In-person exams

In-person exams are different compared with online exams. Prepare yourself using the guidance below.

Preparing for your in-person exams

We recognise that many of you will not have sat in-person exams for some time. In-person exams may require slightly different preparation to online exams. 

  • Unlike online exams, the majority of in-person exams aren't open book. Make sure you know what material (if any) you are allowed to bring into the exam. Your module leader will be able to confirm this with you.
  • Practice timing yourself and review past papers. Check that any past papers you are practising with were in-person exams, as opposed to online.
  • Make sure you know what information and stationery you can bring into an exam (see Taking In-Person Exams for more information).

For each exam you will be provided with an answer book, and guidance will normally be provided on the exam paper regarding the preferred format for completing your answers.

Make sure you review information about academic misconduct in the exam hall and know which items are prohibited – so you don’t get caught out on the day.

Taking your in-person exams

Make sure to read the following information below carefully, as it outlines the University exam hall procedures which are applicable to all venues on campus. It is your responsibility to know all exam hall rules before your in-person exams.

What to do if you don’t feel well enough to attempt your exam and/or think you have COVID-19

If you test positive for COVID-19: You do not need to take a COVID-19 test before you sit any of your exams, but if you do test positive for COVID-19 before your in-person exam, you should not come to the exam venue. Instead, you should try to stay in your accommodation and avoid contact with other people (in line with recent Government guidance), and submit a Mitigating Circumstances claim. Please note that no evidence will be required when submitting a claim for this reason, and if upheld, it is very likely that the outcome will be a repeat attempt. Make sure to read through our Reassessment guidance to understand what this might involve. On the sixth day after receiving your positive test, you are allowed to attend the exam hall to take any other in-person exams you may have.

If you have symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as a high temperature, which could be COVID-19: You should not come to the exam venue. Instead, you should try to stay in your accommodation and avoid contact with other people until you no longer have a high temperature (if you had one) or until you no longer feel unwell. You should also submit a Mitigating Circumstances claim. Please note that no evidence will be required when submitting a claim for this reason, and if upheld, it is very likely that the outcome will be a repeat attempt. Make sure to read through our Reassessment guidance to understand what this might involve.

If you don’t feel well enough to attempt your in-person exam for another reason: We advise that you do not come to the exam venue. Instead, you should submit a Mitigating Circumstances claim. Please note that no evidence will be required when submitting a claim for this reason, and if upheld, it is very likely that the outcome will be a repeat attempt. Make sure to read through our Reassessment guidance to understand what this might involve.

Before your in-person exam:

Your Timetable & Seat Numbers

The majority of in-person exams will take place in the Dan Maskell Tennis Centre (the main exam venue), although some students with disabilities and/or reasonable adjustments may have exams taking place in another venue. Your exam timetable will make it clear in which venue your in-person exam will be taking place.

For most venues you will be allocated a seat number, which will likely be different for each exam you will be sitting. Your seat number will be added to your exam timetable on Learn in the week before the examination period begins and we will let you know when they are available. If your seat number/exam timetable is not showing by the day prior to your exam, please contact the Student Records and Operations team immediately. Please note that, if you are sitting your in-person exams in the Wavy Top venue you will not have a seat number on your timetable, and will be told your specific room number on arrival.  

For reference, a duplicate hard copy of the seat numbers list will be available at the exam venue on the day. If you have any issues regarding seat numbers, please speak to an invigilator at the relevant venue. 

Link to Learn


You should ensure you are familiar with all University Regulations, including:

  • University Regulation VII on the Conduct of Examinations (particularly paragraphs 21–34),
  • University Regulation XVIII on Academic Misconduct.

You should read through the University’s Mitigating Circumstances Policy and Procedures in case you experience circumstances outside of your control that have a negative impact on your studies.

University Regulations

Inside the exam venue:

Entering the Exam Venue

Make sure you arrive at the venue in good time, at least 15 minutes before the start of the exam.

Students are permitted to enter their exam up to 30 minutes after the scheduled start time, however this time will not be given back as additional time at the end of the exam. If you arrive after 30 minutes, you will not be allowed to start the exam or permitted entry to the venue – we recommend speaking to your School as soon as possible if you miss your exam.

When the invigilators tell you that you may enter the examination venue, leave any coats, bags and other items (including prohibited items like mobile phones) in the area designated by the Invigilators and silently find your seat.

Make sure you bring your Student ID card with you to the venue and place it face up on the desk.

You MUST NOT turn over your question paper or write anything until the Invigilator announces that you may start the exam.

We will be operating the exam hall venues at 1m+ distancing and exits and entrances will lead directly outside to avoid any possible clustering inside the venue wherever possible. You may wear a mask within the exam venue, if you wish to do so. Invigilators may also be wearing masks if they so choose.  

Permitted Notes and Prohibited Materials

Your module leader will clarify with you what material you are permitted to bring into your exam and what will be provided for you. For some exams, additional information (such as formula books or sheets) has been provided as part of the question paper to support you, and in some you will also be allowed to take in some keynotes with you. This is vary dependent on the module content, so please check your module pages on Learn for each of your exams carefully.

It is an offence of academic misconduct to bring prohibited materials into an examination venue. When entering the hall, please check carefully to ensure you have no revision notes  or other materials on your person (unless otherwise specified on your module pages on Learn). This includes any notes written on your body or other objects, such as pencil cases or dictionaries. Blank paper is also prohibited – if you wish to make any rough notes during the examination, you must do this in the answer booklet provided.

