Students who have reading difficulties such as dyslexia can independently take exams knowing that they can read and understand the questions.








About The C-Pen Exam Reader

The C-Pen Exam Reader pen scanner is a major technological breakthrough for anyone wanting to read English, Spanish, French, German or Italian exam questions. The C-Pen Exam Reader is a totally portable, pocket-sized device that reads text out aloud with an human-like digital voice.

The Exam Reader has been approved by The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ)* for use in exams.
This means students who have reading difficulties such as dyslexia can independently take exams knowing
that they can read and understand the questions.  No special access arrangements are required.

The pen is half the size of other portable pen scanners on the market and at 50g is half the weight. 

As well as promoting Independent Reading this pen is:

  • Ideal for hearing words & lines of text read aloud

  • Great for students with dyslexia, reading difficulties and english as a second language

  • Designed to allow students to be with their peers in the main exam hall with headphones plugged into their pens

  • Available in a class set of ten pens

Which pen is right for me?

Exam Reader

I need help reading an exam paper in:

  • English

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Italian

  • German

I have dyslexia and I am learning:

  • Italian

  • German

I have some sight loss* and I am trying to read in:

  • Italian

  • German






Reader Pen

I have dyslexia and I am learning:

  • English

  • Spanish

  • French

I have some sight loss* and I am trying to read in:

  • English

  • Spanish

  • French











Dictionary Pen

I am learning English** and my mother tongue is:

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Italian

  • German

  • Russian

  • Mandarin

  • Arabic

I am English and learning:

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Italian

  • German

  • Russian

  • Mandarin

I am a customer looking for the best line scanner capable of scanning in:

  • English

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Italian

  • German

  • Russian

  • Mandarin

*Note: If you can use a yellow highlighter pen to highlight text in a book/on paper then you could get some use out of this C-Pen

** Note: If you mother tongue is not listed above, the Dictionary Pen will still help you learn English however it will not translate the word back into your language.



“A permitted examination reading pen will not have an in-built dictionary or thesaurus, or a data storage facility.

The use of an examination reading pen, provided by the centre, might benefit those candidates who wish to work independently who do not qualify for a reader. It may increase the independence of candidates who needed a reader for accuracy rather than comprehension.

An examination reading pen may be used in papers (or sections of papers) testing
— JCQ 2016/17 Statement


Key Product Features

Text to speech

Use C-Pen Exam Reader to read printed text for you! C-Pen Exam Reader features a high quality naturally speaking British English, American English, Spanish, French, German or Italian voice. 


The C-Pen Exam Reader is small, portable, and light making it easy to carry with you anywhere you like to read. 

Cost Savings

Please click here to see how much your school could be saving if it switches from using human readers to using C-Pen Exam Readers instead.


Screen OLED 256*64
CPU 600MHz
Earphone 3.5mm
Battery 1,200mAh
Scan Font Size Range 6.5 - 22 pt
Menu Languages English
Certifications CE RoHS FCC
Size Dimensions: 135*33*19mm Weight: 50g


C-Pen Exam Reader uses a standard micro USB connector for charging, and a standard 3.5 mm connector for your favourite headphones


Free support is available.  The manual is here in English, here in French and here in Spanish, here in German and here in Italian.  Please find a version history here. To upgrade please click here


Products are warranted against defects for 1 year from date of purchase.


We offer schools a free 30 day trial, please send a school purchase order to orders@scanningpens.com

Package Contents

C610 Exam Reader
Carry Case
USB Cable
Instruction Manual


UK Case Studies

International Case Studies



Chloe was diagnosed with dyslexia in Year 2, but this, in no way affected the support offered to her by the school, they continued to teach her exactly like all the other children and dealt with her disability as though it were a disciplinary matter and if only she “applied herself more”, and “tried harder” and “just concentrated” (these were the words I heard at practically every parent teacher meeting) then she could surely overcome the dyslexia. Given Chloe’s dad is also dyslexic, and the research I had done by myself, I knew no amount of effort from Chloe would allow her to overcome her disability. Even though Chloe started school a very bright, confident and eager student, each year that passed during her primary school life, saw her self-confidence and self-worth take a further beating, and the constant criticism made her feel “dumb and stupid”. She became anxious, particularly at the end of each term when she knew there would be tests to do and the results of which would be shared with the whole class. Again, her shortcomings would be on full display and the judgement she felt from her peers as well as the teachers would humiliate her.

