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Special provisions policy

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Special provisions policy

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AMEB (NSW) strives to provide quality examinations for all candidates. This includes candidates with disabilities. We aim to ensure that all candidates:

  • have access to exams and
  • are able to showcase their skills to the best of their ability.

Examination standards are the same for candidates with or without disabilities. No concessions are made to the assessment criteria. However, AMEB will make special assessment provisions to candidates who provide medical documentation of disability.

Requesting special provisions

Enrollers should inform AMEB of the candidate’s special assessment needs:

or as soon as a condition becomes apparent or worsens.

Attach all recent medical documentation of the candidate’s disability to the special provisions request. The applicant or their guardian must give permission for details of the candidate’s special needs to be relayed to the examiner.

The AMEB (NSW) Office staff assess requests. Applicants are advised of the AMEB’s decision within one month of lodging their request.

Applicants may lodge an appeal within 14 days of the AMEB’s decision. Appeals must include additional medical documentation. Appeals are assessed by the Head of the AMEB (NSW).

Once special provisions have been granted the same candidate number should be used for each enrolment. This ensures that the special provisions are provided in each exam.

Types of special provisions

Below are examples of special provisions that candidates with disabilities may request.

Visual impairment (blind or partially sighted)

Written exams

  • Transcription of Theory, Musicianship and Speech and Performance Theory papers into Braille
  • Large print versions of papers to a specified enlargement ratio
  • Extra time to complete the exam
  • A scribe may be used, providing that he or she is neither the candidate’s teacher nor a relative of the candidate. Their role is to read the questions and transcribe the candidate’s answers: they may not answer the questions themselves. The scribe is to be provided by the candidate. If a scribe is used, separate supervision will be arranged.

Practical exams

  • Enlarged sight reading tests to a specified ratio
  • Braille sight reading
  • Substitute aural tests from the grade above for sight reading

Candidates may request to sight read "from memory". The examiner plays the sight reading example for the grade in two bar sections. Each phrase is played twice. Then the candidate plays it back, also in two bar phrases.

Candidates may make large print versions of their music without breaching copyright. General knowledge exam questions are generally taken from the piano part. It is the responsibility of the candidate to provide an enlarged version if required. They must own the original music and which is still controlled by an AMCOS publisher. For copyright information, please refer to the AMPAL guide to print music.


Written exams

  • Specified paper colour
  • Extra time to complete the exam or a reader

A medical practitioner or psychologist must provide certification that a reader is required. The candidate supplies the reader and they may not be a relative or teacher of the candidate.

AMEB can notify written assessors when a candidate’s written expression may be affected by their condition.

Practical exams

  • Sight reading music on specified paper colour
  • Extra time to prepare for sight reading

Sometimes candidates find it easier to read from paper of a particular colour. It is their responsibility to bring a photocopied, coloured paper version of their music to the exam. To comply with copyright regulations they must also bring the original music.

Hearing impairment

Written exams

  • Seating near the front of the room
  • An oral/sign interpreter provided by the candidate and separate supervision where appropriate

Practical exams

  • Higher grade sight reading instead of aural tests
  • An oral/sign interpreter provided by the candidate

Mobility disabilities

The AMEB studios and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music are are wheelchair accessible.

Candidates with mobility issues taking exams at the Conservatorium High School should request studios on the ground level. The lifts at this venue are not always operational on Saturdays.

Teachers using private studios should ask the venue owners about access provisions for their candidates. AMEB (NSW) is not responsible for lack of wheelchair accessibility at private venues.

Acquired brain injury

Candidates who experience mental processing difficulty or delay may apply for:

  • extra time in written examinations and
  • a scribe (provided by the candidate, where applicable).

Separate supervision may be provided where appropriate.

Psychiatric disability

Candidates who experience:

  • anxiety
  • difficulty with concentration or cognition

as a result of:

  • depression
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder or
  • other documented psychiatric conditions

may apply for extra time in written exams. Separate supervision may be provided where appropriate. Requests for examinations early or later in the day may be taken into consideration.

Other disabilities

Each case:

  • is considered on its merits and
  • must be supported by current medical documentation.

In some cases, such as behavioural problems, candidates may not need special provisions. The examiner may still be made aware of the condition and how it may affect the examination.