Special arrangements for exams

The British Council aims to ensure that every candidate is treated fairly and objectively and that they are given optimum conditions to take their exams. We can make arrangements to accommodate special circumstances or requirements to enable test takers to attend a test centre, to understand questions and to give their exam answers.

If you require special arrangements to undertake your exam, please follow the instructions for each exam below. The special arrangements available depend on the examination board and in some cases you may be exempt from a part of an examination because of a disability or difficulty. Please note, no documents regarding special arrangements will be accepted after registration has closed.


    If you require a modified version of the test, please contact us with at least three months before your test date. This notice period is necessary for the modified test version to be prepared. 

    If your circumstances require special administrative arrangements to be made, e.g. extra time, you must contact us with at least six weeks' notice. You will need to provide a medical certificate issued within the last two years at the time of registration to the office.

  • Cambridge English exams
    If you have a disability or special need, contact us at least three months before your test date. You will need to provide a medical certificate issued within the last two years when registering for the exam. 

    You can apply for special arrangements for Cambridge English paper-based exams only.

  • IGCSE/International GCSE and school exams
    If you require special administration, for example extra time or special exams supervision due to a clash of exam papers, you will need to contact us at least six weeks before your first exam.

    If your circumstances require a special test version to be prepared, you will first need to contact us when registering for the exam. You will need to provide a recent medical certificate along with your special need request.

  • Professional and university exams
    In most cases you will need to contact your examining board or university directly for a special need request. The examining board will contact the British Council about the arrangements and will inform you about the approval of your request. 

    You can contact us for a special need request if you have registered with us for your exam. You will need to provide a medical certificate issued within the last two years at the time of registration.

What documents do I need to submit?

Your application must be supported by medical evidence, which should meet the following criteria:

  • be legible and in English
  • be an original document on headed paper and bearing the name, relevant qualification(s) and signature of a recognised practitioner
  • give a clear statement of the candidate’s disability
  • make it clear how the disability justifies special arrangements.

The medical evidence must be in the form of a report prepared in a period no more than two years before the test date.

What type of support can I get?

If you have hearing or visual impairments, you may be eligible for modified exam materials, including:

  • Braille papers (Grade 1/un-contracted or Grade 2/contracted)
  • large print: either A4 size (18pt bold font) or A3 size (15.5pt font)
  • listening materials: special needs CD or lip-reading test
  • speaking materials: Braille or large print written prompt or large print visual prompt.

If you have dyslexia or physical difficulty you may be able to request special administrative arrangements, including:

  • extra time: 25-100 per cent extra time depending on your need
  • supervised breaks during the examination
  • use of a computer
  • an amanuensis (a person who will write down your answers)
  • a reader
  • a scribe/copier (verbatim transcript)
  • speaking test: standard format, with a ‘dummy partner’ or in single format
  • separate invigilation.