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 equality law. 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. 

Students with epilepsy may be eligible for extra help with exams

Access arrangements (Assessment arrangements in Scotland) 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:

  • Supervised rest breaks during the exam 
  • Extra time to complete the exam 
  • Taking exams at a different time of day, e.g. afternoons if a student tends to have seizures in the morning 
  • Taking exams in a different place, e.g. in a smaller room 
  • 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 (Exceptional circumstances consideration in Scotland) is a post-examination adjustment to a candidate's mark or grade to reflect temporary 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 arrangements in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, with links for further information.  

England, Northern Ireland and Wales 

Find out more about access arrangements and special consideration: 

Joint Council for Qualifications 

England: SATs  

In England, your child may also be able to have access arrangements for key stage 1 (KS1) and key stage 2 (KS2) tests.

Schools must consider whether any of their pupils will need access arrangements before they administer tests. 

Find out more about access arrangements for SATS: 

GOV.UK – Key stage 1 tests: access arrangements

GOV.UK – Key stage 2 tests: access arrangements 


Find out more about assessment arrangements: 

Scottish Qualifications Authority – About access arrangements 

Find out more about special consideration: 

Scottish Qualifications Authority – Exceptional circumstances 

Enquire – Understanding learner’s rights to additional support for learning


Also in this section of the guide


Information for schools about transitions for pupils with epilepsy.


Information about how sleep is affected in pupils with epilepsy.


Information about how school attendance is affected in pupils with epilepsy.


Seizures, related factors and anti-seizure medications can affect a young person communication.


Young people with epilepsy can have problems with memory.

Motor skills

Young people with epilepsy may experience problems with motor skills.

Young Epilepsy Guide for schools

Young Epilepsy Guide for schools

Epilepsy impact on emotions & behaviour

Epilepsy can have a profound effect on a young person's emotions and behaviour, which can produce a range of emotional responses that make academic achievement at school difficult.

Young Epilepsy Guide for schools

UK legal frameworks

An overview of the different laws and systems in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

Young Epilepsy Guide for schools

Key elements of support

The key elements of support that schools should have in place to ensure all young people with epilepsy are safe and included in school life

Young Epilepsy Guide for schools

About seizures

Information about seizure types, triggers, first aid, treatments, records, and emergency medication for schools