Taking your exams
The Online Exams will be ‘open book’ but otherwise will be as similar as possible to a ‘normal’ exam. You should therefore prepare largely as normal.
Detailed information about the online exams has been provided to you with your exam timetable. This information includes guidance on, for example, preparing for the exam, downloading the exam paper, producing your answers, online exam regulations, submitting your work and how to get help. It is also available in the Student Handbook.
Our key ‘Top 10 Tips’ are:
- Make sure you know the time and length of the exam – set yourself a reminder!
- Practice how you are going to approach the exam, including knowing how you are going to prepare and submit your answers.
- Note down in advance how to get help if you have a problem on the day.
- Study your material as thoroughly as you would for any other exam – do not assume there will be time available to look up all the answers! Decide and organise what materials and resources you plan to use. Make sure that your revision notes are in your own words so that you don’t accidentally use the exact wording from a reference in the exam without acknowledging it properly!
- Ensure you are physically and mentally prepared – try to get a good night’s sleep, eat well and keep hydrated.
- On the day – stay calm – approach the exam as you would any other invigilated exam. It is normal to feel a bit nervous.
- Start by answering the questions you are most comfortable with.
- Keep a check on timings and the marks allocated for each question.
- If you are word processing your responses, make sure you save your work as you go along.
- At the end, check your file carefully before submission to make sure you have included everything you need, and once uploaded, check you have submitted the right file by reviewing it on Learn after submission and keep a copy. If you believe there is an issue then please let us know immediately.
Can I return to halls/campus to complete my exams?
Yes. The University is open and therefore you can return to campus, providing that you follow the Government advice prevailing at the time in respect of travel, plus any additional requirements which the University may put in place to ensure that our campus is as Covid-secure as possible in the New Year.
How do I access Computer Labs and Software on and off campus?
Computer labs will remain open over the Christmas vacation with many being available 24/7. In person capacity in these rooms has been reduced but around 50% of machines are still accessible. Details of where to find available computers labs can be found online.
Students can also use their personal laptops or PCs to gain access to computers on campus.
There are 2400 computers across campus that can be accessed remotely from anywhere provided you have access to the internet. This includes both Windows and Macs with most software being available on all machines (the only exceptions are a handful of very specialist course, specific software requirements).
This service is available to all students to access any lab machine. There are certain popular locations such as the Library and Haslegrave which might be busy at times, but there are plenty more computer labs around campus which you will be able to use.
To remotely access a computer lab, you will require:
- A laptop or computer. If you are struggling to access a laptop or computer, for example, if your device is not working properly, please contact email@example.com who will be able to help.
- Download the relevant access software:
- For access onto a Window or Linux device you will need Microsoft Remote Desktop App which can be downloaded from the Microsoft Store or Apple Store
- For access onto a Mac device you will need VNC player, this can be downloaded from the Apple Store or direct from VNC
- Connection to the VPN, Instructions are available on the IT Services website
- Computer and Software Availability system
We highly recommend that you access a remote machine with the same operating system as you have on your own computer – i.e. if your laptop is a Windows laptop connect to a Windows machine on campus.
IT Services have prepared a short tutorial video to explain how it works.
Full instructions and FAQs can be found on the IT Services website.
It is important that you sign out of the computer after you have finished the remote session. Please do not try to leave the session for later. If you experience any issues with remote access, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with details of the room you were using for this to be looked into.
What should I do if I think there is an error on the examination question paper?
Please note that the online examination process has been designed to minimise the length of time you will need to remain connected to the internet in order to be as fair as possible to those students who may have more limited connection. This means that it will not be possible to raise a query about the paper in the virtual exam hall. We are working very hard to ensure that all questions are clear; however, if you are unsure, then you should write a comment to this effect on your script, which will be considered as part of the marking process.
I’m not able to return to campus to sit my exams and I am worried about the technology I need to do my Online Assessments.
The University is currently open and study facilities on the campus are available to students. In January 2021, some of our study spaces will be available for advance booking for specific timeslots so that you can be certain where and when you will be able to study. We are keen to support you and all of our support services to students are still available. There is a lot of useful information on the University’s Teaching & Learning 2020/21 website including guidance on learning remotely, access to campus IT and Library facilities.
