Making the exam room a level playing field for every student

Exam time can be a stressful period for any student, but especially for students who struggle with reading and writing. Read&Write meets the JCQ Guidelines as a computer reader and as a replacement for a scribe in GCSE and A-Level exams.

How does it work?

Read&Write is the most widely used computer reader in the UK. It’s a software toolbar with an easy-to-use exam mode to allow restriction of features, so that students will only be able to access approved features during an exam.

A Computer Reader with a powerful, secure text to speech feature. It also includes a ‘screenshot’ reader for content embedded in diagrams. 

In built scanning, OCR and a PDF reader provides a complete reader alternative.

What does JCQ say? 

“A computer reader is an acceptable arrangement since it allows the candidate to independently meet the requirements of the reading standards.”

A speech recognition or dictation tool in place of a scribe that requires no training. It can be used with any word processor to facilitate accurate dictation under exam conditions.

What does JCQ say?

“Where the centre has approval for the use of a scribe and where it reflects the candidate’s normal way of working within the centre, as appropriate to his/her needs, the candidate may alternatively use speech recognition technology with predictive text when the candidate dictates into a word processor.”

Meeting JCQ regulations and SQA guidelines

Read&Write is designed and used in line with the JCQ regulations that govern examinations in the UK and the SQA guidelines in Scotland.

Our easy-to-use exam mode allows easy restriction of features. So that students will only be able to access specific, approved features during their exam.

Who can use it? 

Read&Write can be used as an “access arrangement” or “reasonable adjustment”. This allows candidates with special educational needs, disabilities or temporary injuries to access the assessment without changing the exam. Access arrangements are pre-examination adjustments for candidates. Such adjustments are based on evidence of needs and their normal way of working.

Please note: Advanced approval is now required to use Read&Write in exams. You can do this via Access Arrangements Online.

Where can it be used? 

The dictation feature can be used in paper exams (including those where digital copies such as PDFs are available). This includes the majority of the exams taken by high school aged students in the UK. It’s a cost effective, powerful alternative to human scribes to help provide independence and confidence for students who qualify for that support.

A computer reader can be used in paper based exams (including those where digital copies, for example PDFs, are made available). This also includes many different exams where a human reader is not permitted, such as GCSE English Language. 

A computer reader may also be used in online exams where permitted by the awarding body and the examination integrity is maintained. Please contact us for the full details on how best to achieve this. For regional use, outside of JCQ scope, please check your exams awarding body.

What our customers say

Read&Write has made a huge difference to exam grades particularly in the English language exam where human readers are not allowed. It has allowed pupils more independence and to work at their own pace as well as giving them more confidence. One student refers to it as her 'best friend’.


  • Windows and Google Chrome*.

    *Subject to preservation of exam integrity - please contact us for full details

  • Read&Write has two exam modes. For individual machines, simple mode allows an administrator or Exams Officer to switch exam mode on, limit the features and secure the tool easily for one user on one machine. 

    For a small number of users this can be practical ahead of exams. In advanced mode, admins can access a dashboard to allow groups of student profiles to enter exam mode, select which permitted features are available , or even set a time limit to revert to normal use.

  • Yes, and it does require internet access in order to provide the most accurate results for students. This meets JCQ current guidelines and advice subject to IT configuration.

  • Yes, entering ‘exam mode’ will automatically limit features to those permitted.

  • Dictation. Text to speech, screen mask and the PDF reader

  • Yes, the student will require a word processor on the same computer which must have its spelling and grammar functions turned off.

  • No, it is ‘talk and type’ which requires no training at all. Speak naturally

    and no preparation is required. However, always remember that students should be familiar with the tool as their normal way of working in other assessments and in class.