Life at secondary school was somewhat easier as they at least recognised her disability for what it was and offered assistance where they could. Her formal dyslexia diagnosis advised a human reader should be made available during exams and at first, when Chloe’s exam results improved noticeably, it seemed like she was finally getting a fair chance at learning and succeeding at school. However, and unfortunately, Chloe felt embarrassed to ask a human reader to repeat a sentence as she felt it made her appear “dumb” or “not concentrating enough”. This is in no way a criticism of the readers provided but when we got a chance to trial your C-Pen ExamReader we jumped at it. Chloe clearly can’t be judged by the C-Pen ExamReader, so that relieves one significant worry.

However, and unfortunately worse than the perceived judgement, and on top of the dyslexia, Chloe also suffers from misophonia (also known as selective sound sensitivity syndrome, or sound rage). It’s often triggered by an oral sound – for Chloe it is the noise someone makes when they eat, breathe or talk. Chloe’s anxiety is heightened during tests anyway, but through no fault of the human reader, Chloe finds their breathing or noises they make with saliva in their mouth trigger her misophonia and her ability to concentrate is shot to bits after that. She equates those saliva sounds to her, to being everyone else’s reaction to nails across a blackboard, and it continues for the entire time the reader is sitting with her. She gets frustrated to the point of bursting into tears, far from ideal during an exam. Thankfully, the C-Pen ExamReader has no saliva or breathing sounds, so is an absolute God send. Given Chloe can use noise cancelling headphones with the C-Pen ExamReader means she also blocks out sounds from other students. We have invested a lot of time and money attending all sorts of practitioners, both with medical specialists and alternative therapists, unfortunately without any relief. Till now.

Previously when I’d collect Chloe from school, if there had been an exam or test during the day, I could tell by her face as she walked to the car she was only barely holding her emotions together. She would get in the car, exhausted from the exertion required to control the frustration she felt in dealing with both the dyslexia and the misophonia that day, but also upset that again another test result would not show the effort she had put into preparing for the test, nor the grade she was capable of achieving. As a parent I felt helpless and constantly worried what this was all doing to her mental health.

This week and next are just a full exam block for Chloe, normally enough to trigger panic attacks, but she has tackled each one so far, with the help of her C-Pen ExamReader and headphones, like a pro. She’s been able to get the questions clear in her head and get on with answering them without being distracted, just like every other student. The relief the whole family feels, at finally finding something that really works for Chloe, is palpable. While we trialled the C-Pen ExamReader in the hope it would help with the dyslexia (which it has done) it had the added bonus of dealing with the misophonia at the same time, whilst also relieving the school the expense of having to provide a human reader – what a win/win/win!

Thank you most sincerely for the miracle that is the C-Pen ExamReader, it really is life changing for my daughter.

— Parent, Australia
I asked a high achieving student who has been granted the use of a reader to trial the pen. He is a student who requires his reader to read each paper from start to finish at the outset of the exam and rarely requires assistance for the remainder of the time. He was very impressed with the pen and said he would happily use it in an exam environment.
I asked a weaker student who has been granted the use of a reader to trial the pen. She is a student who would be much more dependent on her reader in an exam situation and would require questions to be re-read a number of times. Her feedback was very positive, and she stated that she would be happy to use the pen in place of a human, once she was used to it and had a lot of practice with it on a day to day basis. She particularly liked the fact she could listen to a sentence/paragraph any number of times, at her own convenience.
— Bruce College, Ireland
I have been using two Exam Reader pens on a trial basis with junior students, and they used them in the Christmas exams. One of my students, who has a lot of difficulty with reading, really took to the pen and used it a lot in the exams. He did much better in the exams than was expected, and his parents were delighted. They have just ordered a Reader Pen (with the dictionary function) for him so that he will have it all the time for studying. I have a number of other students who are interested in trying out the pens this term.
— Nicola Woods, Wesley College
Student- The use of the pen in the exam/mock helped my confidence I tend not to ask the human reader to read for me. The pen gave me the independence to read the questions as many times as I wanted to.

