Alternative exam arrangements (coursework no exams)

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Tim Mills
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I am studying law in university. 10 years ago i did the Law LLB but ended leaving with a third-class honours. I want to get a grade that reflects my true intelligence. I have gone back to University to study the GDL.

I realised the reason for my original low grade was due to a disability and mental health conditions. Naturally, i don't want to repeat the same mistakes.

I have spoken to the disability department at my Uni. They suggested I have a diagnosis of Dyslexia, this granted me 25% time in the exam. The notes made by the Psychologist included issue with my working-memory. This issues were not fully considered by the Disability Advisor at the Uni. I also provided a letter for my GP and (personal) psychologist, this granted me Stop the Clock. But these are standard adjustments put in place, even without an evidence i.e it could be put in place through no evidence.

Both the letters from my GP and psychologist named many issues that would effect my learning. They told me they could not make a recommendation for alternative exams as it for the university (disability department) to make this decision. They also told me this should discussed with them.

As result the current adjustments in place keep me in a disadvantage to others. I have an option to request a review, but i don't think it make a difference, at this stage i just want to quit a leave.

Can anyone give a advice on how the threshold for alternative exam adjustments?

Thank you
Last edited by Tim Mills; 4 weeks ago
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PhoenixFortune
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(Original post by Tim Mills)
I am studying law in university. 10 years ago i did the Law LLB but ended leaving with a third-class honours. I want to get a grade that reflects my true intelligence. I have gone back to University to study the GDL.

I realised the reason for my original low grade was due to a disability and mental health conditions. Naturally, i don't want to repeat the same mistakes.

I have spoken to the disability department at my Uni. They suggested I have a diagnosis of Dyslexia, this granted me 25% time in the exam. The notes made by the Psychologist included issue with my working-memory. This issues were not fully considered by the Disability Advisor at the Uni. I also provided a letter for my GP and (personal) psychologist, this granted me Stop the Clock. But these are standard adjustments put in place, even without an evidence i.e it could be put in place through no evidence.

Both the letters from my GP and psychologist named many issues that would effect my learning. They told me they could not make a recommendation for alternative exams as it for the university (disability department) to make this decision. They also told me this should discussed with them.

As result the current adjustments in place keep me in a disadvantage to others. I have an option to request a review, but i don't think it make a difference, at this stage i just want to quit a leave.

Can anyone give a advice on how the threshold for alternative exam adjustments?

Thank you
Given that exams are part of the assessment procedure, I don't think universities are obliged to change the assessment method/format as part of reasonable adjustments. Universities can only offer so much before the assessments become completely different to everyone else's.

What adjustments would you require in order to not be at a disadvantage, or would these be considered reasonable?
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Tim Mills
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(Original post by PhoenixFortune)
Given that exams are part of the assessment procedure, I don't think universities are obliged to change the assessment method/format as part of reasonable adjustments. Universities can only offer so much before the assessments become completely different to everyone else's.

What adjustments would you require in order to not be at a disadvantage, or would these be considered reasonable?
Thank you for you're reply,

This what the GDL handbook says:


"Assessment Adjustments
The Disability Support and Inclusion Service can offer a range of adjustments on a case by case basis and the following adjustments are not normally made but can be considered in exceptional, evidenced circumstances which is assessed via the Disability Advisory Group.
 Replacing examinations taken under supervised conditions with take- away assessments / courseworks;
 Splitting examinations into shorter units such that a different paper is taken from the rest of the cohort.
 Changing closed book to open book exams"


All three my reports mention poor working-memory, poor concentration and fatigue.

i can asked them what is the meaning of " exceptional evidenced circumstances" and they said it meant it had to be recommend by a doctor or a educational psychologist, when i spoke with both of them, they told me it was up to the university to implement this and not up to them to give recommendations. The university told me it has to be a GP and/or the psychologist.

I am very confused, i have to go in front of a Panel now, as the disability department rejected this proposal. They are arguing i don't have evidence. But they have all the information they need and can call to clarify and verify, if i do need these adjustments put in place.

It is very unlikely this adjustment of no exams and coursework only, will be granted.

Do you have any advice?
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(Original post by Tim Mills)
Thank you for you're reply,

This what the GDL handbook says:


"Assessment Adjustments
The Disability Support and Inclusion Service can offer a range of adjustments on a case by case basis and the following adjustments are not normally made but can be considered in exceptional, evidenced circumstances which is assessed via the Disability Advisory Group.
 Replacing examinations taken under supervised conditions with take- away assessments / courseworks;
 Splitting examinations into shorter units such that a different paper is taken from the rest of the cohort.
 Changing closed book to open book exams"


All three my reports mention poor working-memory, poor concentration and fatigue.

i can asked them what is the meaning of " exceptional evidenced circumstances" and they said it meant it had to be recommend by a doctor or a educational psychologist, when i spoke with both of them, they told me it was up to the university to implement this and not up to them to give recommendations. The university told me it has to be a GP and/or the psychologist.

