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Access to exams and tests

Key information to consider when preparing a young person with vision impairment for external exams.

Watch our short film, created with staff and pupils of Tapton School in Sheffield, explaining how access arrangements for GCSE exams work.

Note: since this video was made, the range of modified exams available has been expanded to include 24pt modified large print exams on A4 paper and 36pt modified large print exams on A3 paper.

Exam access arrangements

We've produced an Exam access arrangements checklist which may be helpful when planning access arrangements and adjustments. With all access arrangements, the guiding principle is that a learner's exam experience should match as closely as possible the way they work every day. Consulting learners themselves is an essential way of making sure that this happens.

Modified papers

Awarding bodies offer modified papers in a range of formats. It is important to liaise with the Qualified Teacher of Vision Impairment (QTVI) and confirm which format is best suited to each learner's needs; they should not be asked to use an unfamiliar or inaccessible format.

If in doubt, you can work with the QTVI to order samples and past papers. The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) produces a document on access arrangements and reasonable adjustments, which is updated annually. This document contains more information on the available range of accessible formats: Access arrangements and reasonable adjustments (JCQ)

The list of readily available accessible formats is not exhaustive; if you require something that is not on that list, you should enter into a dialogue with the exam board as early as possible to find an alternative. Bespoke formats should only be requested in exceptional circumstances e.g. if a candidate only reads uncontracted braille; where possible, students should be prepared through practice to use one of the readily available formats.

The deadline for application for modified papers is earlier than that for other access arrangements in order to give awarding bodies the time to produce the papers in the formats requested. It is important to keep to these deadlines to guarantee that the papers can be produced in time

Modified formats available as standard are:

  • A3 unmodified enlarged. This is the standard exam enlarged onto A3, providing a font size of approximately 14pt for most papers. These papers are not provided by awarding bodies, centres should request permission to open the standard papers 90 minutes early to enlarge them themselves.
  • A4 modified large print (18 point). The layout and presentation of the standard paper is simplified to remove elements of visual complexity, without changing the level of difficulty. Pictures and diagrams are often redrawn to make them more visually accessible. Modified large print papers are provided by the awarding bodies on request.
  • A4 modified large print (24 point)
  • A3 modified large print (24 point)
  • A3 modified large print (36 point)
  • Grade 2 braille paper. Here the layout and presentation of the standard paper is simplified, and the content is transcribed into braille, with tactile diagrams where appropriate.
  • Non-interactive electronic (PDF) question paper.
  • Tactile diagrams with print labels.

SQA offers modified large print exam papers in the following font sizes: 14pt, 18pt, 24pt, 36pt and 48pt. These are available in either portrait or landscape orientation.

SQA question papers can be ordered on coloured paper. It can only supply the following seven standard colours: cream, pink, yellow, green, purple, blue and orange.

Exam paper provision for braillists

All exam boards will provide a braille transcript on request in Word format to accompany a hard copy braille paper (additionally a pdf of the braille paper may be ordered).

Applications and issues related to modified formats can be communicated directly to the relevant exam board’s modification team. Email the exam board modification teams:

Modified formats available for SATs exams

The range of modified formats available for SATs is more limited than that for 14-plus exams. If a learner requires a different format, the paper can be modified locally under secure conditions, meaning the centre will need to make an application for early opening on Primary Access Gateway

On the Primary Assessment Gateway, schools can order modified versions of the:

KS1 tests in modified large print (Arial 18pt bold) and uncontracted braille

KS2 tests in:

  • Enlarged print (this is the standard paper enlarged onto A3 giving a font size of 14-15pt; the name of the font used is 'Helvetica 55 Roman').
  • Modified large print (Arial 24pt bold) which has more white space and diagrams modified for accessibility.
  • Braille: all papers are available in contracted UEB but additionally, the English Reading paper is available in uncontracted UEB.

Please note: 2024 will be the first year that KS2 modified large print SATs will be produced in 24pt on A4. By enlarging these papers to A3, the font size will be 36pt. The 18pt MLP paper will no longer be offered.

Modification and production of exam papers

Exams in accessible formats for general qualifications (GCSE, A-level etc) are produced in line with nationally agreed guidelines to make sure they are consistent in quality and style.

"Guidance for the modification and production of examination papers for candidates with a visual impairment” best practice document is produced by the UK Association for Accessible Formats (UKAAF) on behalf of the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) and in consultation with awarding bodies and OFQUAL. It provides important information for anyone preparing students for external exams or producing practice exam material locally. Similar standards are followed in the production of SATs tests.