Teacher- A year 11 student who had just been diagnosed with dyslexia. Used in all mock exams but did not use other languages on the pen. This pen fully enabled Chloe to engage with her work, without this her confidence had really taken a knock as she had to guess a word or try to ask for it to be read – neither of which helped. The pen allowed her to read and re-read without embarrassment. Her grades showed a marked improvement compared to previous assessments. Easy to use, easy to learn how to use too. Comfortable to hold and I can use my own headphones if I am sharing the pen.

SENCo- It is the success of the pen with the student and the appeal of it to her peers when she was using it that has encouraged us to order. She was a bit embarrassed at first, but all the others wanted one too, so I knew it would not be a barrier to learning if I gave them out in exams. Some students won’t even use coloured overlays or wear glasses but are happy to use this pen. Also, you don’t need a Form 8 for them!
— Abraham Darby Academy, Telford
The pens are compact and easy to use. We trialled the Exam Reader with our exam students who usually require a human reader. Not only did the pen provide greater independence, the students were happy they got to complete their exams themselves, without intervention. The pen not only saved time - the students LOVED them!
— Deborah Swords, Learning Support Teacher, Mackillop Catholic College Diocese of Broken Bay, NSW
Learner A: “It was good. It is better than another person sitting with you. It should be kept in centres so that I can do my exams. The pen helps me to read so if I don’t know what a word means it will read it to me. I worry about sitting my exams without the pen. It has helped me big time. I don’t know what would happen if I sat an exam without the pen. It gives me the confidence to pass exams. I want to pass more exams with this pen.”

Learner B: “I can’t believe how much this helped me. It is easy to use and I have used it in both of my English and Maths exams. I have found this has given me confidence to sit an exam which I thought I would never pass.”

Staff A: “I have a learner in my cohort who has been with us since we took over Beacon Training. A is an Entry Level 1 English learner and when we first took him onto the program he struggled heavily at this level as he struggles with basics of reading and writing. This meant that everybody else in the group started to achieve but A was not. This made him very demotivated and he nearly dropped off the course. My ALS staff and I have tried various strategies to tackle A’s barriers to learning. However, as he cannot read or write, it has required us to take him back to simple spelling patterns which, although he is learning valuable skills, he was not at the level to achieve his Entry Level 1 exams. His stronger subject is maths at Entry Level 2 but as he cannot read the questions he was unable to achieve the exam level.Since being supplied with the resource of a reader pen, A has successfully achieved his E1 Reading exam and is now looking forward to achieving his E2 Maths. Since achieving his E1 English Reading A is full of confidence and a desire to learn and engage within sessions. He has never considered a work placement but his new found confidence is getting him thinking about what he could do in the future.This is one of the best resources and has the potential to change the achievements and lives of many learners through a sense of confidence and self belief.”

Staff B: “The device meets all of the desired points; small, lightweight and easy to use. There is no need for a detailed training session beforehand, simply covering some basic points to ensure the best possible results. We have seen a huge uplift in the areas where we ran the trial with 100% success. These devices are invaluable and are a significant support tool adding to the fact they are backed by the leading awarding bodies and JCQ without the need of access arrangements.Fantastic tools which allow for the young people to make progress in line with their individual levels.”

— Nova Training
Harley has been using one of your pens. He said: It has helped me a lot and meant that I can be more independent, I can do tests faster, I am getting higher marks and it makes me feel better about myself.
— Christobel Cousins, Headteacher, Lilleshall Primary School
We have had a number of students try out the pen as an alternative to the accommodation of having their test read aloud by a human reader. Students reported that they felt positive about the independence that using the Scan Pen gave them, especially when they needed a specific line or word read a number of times. These students reported that sometimes they feel embarrassed about needing parts of the test read repeated times and can be reluctant to ask for it. The pen was used on a variety of exams including a biology exam and the student stated that the pen did a good job pronouncing the scientific vocabulary on the exam. Most of the students liked the British accent the reader had but a couple asked if there was an option to have a pen with an American accent.

