Access Arrangements

Access arrangements for the 2022 test cycle are currently being reviewed and will be confirmed in Spring 2022.

Candidates who are normally entitled to extra time or other accommodations in their school/college/university exams due to a documented special educational need, disability or medical condition may be entitled to access arrangements when sitting the UCAT. 

Access arrangements need to be arranged in advance of your test day.  Some arrangements require you to make an application with supporting evidence before you can book a test. This page outlines the access arrangements we can provide in our test centres. 

Testing without access arrangements in place will not be accepted as a mitigating circumstance.  

Key Dates 

Access arrangement applications open: 24 May 2022 at 9am (BST)
Test booking opens: 20 June 2022
Access arrangements application deadline: 20 September 2022 at 12 noon (BST)


What access arrangements do not require approval? 

Items on the Pearson VUE Comfort Aid List are permitted to be taken into the test room and do not require any prior approval.  They will be visually inspected by test centre staff during the check-in process.

The following test accommodations need to be arranged at least 5 working days in advance of your test by calling Pearson VUE Customer Services.  You do not need supporting evidence. 

Test centre accommodations

Instructions

Wheelchair access or adjustable height desk

Subject to test centre availability, which can be advised when speaking to Customer Services.

ZoomText

If you are familiar with ZoomText, this can be arranged as an accommodation.  You may use the magnification and colour enhancement features but the reader features will be turned off.

Coloured overlay

You must supply the overlay, which will be visually inspected by staff during the test centre check-in process.  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

Your entitlement to extra time and/or rest breaks in the UCAT must be approved by the UCAT Office before you book your test. 

  • Extra time will not be approved if your learning difficulty is primarily because English is not your first language.
  • As the UCAT is a computer-based, multiple choice test, extra time will not be approved if your entitlement only relates to handwriting issues. 

 We offer the following extended versions of the UCAT:  

  • UCATSEN (150 minutes):  The UCATSEN is for candidates eligible for 25% extra test time

  • UCATSA (140 minutes):  The UCATSA is for candidates eligible for extra time for rest breaks but not for extra test time.  It has the standard UCAT timings but with 5 minute, timed instruction sections before each subtest.

  • UCATSENSA (168.75 minutes): The UCATSENSA is for candidates eligible for 25% extra test time who also need extra time for rest breaks.  It has UCATSEN subtest timings with 5 minute, timed instruction sections before each subtest.

  • UCATSEN50 (180 minutes): The UCATSEN50 is for candidates who are eligible for 50% extra test time.  This version of the test is only approved in exceptional circumstances where there is documented evidence of a very substantial physical or mental impairment that would hinder speed of working in a computer-based, multiple-choice test that requires very little writing.

    • To qualify for 50% extra time candidates with Specific Learning Differences (SpLD) should usually have two very substantially below average standardised scores (69 or less) which relate to two different areas of speed of working (reading or cognitive processing measures NOT speed of writing).

The format and timings for each version of the test can be found here.


Special Arrangements (only allowed in a test centre)

You must apply for approval before booking your test to have these special arrangements in place at a test centre: 

  • Separate room – evidence must confirm entitlement to separate invigilation.

  • Access to medicine or medically necessary devices or food/drink (NOT included on the Pearson VUE Comfort Aid List) at your workstation. This arrangement requires a separate room, which is subject to test centre availability.  Candidates with diabetes should refer to this information sheet


What evidence do I need to make an access arrangements application?

We require a recent, signed letter on headed paper from your current or most recent school/college or university, which should (as appropriate):

  • Explicitly state the amount of extra time you are entitled to in public exams (e.g. 25%).

  • Explicitly state the amount of time for any rest breaks.

  • Explicitly state you need to test in an individual room.

  • Explicitly state any other accommodations you are entitled to in public examinations.

  • Confirm on what basis this entitlement has been agreed, for example a diagnosis from a qualified medical practitioner or an assessment by an educational psychologist / specialist teacher.

In place of a letter a copy of an approved ‘JCQ Form 8 Application for Access Arrangements’ (all pages) that has been completed and signed by the Head of Centre/SENco and Assessor would be acceptable. 

Please refer to the FAQs at the bottom of this page if any of these apply to you:

  • You are not normally entitled to access arrangements in your school/college or university exams;
  • You have been out of education for more than 2 years and cannot provide the evidence detailed above;
  • You have a short-term illness or injury.


What access arrangements cannot be provided?

Due to the nature of the UCAT and the necessary testing environment, the following access arrangements cannot be provided under any circumstances:  

  • A reader or computer reader.
  • A paper version of the test.
  • Pen and paper (see Test Tools for note taking options).
  • A scribe.
  • Unlimited, ‘on request’ or ‘stop the clock’ breaks (refer to tests with rest breaks above). 
  • Personal headphones or earplugs (only those supplied by the test centre are permitted).


How do I apply for access arrangements that require approval? 
 

Extra time, rest breaks or special arrangements must be approved by the UCAT Office before you book your test.  You must apply at least 10 working days before you intend to book your test.  If you leave it late in the test window to apply, your options may be limited depending on test centre availability.

Step 1: Register a Pearson VUE account as you will need your candidate ID.

Step 2: Complete the application form with the correct supporting evidence.

ACCESS ARRANGEMENT APPLICATIONS OPEN IN 2022

Step 3: You will be notified of the outcome by email within 5 working days. If you have not heard from our office within this time (and after checking junk/spam folders), please email the UCAT Office and we will check on progress.  

Step 4: Refer to the booking instructions sent to you and book your approved test before the booking deadline (22 September).  

The access arrangements approved at your school/college/university, and what is recommended by the GP or specialist, will not necessarily be those approved for the UCAT.