Download the latest Best Practice Guidance (UKAAF)

School assessments and learning materials must introduce the layout and modifications used in public examinations. A self-study course called Prepare for Success is available through RNIB and VIEW, the professional association for the Vision Impairment Education Workforce, aimed at anyone wanting to learn more about producing practice materials to similar standards as GCSE and GCE exams. Access the self-study course Prepare for Success (VIEW).

Our guide to modifying examination, assessment and curriculum materials for learners with VI – called Well Prepared - is available through RNIB Bookshare. Make sure your school has a copy of Well Prepared!

Modified past papers

All exam boards provide modified (including braille) versions of past papers.

If you require past papers which were not originally produced for a live series, please contact the modified papers team at the relevant exam board well in advance of the required date. The JCQ Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments document (section 6.1) states that where the candidate will be sitting examinations in June 2024 the deadline for contacting the awarding body is 31 October 2023.

14+ exams


MLP Papers

Download from: AQA | Find past papers and mark schemes | Modified past papers

24 pt on A4 can be produced by downloading the 36 pt on A3 version and printing on A4 paper.

Braille papers

Registered centres can order past papers direct from BETS braille website or Connect Group

For papers not originally modified or to request Duxbury files email: [email protected]


MLP Papers

Download from: Past papers materials finder - OCR

Braille papers

OCR registered centres can order braille past papers originally produced for a live series through the BETS braille website. This site lists all available materials.

For music exams, please contact the Connect Group.

Email: [email protected] for papers which were not originally produced for a live series.

Pearson/ Edexcel

MLP Papers

Download from: Modified papers | Pearson qualifications

Braille papers

Download electronic files of braille papers that were produced for a live series from:

Modified papers | Pearson qualifications

Email: [email protected] to request hard copies or request papers that were not produced for a live series.

WJEC/ Eduqas

MLP Papers

Download from: Past papers | WJEC or Past Papers | Eduqas

24 pt on A4 can be produced by downloading the 36 pt on A3 version and printing on A4 paper.

Tip: untick the ‘hide modified past papers’ box on the left side of the results page to show all results.

Braille papers

Email: [email protected] to request electronic files or hard copies of braille papers.


MLP Papers

Download from: A - Z of CCEA Past Papers & Mark Schemes | CCEA

36 pt on A3 can be produced by downloading the 24 pt on A4 version and printing on A3 paper.

Tip: select ‘modified’ from the drop-down box to show all modified large print papers.

Braille papers

Email: [email protected] for queries related to braille past papers.


MLP Papers

Email: [email protected] to request MLP papers that were requested and produced for a live series.

Braille papers

Download electronic files of braille papers that were requested and produced for a live series from: Braille question papers - Access Duxbury braille past papers - SQA


To access modified large print past papers and braille transcripts for SATs exams from the last three years, please visit: National curriculum assessments: practice materials - GOV.UK (

Further information on access arrangements

General qualifications (GCSE etc.)

Details of access arrangements are available in a publication called "Access Arrangements, Reasonable Adjustments and Special Consideration" which is updated each year and available to download on the Joint Council for Qualifications website.

On the JCQ website you can also find a document entitled “Instructions for Conducting Examinations”, this document enables all centres to administer exams consistently and securely. It includes information on use of technology and arrangements for timetable clashes.

For enquiries about specific access arrangements, contact JCQ on 020 7638 4132 or [email protected].

CCEA access arrangements (Northern Ireland)

For information about access arrangements for qualifications in Northern Ireland visit the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment.

Scottish Qualifications Agency

For information about access arrangements for qualifications in Scotland, visit the Scottish Qualifications Agency.

Support for Examination Officers

Examination Officers can access key documents, training, and supporting web tools through The Exams Office

National Curriculum tests (SATs)

General information about assessment and reporting arrangements, including access arrangements, for Key Stages 1-2 is available on the Department for Education website.

The member of staff responsible for ordering exam papers and access arrangements can make online bookings for these through the Primary Assessment Gateway Alternatively, please contact National Curriculum Assessments Helpline on 0300 303 3013 or [email protected].

11+ and Cognitive Ability Tests

RNIB and GL Assessment, one of the UK’s leading independent test publishers, have developed user guidelines for schools, local authorities and VI services for decisions about the use of 11+ test papers for pupils with vision impairment. These guidelines will also be useful to anyone interested in making cognitive ability tests (e.g. CAT) accessible to children with vision impairment.

Download the guidelines and a case study about making reasonable adjustments for pupils with vision impairment (GL Assessment).