For our staff having the Scan Pen has been a fantastic addition to our accommodation options. When a student who needed a reader forgot to schedule a test with us until the last minute and we didn’t have a person available, the student agreed to use the Scan Pen and it worked like a charm. Having the Scan Pen available has given our students with disabilities an additional option for how the accommodation of having tests read aloud is implemented, it has given them increased independence during tests, and will likely save us money in the long run and is easier to arrange than having the test read by a computer program like Read and Write or Kurzweil.
— Sara, University of Maine
“I always have to have my tests read aloud. I have to go to my case managers room. She let me use this pen and stay in my class. It was awesome. I got to turn my test in at the same time as the other kids.”
— Mac, 8th grade boy - reading disability
As the demand for exam access arrangements increases we have had to look for alternative methods that are both cost effective and pupil friendly. A laptop is not an ideal solution, and a reader plus a chaperone expensive. Over the last three months we have trialled C-Pen ExamReader.

Our chosen pupils will require a variety of arrangements including readers. The trial has altered our thoughts on access arrangements for such pupils. The C-Pen has been a great success for both us and the pupils. We have now taken delivery of more C-Pens and The pupils will have their own C-Pen and use them not only in the Summer’s public exams but also in the classroom from now on.

We have also purchased The C-Pen ReaderPen for our reluctant readers in the lower school. We are now trialling them for two months.
— Bill Dewberry, Chingford Foundation School
This exam pen is easy to use, it fits well in the hand and feels completely natural. The reading speed can be altered easily, however it is a nice speed as it comes on medium mode. Within 5 minutes of opening the box I felt like I was reading with my finger.
— Conor Quigley, age 14
Having tried several different technologies I was slightly sceptical but once the trial pen arrived I was very impressed with its ease of use. Very intuitive - literally needs no instructions. Very good pen. Several students have now grown used to using it which means they are actually having text read to them more often. They were students who previously did not put their hand up often enough to ask for information to be read as they were too embarrassed.

A great user friendly pen and if the cost was lower we would have bought more.
— Senco, John Cabot Academy

3rd Party Reviews


Exam Board Information

United Kingdom

Joint Council for Qualifications – JCQ (AQA, OCR, Pearson, City & Guilds, CEA, WJEC CBAC)

September 2016 - This is a centre delegated arrangement. It must be the candidate's normal way of working in class and/or mock examinations. No evidence required. It can be used in the reading section of English GCSE where a human reader isn't allowed.

Cambridge International Examinations – CIE

September 2016 - A computer reader or reading pen is a Group 2 AA and is centre delegated. Use Form 4 to notify CIE of students who use the pen. Reading pens are allowed in the English GCSE reading section. A permitted examination reading pen will not have an in-built dictionary or thesaurus, or data storage facility. All pens must be checked before the examination to ensure they comply with these requirements.

Key Stage 2 SATs

The Exam Reader Pen is allowed in to be used in Key Stage 2 SATs, without prior permission, as long as it is:

  • normal classroom practice and schools have evidence to show this

  • the equipment is used on a one-to-one basis, preferably in a separate room to the rest of the cohort

It is not allowed for the English Reading section.

Scottish Qualifications Authority - SQA

October 2016 - Under current SQA guidance, a centre would need to submit a request to SQA for a candidate to be allowed to use a Reader Pen (this is a pen without a dictionary or storage) in an external examination. 

International Baccalaureate – IB

March 2017 – Apply to IB for authorisation

International Baccalaureate CAREER RELATED PROGRAMME

October 2016 - For the internal assessment 'speech functions' are permitted which can include digital reader pens.

Common Entrance - CE

Common Entrance recommends JCQ regs are followed, but also asks junior schools to check with the child's potential senior school.

National Open College Network –NOCN

December 2015 - NOCN would consider allowing the reader pen to be used if it is the normal way of working for an individual.

City & Guilds

The Exam Reader Pen can be used without prior permission from City & Guilds.

Functional Skills

An Exam Reader Pen is permitted without prior approval. 

