Using a reader in examinations


A reader is an individual who reads text to a student during a university exam. The specific circumstances in which a student can access this support arrangement will be outlined in their Personal Learning Support Plan.

A reader will

  • Read as requested by the student.
  • Read the exact wording (instructions and questions) of the exam paper as often as the student requests.
  • Spell words, in an exam paper only, as requested by the student, if the student has a visual impairment.
  • Read the exact wording of a student’s response(s) as often as the student requests.
  • Read the identified text at the speed and in the order requested by the student.

A reader will not

  • Rephrase or explain the meaning of words, phrases or questions in the exam paper.
  • Suggest when to move on to the next question, give advice about which questions to answer or which order questions should be answered in.
  • Comment on the factual, grammatical or academic content of what has been written.


  • It is recommended that students practice working with a reader prior to an exam in timed practice sessions, using past papers where available. If possible, students should practice with the person who will be supporting them in an exam. Students may also wish to practice with a friend or fellow student.

In the exam

  • You should indicate to your reader which responses, instructions, questions or parts of questions you wish to have read aloud. You can choose to read some parts of the exam paper yourself if you wish.
  • You must study any diagrams, graphs or pictures yourself. You can ask your reader to read any text or captions in them.
  • If the use of a dictionary is permitted, you can ask your reader to look something up for you and read it.

An exam invigilator will be present in the room at all times.