I am very confused, i have to go in front of a Panel now, as the disability department rejected this proposal. They are arguing i don't have evidence. But they have all the information they need and can call to clarify and verify, if i do need these adjustments put in place.

It is very unlikely this adjustment of no exams and coursework only, will be granted.

Do you have any advice?
The thing that immediately comes to mind for is that from what I can see they've made adjustments for you already, namely the 25% extra time. Have you had the opportunity to make use of this? Similarly, you've got stop the clock provision, but have you made use of this?
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Tim Mills
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(Original post by Anonymous)
The thing that immediately comes to mind for is that from what I can see they've made adjustments for you already, namely the 25% extra time. Have you had the opportunity to make use of this? Similarly, you've got stop the clock provision, but have you made use of this?
Thank you for your reply,

No i have not. I know from past experience (LLB)*, that the main reason for the third-class degree was because of these issues. No extra time or stop the clock, will help as the issue are mainly to do with revision. I am not able to revise or have information 'stick'. The educational psychiatrist noted several times in the report, i have major issues with my with memory.

If have sit the test with these implementations (stop the clock and 25%+ time):

a) i won't pass
b) if i do pass, it be of a low grade (like before)
c) the uni has a 'fit to sit' policy which means if i sit the exam i can not complain later, it was due to failure of implementations. It would be not be taken into consideration.

*Note: an is a higher version of the GDL, a GDL has 7 subjects all of which is done on the LLB
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(Original post by Tim Mills)
Thank you for your reply,

No i have not. I know from past experience (LLB)*, that the reason of the third class degree was because of these issues. No extra time or stop the clock, will help as the issue to do with revision. I am not able to revise or have information 'stick'. The educational psychiatrist said i have major issues with my with memory.

I have sit the test with these implementations:

a) i won't pass
b) if i do pass, it be a low grade (like before)
c) the uni has a 'fit to sit' policy which means if i sit the exam i can not complain later, it was due to failure of implementations. It would be not be taken into consideration.

Note: an is a higher version of the GDL, a GDL has 7 subjects all of which is done on the LLB
Then, in fairness, I can see where the university is coming from. You've not actually tried to use their adjustments yet, but have simply pushed forward to try to get alternative arrangements. You should actually try sitting exams first with those adjustments in place to see how you get on. I know it's not what you want to hear, but at the moment, you don't have any hard and firm evidence that these adjustments alone aren't enough to mitigate the issues you face. 25% extra time coupled with comfort breaks may well help you more than you think.
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Tim Mills
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Then, in fairness, I can see where the university is coming from. You've not actually tried to use their adjustments yet, but have simply pushed forward to try to get alternative arrangements. You should actually try sitting exams first with those adjustments in place to see how you get on. I know it's not what you want to hear, but at the moment, you don't have any hard and firm evidence that these adjustments alone aren't enough to mitigate the issues you face. 25% extra time coupled with comfort breaks may well help you more than you think.
Thank you for your reply,

I know i am going to fail the i cannot revise, the information doesn't stick. If it did, i would be very happy with the adjustments.

if i sit the exam (as explained post 5), i can't contest my grade later on.

i am worried i am going to lose all money.

what should i do? i am thinking of hiring a solicitor and claiming compensation
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(Original post by Tim Mills)
Thank you for your reply,

I know i am going to fail the i cannot revise, the information doesn't stick. If it did, i would be very happy with the adjustments.

if i sit the exam (as explained post 5), i can't contest my grade later on.

i am worried i am going to lose all money.

what should i do? i am thinking of hiring a solicitor and claiming compensation
And there's your issue. You're not even trying to revise! You're just saying 'well I cannot revise so I want adjustments'. Now have you worked with learning support or the disability team at your university to figure out revision strategies or ways of working that you might not have thought of, but that could help. I get that you can't contest your grade and that you're worried about money, but to me, it seems as if you actually need to work with what you've got first and it doesn't appear as if you're doing that. You're welcome to hire a solicitor, but that seems to me to be a waste of money - you've essentially rejected the adjustments given to you by pressing for different adjustments and I suspect the university would adopt the line that you've not even tried to work with the adjustments to see if they help you.
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Tim Mills
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And there's your issue. You're not even trying to revise! You're just saying 'well I cannot revise so I want adjustments'. Now have you worked with learning support or the disability team at your university to figure out revision strategies or ways of working that you might not have thought of, but that could help. I get that you can't contest your grade and that you're worried about money, but to me, it seems as if you actually need to work with what you've got first and it doesn't appear as if you're doing that. You're welcome to hire a solicitor, but that seems to me to be a waste of money - you've essentially rejected the adjustments given to you by pressing for different adjustments and I suspect the university would adopt the line that you've not even tried to work with the adjustments to see if they help you.
thank you for your reply,

as explained above, i have done this course before at LLB, i have taken all these subjects before. I revised as much as i could. but even with extra it doesn't make a difference because i don't remember anything.