Business and Technology Education Council – BTEC

Follows JCQ Regulations – see above



The Board of Senior Secondary Studies (BSSS) may approve the use of the Exam Reader C-Pen on a case-by-case basis where supported by evidence, and where the student is familiar with its use. Schools should have a back-up plan in case of equipment failure as this will not be considered as grounds for a score review or Second Sitting. 


The New South Wales Education Standards Authority (NESA) will accept applications for use of the C-Pen Exam Reader on a case-by-case basis.


The Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) will accept applications for use of the C-Pen Exam Reader on a case-by-case basis.


The South Australian Certificate of Education Board (SACE) has approved the use of the Exam Reader Pen under Special Provisions. Schools can make the decision for their students with a qualifying disability without reference to the Board. Schools are also able to impute a disability form based on their own evidence, not only a diagnosis from a psychologist.


The Office of Tasmanian Assessment, Standards and Certification (TASC) will accept applications for use of the C-Pen Exam Reader on a case-by-case basis.


The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) will accept applications for the C-Pen Exam Reader on a case-by-case basis.


The School Curriculum & Standards Authority (SCSA) will accept applications for use of the C-Pen Exam Reader on a case-by-case basis.


State Examinations Commission (SEC)

SEC encourages access to an exam reading pen as an alternative accommodation to a Reader/Reading Assistant for candidates eligible for these.

South Africa

Independent Examinations Board

IEB are happy to accept applications for the C-Pen Exam Reader.

Western Cape Education Department - National Senior Certificate

WCED/NCS are happy to accept applications for the C-Pen Exam Reader.



The above information is provided for reference purposes.  Always consult your awarding body for up to date Access Arrangements guidance.


Academic Research


For many years‟ educationists have questioned the emotional impact, alongside the comparative low grades of the dyslexic students when undertaking the GCSE English reading paper. A human reader is not allowed for this section of the paper. The lack of a supportive reader in this particular paper has an impact on the student‟s overall grade. Questions have been asked as to the emotional experiences this particular band of students must face when knowing they are entering an exam with reading THE C PEN EXAM READER – A QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE STUDY - MARCH 30, 2016 4 difficulties, therefore the overwhelming feeling will be that of failure before pen has even touched paper. If given the opportunity to have the English reading paper read to them would the student achieve a greater examination result? A reader is deployed in other examinations to support the achievement of a grade depicting the cognitive abilities of the dyslexic student. The dyslexic students may not lack understanding of their chosen subject; their problem is created by their inability to read the jumping, moving, incomprehensible formation of shapes that are commonly known as words. This is the crux of the problem.

This is the first research study undertaken to look at the impact of a supportive tool, namely the C Pen Exam Reader when utilized by dyslexic students during the GCSE English reading paper (mock). Supportive measures may be in use for other examinations, such as a human reader. However due to the nature of the English Reading Paper examination, a human reader is not allowed. Therefore, the dyslexic student has no supportive element in this paper. Due to no previous research, this initial study will concentrate on suggestions for future studies alongside the quantitative and qualitative aspects of this study.

Hypothesis: Use of the Exam Reader Pen by dyslexic students in the GCSE English Reading Paper will support students in achieving an improved grade and impact on their emotional well-being, namely confidence and attitude to learning.


The Impact of ExamReaders in Exams for Students with EAL, SEN or Low Reading Ages - Dr Trudy Coleman, City Norwich Academy


The aim of this project was to identify to what extent ExamReader Pens are able to support EAL, SEND and students with low reading ages in their GCSE exams. EAL students with identified SEND are at the greatest risk in regards to low attainment; when compared to EAL student with no recorded SEND, those with School Action, School Action Plus and statements are 16, 24 and 40 NC months behind their counterparts (Strand, et al. 2015). Students with both EAL and SEND are denied access arrangements (for example readers and extra time) during public exams due to their EAL status. However, they are able to make use of ExamReader Pens (for example C-Pen ExamReader) which have been approved by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) for use in exams without any special access arrangements.


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Free 30 day trials are available for schools, colleges and universities in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA.  Districts in the USA and Canada may also apply.  COBIS and BSME affiliated schools located outside of these countries may too apply.  Everybody else should order from here and may return within 30 days if they find the product unsuitable.

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