Arab States
South East Asia
Southern Asia

Guidelines for candidates with learning difficulties or physical or sensory impairments

Our policy

Each year ABRSM examines candidates with a huge range of different needs and abilities. Because our candidates’ needs differ so widely we treat each person individually, considering their needs in terms of physical access to the exam room; extra time; alternative tests; alternative formats; visual aids; communication aids and so on.

It is important to understand that while we are able to make provisions for the administration of the exam, e.g. extra time or alternative tests, we do not make any concessions in the marking of the exam – all candidates are treated equally.

Please remember, it is important to notify us of your candidate's needs at the time of entry for an exam, either by using the relevant code on the entry form or by enclosing a covering letter.


ARSM exams

ARSM involves no supporting tests, or anything which requires candidates to respond to questions from the examiner, so extra-time allowances are not normally needed. However, if a candidate has access requirements that the examiner should be aware of, please contact our Access Co-ordinator at the time of entry with the relevant details. We will then liaise with the applicant, the examiner and the exam venue to ensure that all appropriate arrangements are made.

Applicants are also welcome to contact the Access Co-ordinator before making an entry, for further information or to discuss arrangements.

Deaf and hearing-impaired candidates are welcome to bring a sign-language interpreter. We do not need prior notification of this.

Specific needs codes (non-UK)




for an amanuensis (Theory)


for Braille memory test in place of sight-reading or Braille Theory paper (if an amanuensis is also required, please attach a separate note)


for candidates with Autistic Spectrum Disorders


for candidates with Dyslexia, Dyspraxia or other learning difficulties


for candidates who will be bringing an interpreter (Practical). A candidate who is not comfortable using English is allowed to bring an independent person as interpreter – Regulation 13 (b)


for large notation Practical sight-reading test or large print Theory paper


for large notation memory test (Practical)


for modified staff notation sight-reading test (Practical)


for modified staff notation memory test (Practical)


for the aural repetition test in place of the sight-reading test (Practical)


for special aural tests for hearing impaired candidates (Practical)


for a translation of the Theory paper (local language – specify language required)


for a translation of the Theory paper (non-local language – specify language required)


for Theory candidates who are unable to sit an exam on the published date for religious reasons

For candidates with other specific needs please see Regulation 18.


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