Special Examinations/Reasonable Adjustments

Under certain conditions, students who are required to undertake formal examinations may apply for a 'Reasonable Adjustments' due to disability, special circumstances or immediate, extreme misadventure, or a Special Examination as a result of special circumstances.

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Reasonable Adjustment

Reasonable Adjustment is defined as being a ‘process to help students minimise the impact of certain adverse and unforeseen circumstances on their progression and performance in units of study.’

To accommodate a student's verified disability, medical or other condition, reasonable adjustments can be implemented to 'level the playing field' in circumstances that are beyond the student's control and have an actual or potential impact on a student's ability to access and participate in an examination.

Where possible, it is important to apply for Reasonable Adjustments prior to scheduled examinations.

If you have a disability and/or medical condition and require adjustments to assist you to access and participate in other aspects of your study, please contact and register with the Disability Services.

Special Examination

Special Examination may be granted if a student was, or will be unable, as a result of special circumstances, to sit for an examination on its specified date. A student who has entered the examination room shall not be granted a Special Examination except on the grounds of an unforeseen and non-pre-existing illness arising at the time of the examination as testified by a medical certificate, signed by a qualified medical practitioner.  In such a case, a student must leave the examination within the first hour of the examination period.  After an hour, a student will no longer be eligible for a Special Examination and must apply for Reasonable Adjustment. Each student may be granted only one Special Examination for each unit attempt. Note:  Misreading the content of the central examination timetable or early departure for vacation does not constitute a valid reason to request a Special Examination.  Be aware that your exam can be scheduled on any day during the central examination period.

The following are examples of circumstances under which a student may apply for reasonable adjustments in relation to their exam:

  • Disability – a verified disability that affects access to and participation in an examination
  • Immediate, extreme misadventure - debilitating illness which occurs during or on the day of the examination, or the death of a family member in the days immediately preceding the examination
  • Special Circumstances – a situation that is beyond the student's control, is not reasonably foreseeable and which prevents the student from engaging in the examination. Examples may include: sudden illness or disability, loss of employment, an inability to obtain a student visa, death of a student or close family member (parent, sibling, spouse or child), natural catastrophe or political or civil uprising.

Students that have an approved Learning Access Plan (LAP) from Disability Services are not required to submit an application. 

Reasonable Adjustments can vary depending on your circumstances.

Students with a verified disability or that experience immediate, extreme misadventure or special circumstances; the adjustments may include:

  • amanuensis/scribe
  • specialised equipment
  • ergonomic furniture
  • interpreter (signing or oral)
  • separate/private venue
  • permission to take medicine during examination
  • additional writing time
  • additional reading time
  • speech synthesiser computer
  • computer movement – permission to move about during examination
  • rest breaks (maximum 10 minutes per hour)

Any approved Reasonable Adjustments will only apply for the examination period for which you are applying. Students seeking permanent Reasonable Adjustments should contact Disability Services for further information.

Students who experience immediate, extreme misadventure or special circumstances may apply for:

  • Special Consideration is a form of reasonable adjustment that may be requested if you sit an examination and consider that your performance was affected by illness, disability or other special circumstances. You will need to apply in writing, not more than seven (7) days after the examination, to the Faculty PVC. This application must be accompanied by a medical certificate (in the case of illness) or a statutory declaration and corroborative evidence in other cases. Special consideration shall consist of the Faculty PVC's choice of:
      • Special Examination, if not previously granted for that unit attempt for that student
      • Alternate assessment to be determined by the Lecturer
      • Aegrotat of previous assessment for that unit.

The granting of additional marks and/or leniency in the marking of an examination is not a possible outcome for any applications for Reasonable Adjustment.