If you inadvertently bring prohibited material into an Examination Hall you should IMMEDIATELY alert an invigilator.

Mobile Phones and Other Electronic Devices

You are not permitted to bring any internet enabled devices into the exam venue. This includes, but is not limited to, mobile phones, tablets and smart watches.

If you are found to be in possession of a mobile phone or other device during an exam, you will be charged with academic misconduct, even if you are not using the device.

All devices capable of storing data, sending or receiving communications and/or connecting to the internet are banned from the examination venues unless otherwise specified in the question paper rubric. 

If you are wearing an ordinary digital watch, please ensure that it will not make any noise during the course of the examination.

Regulation XVIII - Academic Misconduct

Food and drink

Students are allowed to bring bottled water into their exam. To discourage the use of single-use plastic we do allow water in opaque bottles, but these should have minimal text.

We strongly advise against bringing food into an exam unless it’s part of your reasonable adjustment. However if this is something you rely on or prefer to do, please be mindful of those around you to ensure it will not disturb others. Specifically:

  • Do not bring food that is well-known or likely to cause allergic reactions, particularly nuts and seeds. Invigilators will be asked to confiscate these items for the safety of your peers;
  • Do not bring hot food or items with a strong smell (such as sandwiches with tuna filling);
  • Do not bring items with noisy wrappers (such as crisps).

Safer examples include dried fruit, boiled sweets or mints.

Hard Copy Dictionaries

Students whose first language is not English may take a hard copy dictionary into an examination providing:

  • It is a translational English-Native Language dictionary only (e.g. English-Chinese).  Technical or subject-related dictionaries, such as Business English, are not permitted.
  • The dictionary has been checked by your School/Department and an authorisation letter has been provided. This letter MUST be kept with the dictionary for checking by an invigilator in the examination hall.
  • No written notes of any kind have been added to the dictionary or the authorisation letter – i.e. no additional pages or writing on the existing pages. 

Dictionaries and authorisation letters will be checked by an invigilator during the examination.  You must take full responsibility for ensuring that any dictionary you take into an examination venue is free of any notes or additional materials.  Failure to do so is likely to lead to a charge of academic misconduct.  It will not be considered an excuse that the dictionary was purchased second hand, or borrowed from a friend.

Regulation XVIII - Academic Misconduct


Principles around the use of calculators

  1. You may use a calculator, unless you are explicitly told otherwise, for an exam or other assessment.
  2. The calculator may not have any means of transmitting or receiving information during the exam. Therefore, the use of all mobile devices and smart watches as calculators is not permitted. Please also note that mobile devices and smart watches are not allowed in the exam hall as described elsewhere.
  3. If you use a calculator:
    1. make sure it works properly and check that the batteries are OK;
    2. it must be silent in operation, fit on the desk, and have its own self-contained power supply;
    3. you must clear anything stored in it prior to the exam, including data, mathematical formulae, dictionaries or other text;
    4. you must also remove any pre-prepared programs stored on it (irrespective of whether you have downloaded them or created yourself);
    5. remove any parts such as cases, lids or covers which have printed instructions or formulae;
    6. do not bring any operating instructions into the exam room.
  4. Invigilators may examine any item a student brings into the examination room. If a calculator does not comply with these rules, it will be confiscated and returned only at the end of the examination; no replacement will be provided.
  5. These rules may be over-ridden in specific individual cases where a student has a reasonable adjustment which has been agreed with the Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity team.

Tips for using a calculator in the exam:

Please note that marks are generally awarded for the different stages of a calculation and therefore it is important to clearly write down all of your working out and not just the answer. Therefore, you should:

  1. Write down explicitly any expressions you’ve used the calculator to evaluate;
  2. Clearly indicate the values of any parameters and variables you’ve input into the calculator. You do not need to write down data transferred from question paper to calculator;
  3. Standard mathematical notation (rather than “calculator notation”) should be used.

Concerns or illness whilst in the exam venue

If, after entering the exam venue, you do not feel well enough to start/continue your exam, you should alert an invigilator immediately.

If something unexpected occurs or you have a concern about anything whilst you are in the exam venue, you should make an invigilator aware of this immediately.

If you have a complaint regarding the management and invigilation of exam venues, please report any problems to the temporary Examinations Office in the main exam venue immediately after the examination concerned.

What to do if you notice an error on your paper

It is unlikely that there will be an error on your exam paper. If you do notice one, then you should continue to work on the question, stating clearly any assumptions which you have had to make in your answer. This will then be taken into account when marking. 

Leaving the Examination Venue

You may not leave during the first 30 minutes or the last 15 minutes of your exam. If you arrive more than 30 minutes late for an exam, you will not be permitted to enter the Exam Hall. You should contact your School immediately for further advice.

To leave the Exam Hall temporarily, such as for a toilet break, you must be accompanied by an invigilator. Raise your arm to attract the attention of an invigilator. If you leave the Hall unaccompanied you will not be permitted to return. 

At the end of your in-person exam:

End of Exam

The Invigilators will tell you when you must stop writing at the end of the exam. There will be mixed length exams in some sessions. If your exam finishes earlier than those around you please remain seated until the invigilator has collected your paper. You may then silently leave the hall.

Exam Papers

Examination papers must not be removed from the Examination Hall under any circumstances, you must leave the paper on your desk. Removing an examination paper from the Examination Hall could constitute Academic Misconduct.


In order to ensure that all complaints regarding the management and invigilation of exam halls are dealt with effectively, please report any problems to the temporary Examinations Office in the main exam venue immediately after the examination concerned.