University of Bath

Exam Procedures

Guidance and information about the examination process including frequently asked questions.

General information

The rules and procedures for examination candidates are set out in the University Regulations, QA28 and University Rule 2. If you have any queries not covered by this page, please contact Academic Registry (examinations@bath.ac.uk).

Ensuring examinations are fair for everyone

The University recognises and takes seriously the need to ensure examinations are fair for everyone. Invigilators carefully monitor all activity during exams, and will record the times at which any student taking a toilet break leaves and re-enters the exam (students taking such breaks will be accompanied to the relevant facilities). Additionally examination venues are secured between exams. Robust procedures are in place to deal with any student who attempts to cheat, and include the provision to require a student to leave the University without a degree. These are set out in document QA53 Examination and Assessment Offences and in Regulations 7 and 8.

Examination timetables

The dates of the University's formal assessment periods are found on the academic year charts. You will have access to your personal examination timetable via SAMIS approximately seven weeks before the assessment period begins. Your timetable will contain the date, time and location afor each examination – please check it carefully and regularly in case any changes are made.

If you are due to sit examinations for some postgraduate programmes, distance-learning programmes, for our partner colleges, or undergraduate class tests, these might fall outside the main assessment periods and your Department/School will communicate this information directly to you.

Start times of examinations

Most two-hour examinations start at 09:30, 13:00, or 16:30. Distance-learning examinations, or examinations with an alternative duration, may commence at different times.

Locations of examinations

Please check your locations carefully on your personal timetable. Examinations are often split across several locations, so you might be sitting an examination in a different location to other people on your programme.

The main locations used for examinations at the main University campus (Claverton Down) are:

  • University Hall in 2 West (2W)
  • Founders' Hall (divided into four quadrants, A-D, and labeled FHA, FHB, FHC and FHD)
  • All teaching rooms in 1 West (1W)
  • All teaching rooms in 8 West (8W)
  • All teaching rooms in 3 West North (3WN)
  • All teaching rooms in 4 East (4E)
  • Wessex House level 1 Lecture Theatre (WH1LT)
  • The Chancellors' Building

Please be sure to check your seat number before you go to each examination and, if you are in the Founders Hall, please check which quadrant you are in. You will have a different seat number for each exam, and numbers can be checked two weeks before your examination via SAMIS.

Alternative examination arrangements

If you have learning or support needs and think you may require alternative examination arrangements please seek advice from the University's Disability Service and inform your Director of Studies as early as possible. They will need to communicate the resulting information to Academic Registry by the last day of teaching prior to Christmas for Semester 1 examinations and the last teaching day prior to Easter for Semester 2 examinations, so please allow plenty of time.

Further information is available from the University's Disability Service.

Individual Mitigating Circumstances

The University has principles and procedures for dealing with Individual Mitigating Circumstances (IMCs) which affect students' assessment.

These have been in effect since 2 November 2009 and are designed to ensure that all students are treated consistently. Please visit the IMCs webpage for full information, and ensure that any claim(s) you submit are fully in accordance with the stated procedure and timescales. In particular, do not 'wait and see' what your result is before submitting an IMC claim: by then it will almost certainly be too late for your claim to be considered.

Use of University Calculators

Where the rubric for an examination permits you to only use a University Calculator then you will be provided with a University Calculator, which will be on your desk when you enter the examination venue. You will not be allowed to use your own calculator in these circumstances.

In all cases where the use of University Calculators is required, candidates supplied with them will be required to quote the calculator number on each cover page of their script. Failure to quote the number and/or return the calculator supplied may result in disciplinary action which may include the imposition of a fine.

Where you are permitted to use your own calculator, your Department/School will have made arrangements for approving calculators. Your calculator should be marked to show that approval has been given for its use in examinations. Invigilators will check for the presence of this marker to ascertain that approval has been given.

Further information is available in University Rule 2, paragraphs 38 - 41.

Use of a dictionary

University Regulation 15.6 states that:

  1. Dictionary provision may be made as follows: Senate has resolved that all candidates should be allowed access to an English (only) dictionary, except in cases where this is inappropriate because part of the purpose of the examination is to test the use of language. It is the responsibility of the Board of Studies concerned to determine which examinations are excluded from this provision.

  2. English (only) dictionaries will be present in each examination venue and provided to students upon request during the examination.

  3. Electronic dictionaries may only be used in examinations if their use has been approved by the appropriate Board of Studies as a special need for a named individual. The Board of Studies will determine the procedures necessary to ensure that such a named individual does not have an unfair advantage over other students through use of an electronic dictionary.

