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My friend is blind and would like to take the amateur radio license exam.

I understand that the question and the four possible answers can be read to them, and that is fine. The one question that we are still not sure on is, When it comes to block diagrams where the examinee is asked "What is component three"?, how would the reader get past this question?

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    $\begingroup$ Hello and welcome to ham.stackexchange.com! What country are you in? $\endgroup$ – rclocher3 May 14 at 19:37
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    $\begingroup$ A related question and an answer is here, though it doesn't answer your specific question. $\endgroup$ – Mike Waters May 14 at 19:45
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    $\begingroup$ When I was studying for my license exam, the study site repeatedly pointed out that "if you have trouble with math, you can skip all the math questions and still pass the exam." I'm certain the same is true for the diagram questions -- as long as you score near-perfect on the rest of the exam, you could skip all the diagrams and still pass. $\endgroup$ – Zeiss Ikon May 15 at 11:51
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When testing applicants that are vision impaired we use versions of the test that do not include any diagrams. I am a VE and there is a state school for the deaf and blind near us so we have had several vision impaired applicants over the years. Please try to let us know ahead of time so we can ready with the test and so that we can have an extra VE to read the test to the applicant. We seat them away from other testers, but still in sight of the rest of the VE team.

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While a VE has answered definitively above, I'd also add another kind of answer.

When I was studying for my license exam, the study site repeatedly pointed out that "if you have trouble with math, you can skip all the math questions and still pass the exam." They made the same point about certain other sub-classes of questions, such as band allocation. I'm certain the same is true for the diagram questions -- as long as you score near-perfect on the rest of the exam, you could skip all the diagrams and still pass.

The reason is simple: while the test questions are randomly selected from a large pool, the selection process ensures there will be some questions from each sub-class (antenna questions, circuit calculations, band allocation, etc.), and that no sub-class will dominate the test. Because of that, there will be only a limited number of diagram questions on the test (something like three our four) -- and you can skip that many questions without issue, as long as you're confident on all the other subject matter.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't think this is a bad answer per se, but as an occasional VE myself I would still want to re-iterate that there's no reason to get exam questions wrong simply on account of a physical difference. Take advantage of the accommodations and save the guessing for other questions :-) $\endgroup$ – natevw - AF7TB Jun 21 at 20:34
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, also meant to include: congrats on your relatively recent callsign btw!! I also went straight to extra without much real-world experience and so know personally how true the "Passing the Extra test doesn't mean you know everything about radio" is in your bio :-) $\endgroup$ – natevw - AF7TB Jun 21 at 20:41
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I don't like the answer "just pass enough of the rest of the exam so it doesn't matter if you fall this one." That is doing a disservice to our blind friends.

The point of the question is just to identify what the schematic symbol is for the electrical component. Just describe what you see in basic detail. Especially when we're talking about the Technician exam, these aren't super complex transistors and exotic components we're talking about.

"The component three schematic consists of two parallel lines that are perpendicular to the wire line in and out of it."

"Component four is a solid black triangle with a solid black line at it's point."

"Component five is a zig zag style line."

Being knowledgeable hams, I hope you can recognize I'm describing a capacitor, diode, and resistor.

Alternatively, you can do this question in reverse. Read them each answer choice and ask them to describe what the symbol looks like. If they can clearly answer that at the very least for the correct answer choice, I think it's a fair assumption to say they would recognize it if they were physically able to see it.

Again, we're talking about an accommodation for a blind person to answer a question about what a paper schematic symbol looks like. There's a bit of irony there. As long as you make a good faith effort to give this person a chance to answer without giving the answer away, I don't feel you are committing any ethical violation as an exam proctor, nor are you cheapening the licensing process for anyone else.

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    $\begingroup$ I agree with the sentiment of this answer, but not sure about your example. It might vary between the different VEC organizations, but I don't think verbal commentary like you describe would be acceptable under the ARRL guidelines. Since proctors may not discuss the questions, the ARRL VEC exam procedure simply doesn't use the diagram-based questions in cases where they will be read aloud [i.e. verbatim only]. So other questions are randomly (well, slightly-less randomly) generated instead. $\endgroup$ – natevw - AF7TB Jun 21 at 20:39

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