Ever wondered how conjoined twins take tests or exams? Conjoined twins face unique challenges in school and life, and testing is no exception. When there are two heads but only one body, things can get complicated. Do they take separate tests or the same test? Do they get extra time since they have to coordinate and may move slower? How do they ensure there’s no cheating?

Schools have to make special accommodations for conjoined twins during exams while also maintaining integrity. It’s a tricky situation, but with compassion and creativity, solutions can be found to support conjoined twins in pursuing their education. Though facing difficulties most of us will never experience, these inspiring twins show us what can be achieved when we persevere against all odds. Their stories are a testament to the power of the human spirit.

How Conjoined Twins Arrange Testing Accommodations

Taking exams can be stressful enough for most students, but for conjoined twins, it requires careful planning and accommodation. As conjoined twins share parts of their body, they have to arrange to take tests in a way that is fair and accessible for both of them.

  • Extra time. Conjoined twins may require additional time to complete exams, as they have to coordinate and may have physical limitations. Schools will often grant double the standard time or more to allow the twins enough time to work independently.
  • Separate answer sheets. Even if the twins take an exam together, they are usually given separate answer sheets to write their responses. This ensures their work is graded individually and they each receive their own score.
  • Private testing area. Conjoined twins typically take exams in a private room away from other students. This provides them space and flexibility in how they arrange themselves to work, and limits distractions for other test-takers.
  • Help from aides. Some conjoined twins require assistance from aides to help manipulate test materials, turn pages, or provide mobility support. Aides follow strict rules to not aid the twins with any test answers or content.
  • Practice and preparation. Like all students, conjoined twins will practice and study in advance for important exams. But they also practice the logistics of arranging themselves and coordinating to ensure they can work efficiently during the actual testing period.

Challenges Conjoined Twins Face During Exams

Conjoined twins face unique challenges during exams that most students will never experience.

First, they have to coordinate and compromise since they share a body. They need to decide which questions or sections each twin will focus on, how long each gets for their part, and how to physically manipulate their shared limbs to fill in the answers. This requires patience, teamwork and a lot of practice.

They also have to manage any physical difficulties. If their connection causes pain or limits mobility, the twins need to work around that. They may need extra time or help manipulating papers and pencils. Some may type instead of handwriting, use text-to-speech software or have a scribe.

Emotionally, exams can be taxing. The twins feel each other’s stress and anxiety on top of their own, and they have to support each other through it. Their outcomes are also tied together, for better or worse. Doing well is rewarding, but struggling or failing an important exam impacts them both.

Lastly, accommodations have to be made for their unique situation. Most schools and institutions are willing to provide extra time, a private room, multiple exam papers or other accommodations as needed. However, the twins still face difficulties like desks that may not fit them both or rules against helping each other.

With teamwork, accommodation and perseverance, conjoined twins absolutely can thrive and achieve their goals. But there’s no question that exams present challenges for them that most students will never fully understand. By working with their schools and never giving up, these amazing duos show us what determination and partnership are really all about.

Famous Conjoined Twins

Conjoined twins face unique challenges, especially when it comes to education. For twins with separate heads and independent minds but shared body parts, taking exams requires cooperation and coordination.

Mary and Margaret Gibbs (born 1951)

The Gibb twins were dicephalus twins (two heads, one body) born in Georgia. Despite their physical challenges, with determination and their mother’s support they graduated from high school with average grades. They had to work together during tests, with Mary controlling the left hand to write answers while Margaret used the right. They would study together, but had to memorize the same information and think of the same answers for exams.

Other famous conjoined twins found ways to take tests that matched their abilities. The original Siamese twins, Chang and Eng Bunker, were born in 1811 in Siam (now Thailand) and lived to be 63. Though uneducated, they were very intelligent and learned to coordinate their movements from an early age. Millie and Christine McCoy (1851-1912) were dicephalus twins and also known as the “Two-Headed Nightingale.” They could sing in unison and answer questions in turn, demonstrating their ability to think separately.

Taking exams and succeeding in education requires determination and teamwork for conjoined twins. By cooperating and coordinating to study, memorize, and physically write or answer questions, many twins have been able to achieve academic success and graduate alongside their peers. Their stories are a testament to the power of shared purpose and the human spirit.


While the logistics may seem complicated, it ultimately comes down to the same thing all students want – a fair chance to demonstrate what they’ve learned. With the right accommodations and a willingness to be flexible on both sides, conjoined twins, just like all students, can thrive in an academic environment. Though their situation is unique, their motivation is universal – to learn, grow, and pursue their dreams. At the end of the day, that’s something we should make possible for everyone.

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