Access arrangements are considered with respect to maintaining the integrity of the assessment process.  Therefore, given the nature of this test it may not be reasonable to provide all the adjustments specified in your application.  Access arrangements should meet the needs of the candidate affected by a disability or medical condition but must not confer any advantage over other candidates sitting the assessment under standard conditions.


Access Arrangements FAQs

Can I apply for access arrangements if I have a short-term injury or illness?

Access arrangements are not normally approved for a short-term injury or illness.  The UCAT is delivered over a period of 12 weeks so you would be expected to sit the standard test once you have recovered.  If you have a test booked you should reschedule your appointment until you are fit to test.  If you choose to book a late test date and then encounter illness, injury or other issues which prevent you from attending your test appointment you risk not being able to reschedule within the test window.  It is your responsibility to test within the test window. 

If you are concerned that illness, injury or personal circumstances means you will not be ‘fit to test’ throughout the 2022 test window, you must contact the UCAT Office for advice before sitting your test.  If you choose to sit your test against this advice, UCAT will not accept this as a mitigating circumstance.

Can I apply for access arrangements if I am not normally entitled to them in my school/college or university exams?

This will depend on the reason you need access arrangements to sit the UCAT.  If you feel you have a legitimate reason you should contact the UCAT Office with details so we can advise on what evidence you should obtain to support an application. 

What evidence will be accepted if I have been out of education for more than 2 years and cannot provide a letter from my last place of study?

Candidates with a Specific Learning Difference (SpLD) such as Dyslexia, Dyspraxia or Dyscalculia should provide:

  • A full, post-16 diagnostic assessment report of specific learning difficulties from a specialist teacher assessor or educational psychologist. It must explicitly recommend a specific amount of extra exam time (e.g. 25%) and/or other accommodations in public examinations.  To assist us, please note in your application the page number in the document that refers to your exam recommendations.

Candidates with a disability or long-term medical condition should provide:

  • A recent letter (dated 2022) from a GP or specialist (e.g. a consultant, psychologist or psychiatrist) which:

    • includes a clear outline of your disability or long-term medical condition.
    • 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 your exam preferences or wishes would not be sufficient to approve access arrangements.  

Medical evidence which recommends 50% extra time should make a strong justification that the disability or long-term medical condition would very substantially hinder your speed of working in a computer-based, multiple choice test that requires very little writing.

The access arrangements recommended by the GP or specialist, will not necessarily be those approved for the UCAT if they would confer any advantage over other candidates sitting the assessment under standard conditions.  We reserve the right to request additional evidence if, in our view, the initial supporting documentation is not sufficient to verify your eligibility.

If you are struggling to provide evidence please email the UCAT Office.  

Please note: candidates currently or recently (within the last 2 years) in education must provide a letter from their school/college or university, which meets the requirements outlined in the main guidance above.

Can I leave the test centre room for a break?

You are permitted to leave the test centre room but the test cannot be paused and will continue running. You are advised, if possible, to take any breaks between subtests to limit the impact on test time. 

Can I book an extended test (UCATSA, UCATSEN, UCATSENSA, UCATSEN50) before my access arrangements application has been submitted or approved?

The UCATSAUCATSENSA and UCATSEN50 can only be booked by phoning Customer Services once the UCAT Office has approved your application.  You cannot book these versions of the test through your web account.

Although our booking system does not prevent you booking a UCATSEN before your eligibility has been approved we strongly recommend you wait for confirmation your application has been approved before booking a test.  You must not sit the UCATSEN until your application has been approved.  If you are also entitled to any ‘special arrangements’ (e.g. separate room, access to medical items), then do not book a test until your application has been approved as these cannot be added on later.  Booking a UCATSEN does not mean you are approved to sit this version of the test; you must still make an application for access arrangements to have your eligibility for extra time approved.

If you need to change the version of the test you have booked (e.g. from UCAT to UCATSEN) you will need to cancel your existing appointment and book again.  The date, time and location of your new appointment is likely to change depending on availability at the time.  It is for this reason that we say you should not book your test until you have had confirmation of your approved access arrangements.

What if I sit an extended version of the test without approval?

If you sit an extended version of the test without approval, your chosen Universities will be told that we cannot confirm your entitlement to extra time and they may not accept your result. 

What if I think my specific exam needs cannot be met?

You should need to make an Access Arrangements Application with appropriate supporting evidence.  We will assess your application and advise you how to proceed.  Your application must meet the normal deadlines outlined above. 

Can I take in water?

If you have a relevant medical condition or need to take medication during your test, permission can be granted for you to have water at your workstation.  Otherwise, water is not usually permitted in the test room as it may damage technical equipment and if brought must be stored in a locker and used outside the testing room. 

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

Any unapproved items you take with you to the test centre must be stored in a locker and can only be used outside the testing room.  If they are required during testing, please raise your hand to notify the invigilator.  You are advised, if possible, to use the break between subtests to limit the impact on test time. 

Do you tell universities about my approved access arrangements?

The UCAT Office does not inform Universities which approved version of the test you have sat.  Nor do we pass on details of your disability, special needs or medical conditions.  University Medical and Dental Schools encourage applicants to declare their disability, special needs or medical conditions to them as early as possible in the admissions process.  This is so that they can start to put the right support in place for you before you arrive. 

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

Yes, you must apply each time you sit the UCAT.  Any access arrangements approved by the UCAT Office are only valid for that years sitting of the UCAT.  We do not keep evidence after the usual retention period.

How do my access arrangements affect my university application?

Our decision applies solely to your sitting the UCAT.  It does not relate to any aspects of University admission processes, your fitness to study medicine/dentistry or your fitness ultimately to practice.