Exam time is stressful for everyone. For some young people with epilepsy, stress and anxiety can trigger a seizure. Staff need to be aware of, and carefully manage, the impact of exam stress on these young people.

Young people with epilepsy may also need special arrangements put in place for exams. This might be due to the seizures themselves or the impact of epilepsy on the young person’s learning (e.g. problems with memory or processing speed).

Epilepsy is considered a disability under the Equality Act 2010. Schools and awarding bodies are required to make reasonable adjustments to ensure young people with epilepsy are not put at a disadvantage in comparison to their peers.

Access arrangements are pre-examination adjustments that are made to ensure a young person is not put at a substantial disadvantage due to a disability, special educational need or temporary injury.

The type of arrangements needed will depend on the specifics of the young person’s epilepsy and the nature of the exam or assessment. Arrangements might include:

  • Additional time and/or break periods
  • Rescheduling an exam to avoid times of day when a seizure is most likely to occur
  • Someone to note if and when a seizure occurs (to take account of time lost)
  • Someone to provide support during practical assessments

Any potential need for access arrangements should be considered as soon as possible, as applications may need to be made months in advance of the exam or assessment.

Special consideration is a post-examination adjustment to a candidate’s mark or grade to reflect temporarily illness, injury or other indisposition at the time of the exam or assessment. If the young person’s epilepsy affects them during the exam or assessment, they can make an application for special consideration. This could include if the young person had a seizure during an exam or was recovering from a seizure prior to the exam.

Find out more about exam arrangements:

Arrangements for secondary schools and colleges

Joint Council for Qualifications

Arrangements for primary schools

Key stage 1 tests

Key stage 2 tests

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Guide for schools

Young Epilepsy helpline: email helpline@youngepilepsy.org.uk / call 01342 831342 / text 07860 023789



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