He doesn’t have a medical impairment, he admits frankly, but writing neatly gives him so much stress and time pressure that he can’t complete his exams successfully. He also thinks teachers give him a lower score: they can’t read his answers. Can the university not make a laptop available to him for his exams? And if not, couldn’t he get a bit more time?

No examples

When the issue first came up, the Leiden University board of examiners looked at an old Introduction of Law exam handed in by the student. The board didn’t see ‘any remarks by correctors indicating the answers were illegible’. So what was the actual course where his handwriting tripped him up? The student couldn’t provide the board of examiners with an example of this.

The university’s examination appeals board couldn’t be convinced either. “The handwriting is not more illegible than that of the average student and that’s why this case does not qualify as a special circumstance.”

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Short on money

To the Council of State, the student claimed that his case is special. He is ‘from a non-academic environment and a less wealthy family’. As he’s short of money, he wants to complete his studies in two years’ time.

The Council of State fails to see what this has to do with his chicken-scratch handwriting. He also hasn’t been able to show it has resulted in lower marks. He will have to keep writing his exams the old-fashioned way.