The day of the exam

Make sure you set off early on the day – transport hold-ups will not be accepted as an excuse for being late.

Avoid conversations beforehand with any fellow students who ‘know everything’.

What if I'm late for an exam?

It depends how late you are. You are not normally allowed to enter an exam venue once one third of the exam time has passed. For example, if you are more than an hour late for a three hour exam, you won't normally get in; if you are half an hour late, you will. If you are allowed in, you won't get extra time at the end of the exam.

What can I take in to the exam?

PLEASE NOTE: You are not allowed to read the examination paper, write anything on it or in your exam booklet before the examination session has officially started.

You can take only items allowed for that exam. These can include books, instruments including electronic calculators, notes or other materials or aids. You must leave any unauthorised items with the invigilator.

  • If electronic calculators have been allowed, the module leader or appropriate specialist may do a random check of them.
  • The use of multimedia equipment is not allowed in the exam room.
  • The use of electronic cigarettes is not allowed in the exam room.
  • Electronic media devices, including smart watches and mobile phones must be switched off and stored away from your desk. Any such devices found to be in use during the course of an examination will be immediately confiscated and may be retained by the University at its absolute discretion for the purpose of investigation.
  • And don't forget to bring your Student ID card.

Can I take food or drinks into the exam?

Not if the Senior Invigilator thinks that eating or drinking might disturb other candidates. A packet of mints will probably be allowed. Avoid fizzy drinks which might spill over your paper.

Where can I find out more?

In the University Regulations for the conduct of examinations, part of the University Assessment Regulations.

In the exam

Remember, successful students:

  • allocate time effectively
  • plan time for each question

PLEASE NOTE: You cannot read the examination paper, write anything on it or in your exam booklet before the examination session has officially started

Once the examination session has officially started

Read the exam paper

  • Read the instructions on the front of the paper – check the number of questions and sections, and how many marks each is given.
  • Read carefully through the whole paper. Look for the questions that suit you best and decide the order in which you will answer them.
  • Tip – if you have some information you think you might forget, write it down on the back page of the answer book or exam paper – not on a separate sheet in case someone accuses you of bringing it into the exam.

Plan your time

  • Plan how long to spend on each question. Give equal time to questions that carry equal marks.
Choose the questions

Read your chosen question carefully then read it again. Decide what the question is about and what you have to do, for example, outline, analyse, discuss, compare and contrast, and so on. Underline these key words.

Plan your answer

Write an answer plan and try and make it as detailed as possible. It is worth spending at least 5 minutes per question working on your plan.

Write your answers

Tip - keep the question in front of you as you write, to remind you of the topic. Focus on making the answer relevant.

Don't write all you know on the topic! Try to develop a clear argument by telling a story with a beginning (introduction) middle and end (conclusion).

If you get stuck in a question or you forget something don't panic:

  • jot down any relevant points and think about who? what? why? where? when? how?
  • have a look at the commonly used task words for help with understanding the question
  • relax, take a deep breath, if necessary leave some space and continue onto the next part or move onto the next question.

Be careful not to run over your planned time even on your favourite question. It is easier to add marks to weak questions than try to make good answers even better.

If you are running out of time write a skeleton answer – just list the main points. You will get more marks for covering the whole question (even in note form) than, for example, spending the remaining minutes writing a good introduction.

Check your answers

Finally, try to leave enough time to go back over your answers filling in any gaps. If you remember something later just add it to the bottom of your answer and show where you want to put it in.

What if I missed an exam or something affected my performance?

You must tell the assessment board about your mitigating circumstances by using the Mitigating Circumstances procedure‌. If you do not tell them how these have affected your studies, you may even have to withdraw from your course.

If you do not tell the assessment board before its meeting and are then disappointed with your results, it can be very difficult to tell the board afterwards. You will have to submit an explanation of why you did not tell them before the assessment board met, using a Retrospective Mitigating Circumstances Form. This might delay your graduation or the next stage of your course.

Can I leave an exam early?

Normally you will not be allowed to leave during the first third of an exam (for example, the first hour of a three hour exam) except for personal reasons. You're not normally allowed to leave during the last 15 minutes either.

What counts as cheating?

Cheating includes:

  • communicating with or copying from any other student during an examination except when the examination regulations allow this, for example group assessments.
  • communicating during an examination with anyone other than an authorised member of staff or invigilator.
  • bringing any written or printed materials into the examination room unless these are allowed by the assessment board or programme regulations.
  • bringing any electronically-stored information into the examination room unless allowed by the assessment board or programme regulations.
  • gaining access to any unauthorised material relating to an examination during or before that examination
  • getting a copy of an ‘unseen’ written examination paper before it is released.
  • in any other way providing, or helping to provide, false evidence in examinations (for example, using falsified research results).
  • personating.
What happens to someone caught cheating in an exam?

Where someone is suspected of cheating in an exam:

  • the senior invigilator reports the details of the incident to the Examinations Office
  • an investigation is carried out
  • if necessary the details are considered by the Senate Disciplinary Committee.

The assessment board will not agree a final mark while the investigation is going on.

If the Senate Disciplinary Committee decide you have not cheated, the assessment board will agree a final mark.

If they think you have cheated, the Senate Disciplinary Committee will consider what action to take. See the Code of Student Conduct for more information.