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These guidelines are generic to all examinations. For further, specific guidance on setting MCQs see multiple choice questionnaires (MCQs).


Guidelines for inclusive exams


  • Consider what you want to assess. Is it memory, knowledge, cognitive skills, analysis, technique? Your learning outcomes will be useful in this task.
  • Consider what exam style is best fitted for achieving this assessment (e.g. essay based, MCQ, practical demonstration, oral exam).
  • Communicate your assessment goals clearly to students.
  • Follow accessible information guidelines when setting exams. See Guidelines for Accessible Examinations (Word, 468kb).



  • Arrange timetables so that students have a break between exams. Preferably there should be no more than one exam per day. Students will not work at their best if they are fatigued (exams are rarely meant to test stamina).


Exam Weighting

  • Avoid having the annual exam count for 100% of the mark. This causes stress and results are easily distorted by ill health and bad (or good) luck. A blended approach, incorporating continuous assessment will give a better picture of the student's overall ability in a module.


Essay-Based Exams

  • Consider the amount of writing expected when setting exams to ensure you do not unnecessarily disadvantage those who are slower writers or who tire easily. Essay based exams can be tiring, particularly for older students and those with disabilities.

Remember that structuring an essay under stressful exam conditions can prove difficult for students, particularly those with specific learning difficulties, anxiety, or who speak English as a second language.

Last updated 22 September 2016 by Trinity Inclusive Curriculum (Email).