  • Special Examination may be available to students who, due to special circumstances, were not able to sit the scheduled examination or who completed less than one hour of the examination. A student who applies for Special Examination for reasons other than medical grounds, shall submit, with the application, a statutory declaration stating the facts upon which the application relies and shall offer such corroborative evidence as may be available. Generally, an application for Special Examination must be made not less than seven (7) days prior to the relevant examination, and not more than seven (7) days after the relevant examination 

A student who is aware in advance that they will be unable to sit for an examination at the place appointed, or has special needs or support requirements, may apply to the University for Reasonable Adjustments at least twenty one (21) working days prior to the commencement of the examination period.

The University will consider all requests for Reasonable Adjustments and Special Examinations. However, a request that is considered to compromise academic standards (ie a request to waive the requirement to complete the examination) will not be granted.

Other situations where Reasonable Adjustments or Special Examinations would not normally be approved include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • situations or events where the consequences could have been reasonably anticipated
  • stress or anxiety normally associated with completing an examination
  • difficulties in adjusting to the demands of university life
  • difficulties in developing the self-discipline need to study effectively
  • planned events such as weddings, family reunions etc
  • recreational travel
  • demands of social, sport or clubs – except for the participation in NTIS training camps,      national or international level sporting events or involvement in a significant cultural event
  • routine demands of employment.

The process for applying for Special Examinations and/or Reasonable Adjustments during a central examination period is governed by the Higher Education Examination Policy (PDF 154KB) and requires students to complete and submit the relevant eForm

If you are seeking either a Special Examination or Reasonable Adjustments due to medical reasons, your medical practitioner should complete the Student Medical Certificate available on the eForm application.

Please note:  The Higher Education Examination Policy (PDF 154KB) specifies precise time frames for applications for Reasonable Adjustments for examinations. To ensure the best possible outcome, students' should observe the timeframes stated in the policy. 

Appropriate documentary evidence is required to verify claims for Reasonable Adjustments and applications for a Special Examination. The type of evidence you provide is determined by the circumstances that form the basis of your request. The evidence should provide enough information about the severity or gravity of your situation to allow a reasonably informed decision to be made regarding your request.

Students with a Disability are welcome to discuss Reasonable Adjustments for Examinations with Disability Services.

In some circumstances, documentary evidence can be of a personal nature that demands a high level of confidentiality. If this is the case, you may wish to contact the Counselling Service or Disability Service to discuss your application. After viewing your documentary evidence, the Disability Liaison Officer or Counsellor may be able to provide written confirmation that they have sighted your evidence and that it is consistent with your application.

Your evidence may include:

  • Medical – Certificate provided by a health professional such as a medical practitioner, psychiatrist or physiotherapist who is registered with a relevant professional regulatory authority;
  • Compassionate reasons – Supporting letter from a psychologist, social worker, medical practitioner, religious leader, funeral director or a Statutory Declaration accompanied by corroborative evidence; or
  • Hardship/trauma – Supporting letter or report from a psychologist, social worker, medical practitioner, police officer or a Statutory Declaration accompanied by corroborative evidence.

All applications for a Special Examination for reasons other than medical grounds are required to submit with the application, a statutory declaration stating the facts upon which the application relies and shall offer such corroborative evidence as may be available.

The university will not approach doctors, hospitals or police to obtain documentary evidence on behalf of a student.  It is the student's responsibility to submit their requests on the appropriate form with documentary evidence to the Student Central

Please note that any information provided to the university is governed by the university's Privacy Policy.

The decision to grant or decline an Application for Reasonable Adjustment or Special Examination is made by the relevant Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor (or delegate) in the unit in which you are enrolled.

If you are aggrieved with the outcome your application, you can lodge a complaint in accordance with the Academic Grievance Procedures (PDF 82KB). You will be required to provide a summary of your complaint and evidence-based reasons to support your case. For further information and advice please visit Complaints or email complaints@cdu.edu.au

Contact Student Central for advice regarding procedures relating to: Examinations, Special Examinations, and Reasonable Adjustments for central examinations.

If you have a disability it is advisable to register with Disability Services.

If you have personal issues that are adversely affecting you studies there are Counsellors available to assist you.

Please note that it is the student's responsibility to submit their application and any supporting documentation to the Student Central within the specified timeframes.