Exam accommodations for Autistic Students

Autistic students may face additional challenges when taking exams, such as sensory overload. Having recognised these challenges, the DfE commissioned the Autism Education Trust (AET) to develop guidance around accommodations to help teachers and exam officers support autistic students to demonstrate fully their knowledge and skills in qualifications.

The guide was written specifically to support autistic students being entered for GCSEs, but the principles and good practice examples can be applied to all public examinations.

The guide includes tips on:

The availability of access arrangements

  • The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) publishes requirements for the most common access arrangements for GCSEs etc. Access arrangements include reasonable adjustments that are needed to make exams accessible for candidates who have disabilities. A reasonable adjustment may be unique to that individual and may not be included in the JCQ’s list of available access arrangements.

 Preparing the student

  • In order to prepare autistic students for taking exams, teachers should be familiar with the exam content and formatting so that they can provide individualised guidance and support. It is good practice to make use of any available previous papers and practice material.

Read more information on AET Exam Accommodations.


The purpose of the Local Offer is to enable parents and young people to see more clearly what services are available for children with special educational needs and disabilities in their area, and how to access them.

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