In-person exams

You might sit your exams entirely online, entirely in-person, or a mixture of both.

Ensure you have checked your exam timetable carefully.

The following information explains what to expect at in-person venues, whether for desk-based or practical exams.

What to expect

In-person exams typically involve either:

  • a paper-based exam, undertaken at an individual desk in a room with other students, or
  • a practical exam, undertaken in the presence of an examiner (and any supporting staff, e.g. actors for medical examinations)

Face coverings

Students are required to wear face coverings when entering, leaving, or moving around an exam hall unless they are exempt. We also encourage students to keep face coverings on during an exam; however given that there is at least 1m physical distancing between exam desks, when seated, students can choose whether or not to wear a face covering, and are asked to respect others' preferences.

Arriving at the exam hall

Finding the correct venue

  • Your exam venues will be included in the exam timetables published by the Registry, so familiarise yourself with this information before the date of your exams.
  • The campus room finder is available to help you navigate buildings.
  • Each exam venue will be clearly signposted outside the door. This notice will include details of exam title(s), timings, and desk number allocations.
  • Multiple exams may be taking place inside each venue at the same time, especially in large halls. Follow invigilator instructions to find the correct desks.
  • Large classes may be hosted across more than one exam venue. If this is the case, you will be allocated to a venue based on your surname initial. Notices will say, for example, 'Surnames A-M' outside the first venue, and 'Surnames N-Z' outside the second venue.
  • If you arrive late, you may be refused entry.
  • Familiarise yourself in advance with the regulations and processes for the use of translation dictionaries in exams.

Setting up at your desk

  • Invigilators will show you where to put your bags at the side of the hall.
  • Some items are prohibited at your desk. The University pubishes a list of what you can bring (section 3). All other items are not allowed.
  • Guidance on whether to use a pen or a pencil may vary by subject, according to the specific requirements of different exam formats.
  • If you are using a dictionary, make sure it is a translation dictionary (not a definitions dictionary) and that it complies with the University's rules on dictionaries in exams. It must be checked and approved by your subject staff in advance.

Question papers and answer booklets / sheets

  • You will receive at least one question paper and at least one answer booklet / sheet.
  • You may complete your personal details on the front of any answer booklets / sheets while waiting for the exam to start.
  • Any specific instructions that apply only to your exam will be printed on the front cover of the exam paper.
  • At the scheduled start time, an invigilator will tell you when you are permitted to turn over the question paper.
  • Do not attempt to read the questions before this point, or you may be accused of exam misconduct.

During the exam

Any communication between students during an exam period, whether in-person or via electronic device, will be regarded as attempted collusion. Severe penalties apply, and you may endanger your ability to progress in your degree. Familiarise yourself with the guidance relating to misconduct in exams.

Desk exams

  • An exam may consist of multiple papers, sections, and individual questions. Think about how to allocate your time appropriately for each component.
  • Answer booklets are typically grouped and distributed back to the staff for marking on the basis of their specialisms and the questions they contributed to the exam paper. Therefore, if you are given multiple answer booklets in which to answer different questions, make sure that you answer each question in its own, separate answer booklet. There will be a space on the front where you should write the number of the question you have answered within.
    • If your exam paper asks you to write short answers in the boxes below the questions, these pages may also be separated so they can be grouped and delivered to the relevant markers. For this reason, avoid writing answers that continue across pages intended for answers to other questions. If required, invigilators will be able to supply extra answer sheets.
  • You must not communicate with other students inside the exam hall in any way.
  • If you have a question, or if you need to go to the toilet, raise your hand to draw the attention of an invigilator. Do not attract the invigilator's attention by making unnecessary noise, as this will disturb other students.
  • If writing by hand, write carefully and legibly. The marker's ability to award you credit for your work is dependent on their ability to read and understand your handwriting.

Practical exams

  • Follow the instructions of the invigilator and/or examiner.
  • Exam conditions apply throughout the published duration for an exam, regardless of whether you have finished. You may be be rotating through multiple exam stations, and other students in your class may complete the stations in a different sequence from you. In some circumstances, you might see other candidates between rooms, or you may complete your whole exam and be ready to leave before other students are scheduled to begin. Any attempts to communicate with other students may be regarded as evidence of collusion, which constitutes exam misconduct.

Leaving the room

  • You will not be allowed to leave the venue during the first 60 minutes.
  • If you are more than 60 minutes late, you will not be allowed to enter the venue.
  • Together, these two rules help keep your exam secure by preventing information from leaving the exam hall near the start and being passed to candidates who enter late.
  • You will not be allowed to leave a venue within the final 30 minutes of the scheduled exam window. This prevents noise and disruption from affecting students still working on their exam.
  • If you need to go to the toilet, or have a medical emergency, raise your hand and let an invigilator know.
  • Anyone granted permission to leave the room with an intention to return will be accompanied at all times by an invigilator.
  • Invigilators have the final say over who can enter and leave the room. You must always seek their permission before attempting to leave.

For any further information, have a look at the SRC website for exams.