medical condition or sensory impairment) you must provide a recent letter (dated 2024) from your usual GP Practice or a specialist (e.g. a consultant or psychiatrist) which must (as appropriate):

  • include a clear outline of your disability.
  • explain how your disability would have a very substantial effect on your speed of working in a 2-hour, multiple choice test sat on computer (as opposed to a written exam).
  • recommend rest breaks and/or a specific amount of extra test time (e.g. 25%).  If more than 25% extra test time is recommended, there must be a strong justification as to why 25% extra test time with an additional 25 minutes of rest breaks is not sufficient to remove any disadvantage.
  • recommend any other accommodations required for exams.
  • make it clear that any recommendations are based on the GP or specialist’s clinical opinion. A letter that simply states your exam preferences or wishes would not be sufficient to approve access arrangements.

Advise your GP or specialist of these guidelines to avoid unnecessary rejection of your evidence.


Application steps

Step 1: Create a UCAT Account as a candidate ID is required to make an application.  If you are a returning candidate you should use your existing candidate ID.

Step 2: Apply for access arrangements with correct supporting evidence by 23.59 (BST) on 15 September 2024 or your application will not be processed.

Step 3: Receive notification of your approved access arrangements within 5 business days.  If you have not received the outcome 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.

APPLY FOR ACCESS ARRANGEMENTS (FROM 14 MAY)

Important information

  • UCAT reserves the right not to approve any access arrangements granted by a school/college/university or those recommended by the GP or specialist for the UCAT test.
  • We may request additional evidence if, in our view, the initial supporting documentation is not considered sufficient.
  • The Access Arrangements Policy is informed by the UK Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) regulations.  If you are currently in receipt of access arrangements not in line with JCQ regulations you will normally be offered the equivalent UK reasonable adjustments for your disability.

 

Access Arrangements FAQs

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

Will you accept evidence that is not written in English?

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 test time/rest breaks 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?