Most students dread exam season. Not only do you have to make sure you are familiar with all of the exam content, but you also have to deal with the pressure! Exams can be extremely stressful. They assess all of your knowledge and the fixed time frame you are assessed in adds to the panic. This pressure can feel even worse if you suffer with anxiety. As you can see, extra time would be a great solution to suffering with this illness.
Generally, you are unable to receive extra time for anxiety. This is because most students suffer from this when sitting exams. However, if you are on medication for anxiety or suffer severely with it, there can be some exceptions made. These include taking rest breaks during exams or examiners being slightly more lenient on your marks. However, you are still unlikely to receive extra time.
Nearly everyone suffers from some sort of anxiety when sitting exams. However, some people may experience this much worse than others and may feel as if they need extra time. Read on if you want to find out who is entitled to extra time during exams.
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Can you get extra time in exams?
You can definitely get extra time in exams! That is, if you meet the correct criteria of course. In nearly every class, there is probably somebody who seems to be allowed more time for exams than you. You may be thinking that this is unfair. However, this is only because you might not know the reasons why they have this extra time. Some people really need this to get a good mark in an exam, whilst others are completely fine without it.
For example, people who have dyslexia need extra times in exams. This is because people with dyslexia usually have a slower working speed. This may be because they have more trouble with spelling, reading and writing.
People with learning difficulties are also entitled to extra time. This is because they usually process things at a slower pace compared to others. If you have anxiety, extra time normally isn’t offered. However, you may be able to receive rest breaks. For more information about extra time in exams, check out this guide by The Good Schools Guide.
How much extra time can you get in exams due to anxiety?
As stated above, it is not likely that you will get extra time due to anxiety. However, in exceptional circumstances, you may be able to apply for rest breaks. For example, if during an exam, you start to feel extremely anxious and are unable to focus.
If your school is okay with you having a rest break, then an invigilator should escort you out of the hall. When you are outside of where the exam is taking place, you may be able to have a five- or ten-minute rest break. This will enable you to calm down and be able to think clearly again. Don’t worry about the time lost! The time you take during your rest break should be added to the end of your exam.
This means that if you take a five-minute rest break, you are allowed to have five minutes extra at the end. Therefore, in some cases, you can technically get extra time due to anxiety. For more information about rest breaks, check out this guide by JCQ.
However, you will need to discuss this with your school, as individual schools have different rules. There is no set maximum time for rest breaks. However, you will most likely only be allowed five- or ten-minute breaks. Just enough time for you to calm down and tackle that exam again! The best way to learn more would be to talk to your school but check out this guide from St George’s School to get a better idea.
If you don’t think these rest breaks will be very helpful, check out this Think Student article which gives some tips on how to lessen anxiety.
How do you get extra time in exams?
To get extra time, you usually will need to take a series of tests. These will provide evidence for why you may need extra time. If you think you need extra time during GCSE exams or A-Levels, you need to have sat these tests no earlier than Year 9.
These tests may be used to detect if you have dyslexia. If you have two standardised scores of 84 or below from the tests, then you can be diagnosed with dyslexia. For more information about these tests, check out this article by Tes Magazine. These scores must be based on different combinations of your speed of reading, speed of writing and cognitive processes. More information about this can be found on the JCQ website, if you click here to read the official guidelines.
This will allow you to get 25% more extra time. Therefore, if you had an exam that lasted one hour, you would be able to get another fifteen minutes. These tests can also be used to assess your maths ability.
Students who have learning disabilities are also able to have extra time in exams and they will also be assessed. They will need to provide evidence to prove that extra time is essential for them to even pass. If they can show that they have significant difficulties with processing information, they may be allowed up to 50% extra time. More information about this can also be found in this guide by JCQ.
How do you apply for extra time in exams?
Now, this process is difficult! The examining body make sure that they only give extra time to people who really need it. This means that the application process is watertight, so that no one who doesn’t really need extra time receives this. The process keeps exams as fair as possible.
If you want to apply for extra time, you must contact a company called SENCo first. If you think your anxiety is severe, they will most likely trial rest breaks for you to use first. However, if this strategy is exhausted and still doesn’t help, then you can apply for extra time. SENCo will fill out a form called the ‘Joint Council for Qualifications Form 8.’
Part two of this form must confirm that you have at least two standardised scores of 84 or less in the tests used to assess if you need extra time. You need to show this or have two or more scores between 85 and 89. This will allow you to get 25% more extra time. For more information about these requirements, check out this article from Tes Magazine.
However, you need to be aware that you will be heavily assessed on this. Your school will also provide their own input. They will do this by reporting how you usually perform on tests and stating whether this extra time would benefit you or not.
You could also be asked to provide evidence of past mock papers or exams, to show how much your anxiety affects you. However, it is very difficult to get extra time in exams for anxiety. For more information about the application process, check out this guide from JCQ.
Can your anxiety affect how your exam papers will be marked?
Special consideration is a method put into place when a student’s grades may have been affected due to something negative that has happened to them. One example of this method which can be applied to anxiety is allowance of additional marks.
You can potentially be given some extra marks in order to make up for the fact that you experienced extreme anxiety during the exam. However, you will not receive any extra time with this. Getting extra marks can be applied to other circumstances that may have affected your ability to concentrate.
For example, a candidate is able to get 5% extra marks if they have experienced the death of a close family member in the two months leading up the exam. This is the maximum amount of extra marks which can be given. A candidate can get 4% or 3% extra marks for the deaths of an extended family member or close friend.
However, you are able to get 2% extra marks if you suffered from extreme distress on the day of the examination. Alternatively, you are able to get 1% extra marks if you suffer from anxiety and medication is needed for this. For more on this, check out this governmental guide. Also, more information can be found in the JQC guide for special considerations if you click here.
However, you need to be aware that you won’t be entitled to rest breaks if you receive this special consideration.
How do you deal with exam anxiety?
You may think that revising as much as you can right before an exam is the best thing to do. However, this is not the case. Instead, it can actually make you even more stressed and anxious. On the night or morning before an exam, it is best to do something relaxing. For example, going on a walk or listening to your favourite music is a great way to reduce your stress.
If you want some great tips on how to deal with anxiety, click here to be taken to the Young Minds website. A website called Mind is also helpful with useful advice for managing your mental health. Check out this Mind article, which outlines fourteen different ways to beat exam stress,
As you can see, receiving extra time is unlikely to happen if you suffer from anxiety. However, you could receive rest breaks which will help a lot. Just remember to reach out for support when you need it. You are not alone. Everyone gets stressed during exams but if you feel as if you need extra help, don’t hesitate to ask a teacher or a friend. Exams are hard but they are important. You can get through this.