However, if you are genuinely concerned about your access to appropriate technology, please contact us as soon as possible by email to let us know so that we can support you. For the majority of assessments, you will only need an internet connection to download and then later upload your work within the appropriate time window. If you are taking a test, quiz or multiple choice exam through Learn, you will need a connection throughout the duration of the test. If your connection fails, the system will have saved the last response which you submitted so you should be able to pick up where you left off within the duration of your test attempt.
Technical assistance will be available during the online exam period, and a backup email address will be supplied in case you have any difficulties, such as uploading your assessment to Learn. More information on how to get help is available in the Student Handbook.
You will not need access to a printer or dedicated scanner. Where answers are handwritten, they can be photographed or scanned with devices such as a mobile phone. Further details are available on the Preparing your answers for submission page.
I’m worried about taking assessments because I don’t have a quiet place to study.
The University is currently open and quiet study facilities on the campus are available to students at the Library and other locations. In January 2021, some of our study spaces will be available for advance booking for specific timeslots so that you can be certain where and when you will be able to study. We are keen to support you and all of our support services to students are still available.
There are several different study spaces available around the campus where you can study – please see the information available. In addition, if a lecture room is not being used for teaching then you can simply go into the room and study.
I will be in a different time zone to the UK when taking my exam
The 23 hour exams have been designed to allow everyone to take the exam at a time which is convenient for them.
For the short window exam, we have chosen an early morning start to make this as convenient as possible for our students who are in the UK or in time zones east of the UK, who will take the exam later in the day.
If you will be sitting a short window exam in a western time zone and the timing of the paper is going to cause you significant difficulty, then please do contact your School admin team so that we can explore possible solutions with you. You will need do this before the start of the exam period (i.e. 18 January 2021).
Will I be able to access digital texts during my online exam?
The Library provides access to digital content which can be used on and off campus. However, you should be aware that some publishers only make their content available under certain license conditions which may impose limits on features such as downloading, copying and printing. More importantly, these conditions may also limit how many people can access a text at any one time. This is particularly true of digital books.
Whilst this doesn’t usually cause too many difficulties it can become more of an issue for popular books during assessments. With this in mind, we advise you not to rely on being able to access a digital text during your exam and to make your own notes in advance.
I usually have rest breaks/extra time in examinations. How will this work now?
You will receive an individual email setting out the planned adjustments for your exams, but the arrangements are summarised below.
For short window (1b) online exams, students with extra time allowed for Reasonable Adjustments will have this extra time added to the normal exam paper time, plus the additional 30 minutes described above. Please note that this will only be applicable to the open book short window exams.
Likewise, where applicable, additional time for rest breaks will be added to the total time allowed for the assessment. Rest breaks are taken during formal exams in the form of 30 or 60 minutes breaks. We would advise you to take these as you need within the recommended additional time you have been allocated.
You have 23 hours to undertake long window (1a) online exams so there is no additional allowance for extra time and rest breaks as this is built into the 23 hour period already.
If you have other adjustments for in-person exams, you will be contacted to let you what these will be.
I have a scribe or other human assistance during my exams. What support can I access?
We will contact students individually to let them know the arrangements planned for their exams.
I am usually allowed the use of a computer when taking my exams. Will this still be available to me?
Yes, all students will need to use a computer to access their exam paper. If you have specific concerns about the technology you need, please contact us well in advance of the exam period.
If you have any concerns about access to suitable IT facilities, please contact email@example.com urgently to speak to an adviser in Student Support and Advice.
Who can I contact to discuss support or adjustments?
We would like to be able to support students in accessing scheduled assessments at the times allocated. If you need support from an adviser, then please do contact firstname.lastname@example.org. If you believe the adjustments made have not proved to be adequate for your needs and feel that you have been negatively impacted, you can submit a claim for mitigating circumstances.
Do you have any tips for looking after my mental wellbeing?
We know it is still a challenging time for everyone, and that you might be feeling worried or stressed. Your mental health and wellbeing are of utmost importance, so the University has made available a set of resources and guidance to help support you. The Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity team have launched a webpage with practical tips and advice on managing your mental health during this time.
Each section is available in text and video format, with topics including working and studying from home, maintaining a healthy routine and staying connected with others. The Yellow Book (log in with your university credentials) contains a wealth of tools for students and staff – in text and audio format – to help you manage your response to stress using a range of different methods, including breathing exercises, spoken affirmations and creative activities.