Worried about preparing for your exams? What items are not allowed in exams? What if you are ill? Here are a few pointers.

Bute Hall Under aka The Cloisters facing north.

Exam Stress/Panic

If you are panicking about exams or re-sits and don’t think you have prepared properly, don’t suffer in silence. Speak to a member of staff on your course to see if there is any last minute help they can give you with tricky topics. Try and practise past exam questions if you can.

If you have a medical condition which is made worse by exam stress, then speak to your GP or counsellor and see if there is anything they can suggest to help you cope. Make sure you notify your Head of School if you have a medical problem affecting your exam performance (see below).

Check out the University’s Exam Support webpages.  The SRC and other student bodies also run events around exam time, aimed at supporting your wellbeing and helping you de-stress, so look out for these too.

It sounds obvious, but don’t be tempted to cheat your way through a difficult exam. It’s very likely you’ll be caught, and this will usually mean you won’t get any marks, and you won’t be allowed to re-sit. Depending on the way your programme is structured, this could mean leaving with no degree.

What to expect in the exam

2020 – obviously everything has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic and online exams have replaced on-campus ones, so much of the information about what to expect in exams will be different to usual.  Please make sure you have read and understood any instructions from your School about how the exams will be run, and what you are and are not allowed to do during the exam.

Information relating to on-campus exams

The University has provided a digital version of the Exam Announcements that are made during every exam. This can be accessed here and is helpful for understanding what you can expect when you are sitting your exam.

Prohibited Items in Exams

Please avoid taking any prohibited items into your examinations.  If you are caught with a prohibited item in an exam, – even if you had it with you by accident – it will result in a penalty which could cost you your degree.

When entering the hall, please check carefully to ensure you have no revision notes or other materials on your person or in your pockets. This includes any notes written on your body or other objects, such as pencil cases or dictionaries. If you have borrowed a dictionary from someone else or bought it second-hand it is your responsibility to check it and make sure it does not have any notes in it.

You are not permitted to keep any electronic devices on your person during examinations. Electronic devices include:

  • Mobile phones
  • Smart watches
  • Music players

Calculators – if you are allowed to take a calculator to the exam, make sure your calculator is the permitted kind.  Make sure there are no notes written on the calculator itself, and take it out of its calculator case before the exam.

Water Bottles — only clear plastic water bottles without any labels will be allowed into examination venues. Please ensure that you remove any labels from the bottles before you enter the examination hall.

Check the University’s Instructions to Candidates on Conduct in Written Examinations to make sure you know the rules.

If you are caught with prohibited items in an exam, the invigilator will have to report this  to the Senate Assessors for Student Conduct.

It’s stated above, but worth repeating – bringing prohibited items into an examination room by mistake is not usually accepted as an excuse by the University. Penalties can be imposed whether or not the material has actually been used during the examination. Please note this can put your degree at risk.

Illness, or other personal circumstances affecting your exam

You must submit a Good Cause claim if:

  • You are going to be absent from an exam, or
  • You have missed an exam, or
  • You believe your performance in an exam has been affected by illness or adverse personal circumstances

and you want this to be taken into account.

A Good Cause application should be submitted within 1 week of the date of the affected exam.  Don’t wait until you get the results and then try and submit Good Cause.

You should inform your Head of School that you will be absent or that you believe your performance was affected. Please speak to a member of staff if you are at all uncertain whether your situation can be considered as Good Cause.

You will usually need to provide evidence of Good Cause – for example, a doctor’s note.

See the University’s Absence Policy for Students and Good Cause FAQs for more guidance.

If you have any queries regarding the above information, please contact the SRC Advice Centre.

Good Luck!