the GDL is made up of 6 subjects( crime, eu, contract, public, tort, land law). I have done all these subjects on the LLB program and they are exactly the same. I got third-honours, so i know from experience i am not going to pass.

i don't know what to do.
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PhoenixFortune
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(Original post by Tim Mills)
thank you for your reply,

as explained above, i have done this course before at LLB, i have taken all these subjects before. I revised as much as i could. but even with extra it doesn't make a difference because i don't remember anything.

the GDL is made up of 6 subjects( crime, eu, contract, public, tort, land law). I have done all these subjects on the LLB program and they are exactly the same. I got third-honours, so i know from experience i am not going to pass.

i don't know what to do.
When you go to the panel, you should make sure that all paperwork (reports, letters etc.) are presented from the professionals you've consulted. Do you have a student union rep who could come with you to help advocate for you?
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Tim Mills
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(Original post by Anonymous)
And there's your issue. You're not even trying to revise! You're just saying 'well I cannot revise so I want adjustments'. Now have you worked with learning support or the disability team at your university to figure out revision strategies or ways of working that you might not have thought of, but that could help. I get that you can't contest your grade and that you're worried about money, but to me, it seems as if you actually need to work with what you've got first and it doesn't appear as if you're doing that. You're welcome to hire a solicitor, but that seems to me to be a waste of money - you've essentially rejected the adjustments given to you by pressing for different adjustments and I suspect the university would adopt the line that you've not even tried to work with the adjustments to see if they help you.
i also wanted to add, it not that they are not giving me the adjustment (coursework no exam), they are saying i don't evidence (i.e it is not recommend by a GP or Psychologist). When i asked both of them to give this recommendation, they said they can't as they are not in that position to make this decision. The university said for this adjustment put in place it needs to come from a GP or Psychologist.
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Tim Mills
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(Original post by PhoenixFortune)
When you go to the panel, you should make sure that all paperwork (reports, letters etc.) are presented from the professionals you've consulted. Do you have a student union rep who could come with you to help advocate for you?
Thank you for your reply,

how do i find the student union rep?

the reports have been given to the disability department and they said they will forward it to the panel.

i need an answer ASAP as i can go to another uni, but if i leave too late it be even harder to enrol. I have been requesting this since i joined in late september
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PhoenixFortune
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(Original post by Tim Mills)
Thank you for your reply,

how do i find the student union rep?

the reports have been given to the disability department and they said they will forward it to the panel.

i need an answer ASAP as i can go to another uni, but if i leave too late it be even harder to enrol. I have been requesting this since i joined in late september
Contact your university's student union and they will advise you.

Would this other university be able to provide you with the adjustments you need?
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Tim Mills
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(Original post by PhoenixFortune)
Contact your university's student union and they will advise you.

Would this other university be able to provide you with the adjustments you need?
thank your reply,

i am not sure, they want to leave a deposit. i have no money left. the uni is still taking money, so i can't pay them. i will only find out once enrolled.

the problem is the uni i am in are lazy, if they phone they can verify the information themselves and discharge this burden.
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Tim Mills)
Thank you for your reply,

I know i am going to fail the i cannot revise, the information doesn't stick. If it did, i would be very happy with the adjustments.

if i sit the exam (as explained post 5), i can't contest my grade later on.

i am worried i am going to lose all money.

what should i do? i am thinking of hiring a solicitor and claiming compensation
If you have problems with memory then what makes you think you would be able to cope with a career in Law? There is a lot of memorisation involved in both the degree course and the job and that is something you should really consider before spending any more money.
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Tim Mills
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(Original post by harrysbar)
If you have problems with memory then what makes you think you would be able to cope with a career in Law? There is a lot of memorisation involved in both the degree course and the job and that is something you should really consider before spending any more money.
Thank you for your reply, i all ready have a LLB.
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Tim Mills)
Thank you for your reply, i all ready have a LLB.
But the grade you got suggests it was not the ideal course for you.

Rather than plugging away with the subject of Law which is full of memorisation of cases etc, I am suggesting you consider whether a different career path would be better for you
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Desideri
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I would be surprised if 25% extra time and rest breaks could actually be put in place with “no evidence”, otherwise every student would have them. I definitely had to provide plenty of evidence to get those at my uni.

Remember that they only have to provide reasonable adjustments, which normally means that you have to be assessed on meeting the same learning objectives as your classmates. So if those learning objectives include knowing certain things, I think it’s unlikely that they would see it as ‘reasonable’ to give you an open book exam. This obliviously depends on your course and uni policies though.

Maybe you could ask around any disability society or anything that your uni has, to see if anyone can recommend a private ed psych who might feel comfortable making these recommendations?

Does your disability service offer any mentoring or support with revision techniques for people with dyslexia or spld? You might want to look into this, as a future legal career is probably also going to require you remembering certain things.
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