Use of Dictionaries in Examinations

Current University regulations permit students whose first language is not English to use translation dictionaries in certain examinations.

Any student wishing to use a translation dictionary in an examination must have it approved before the examination. This is to ensure that the dictionaries do not contain any annotations that might offer an unfair advantage in an examination, and also to ensure that the dictionary is itself of an approved type (that is, direct translation only – English dictionaries, Thesauri, subject-related dictionaries, and translation dictionaries that also give definitions or examples of the use of words/phrases – such as the  Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, and the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, and others - are not permitted).

Dictionary approval for examinations where fewer than 25 dictionaries are expected:

Students must bring their dictionary to the School Office the day before each examination for checking, before being taken directly to the examination room by staff.

Dictionary approval for examinations where more than 25 dictionaries are expected:

Each student requiring a dictionary must complete a declaration form prior to each examination diet.

This alternative method is permitted only for examinations where 25 or more dictionaries are to be used.

Forms should be submitted to, and retained by, the Head of School in advance of the examination diet. A list of those students who have submitted a declaration form must be given to the Invigilator at the start of the examination so that the Invigilator can check only those who have submitted a form are using a dictionary. Any student who has not submitted a declaration form is not permitted to use a dictionary in the examination. The Head of School should retain the forms for three months, in case they are required by the Senate Assessors when students are interviewed.

Schools must not make any amendments to the declaration form. It is essential that all students receive the same information and that the Senate Assessors can be confident of this when interviewing students accused of misconduct relating to dictionaries.

Staff should make students aware of the rules about dictionaries well in advance of the examination diet. Please contact the Senate Office if you require advice or assistance. Staff should emphasise that any unauthorised, prohibited or annotated dictionary found in an examination will be confiscated and a report will be made to the Senate Office. The typical penalty for such an offence is grade H for the examination, with or without a resit opportunity, and this can have a significant impact on the student’s ability to progress or graduate.

Students should be directed to further guidance here.