Examination candidate numbers

If you are due to take a formal university examination you will be sent a email advising you of your examination candidate number before the start of the Semester 1 examination period. Your number will last for the whole academic year and will be required to access your results, so please take care to retain your email. In accordance with the University's anonymous marking procedures, you will need to enter your candidate number on your examination answer script, but as it will always be printed on your desk label you will not need to remember your number.

If you do not receive an email, please contact Academic Registry (examinations@bath.ac.uk) to obtain this information.

Examination procedures

On the day of the examination:

You should aim to arrive at the venue ten minutes before the commencement of the examination but will need to remain outside the venue until an invigilator asks you to enter. Once you have entered the venue you will not be able to communicate with any other candidate. You will be required to leave your personal belongings in a designated area and will not be able to gain access to them once you have sat down. For health and safety reasons, care should be taken to avoid leaving these items in front of fire exits or in the aisles. Ideally you should not bring a mobile phone with you to an examination. If you must do so, it must be switched off and left at the front of the venue, either in your bag, or on the invigilator’s desk.

At the start of an examination:

Both your seat number and your candidate number will be printed on your desk label, alongside the examination code and examination title of the paper you are taking. All of the necessary centrally-provided stationery will be on the desk by the time you enter the venue, alongside a copy of the examination paper. At this stage, you will be permitted to read the rubric on the front of the question paper, but must wait for the invigilator's announcement before turning over the front cover and reading the examination questions. The desk label will also include an attendance slip. The Chief Invigilator will make an announcement before the commencement to ask you to sign the attendance slip provided to prove your identity and detach it from the main body of the label. An invigilator will collect this after the first thirty minutes of the examination. You should write the examination code, title of the paper and your candidate number on each answer book or cover that you use. This information should be written as it appears on your desk label; writing an incorrect candidate number could result in you obtaining no marks for the examination. You will also need to write your name, and add your signature, as indicated in the side panel of each book or cover. You should then remove the protective strip as indicated and fold the cover to conceal your name and secure the flap. When the Invigulator announces the commencement of the examinaton, you may turn over the exam paper and begin.

During the examination:

If you require further stationery, or have a problem during the examination, you will need to alert an invigilator. If you need to leave the venue temporarily to go to the toilet, you will need to gain the permission of an invigilator before you do so. The invigilator will then escort you outside and will remain with you during your absence. The Chief Invigilator will announce when there are five minutes of the examination remaining. He/she will then announce the end of the examination at the appointed time. You must stop writing as soon as this announcement is made. You will be asked to remain seated until the invigilators have collected all of the scripts. You are not permitted to remove any stationery from the venue other than the materials that you brought to the examination, and the examination paper (provided the paper does not expressly forbid this). When you leave your examination, please note that there may be candidates in nearby locations still sitting an examination. Please leave the examination venue as quietly as possible in order to minimize disturbance in the adjacent venues.

Frequently-asked questions (FAQs) and answers

Q. What do I do if I am registered for the wrong examination or not registered for an examination?
A: If an examination is omitted from your examination timetable on SAMIS, or if an examination is wrongly included, you should contact your Department/School which will then liaise with Academic Registry. Please allow several working days for the information to be updated on SAMIS.

Q: Can the date or location of an examination change?
A: Once the timetable is released, the dates and locations will only change in very exceptional circumstances. It is worth checking the timetable via SAMIS prior to the start of each examination to ensure that the information has not changed.

Q: Can I leave the examination venue early?
A: You are not allowed to leave the venue until thirty minutes after the start of the examination. You are also not allowed to leave the venue during the last fifteen minutes of the examination. If you leave the venue early, and during the time that you are absent an invigilator does not accompany you, you will not be allowed back into the examination venue.

Q: What happens if I am late for an examination?
A: You will be allowed to enter the examination venue if you arrive within thirty minutes of the commencement of the examination. You will not be allowed additional time to complete the examination. If you arrive later than this, you will need to contact your Department/School as soon as possible, but will not be permitted to sit the examination.

Q: What happens if I am ill on the day of the examination?
A: If you are too ill to come on to campus, you will need to contact your doctor to obtain a medical certificate. If you are on campus and are feeling unwell before the commencement of the examination, you will need to seek advice from your Departmental Administrator. If you decide that, although feeling unwell, you would still like to attempt to sit the examination, it may be possible to locate you in a separate venue or to make it more comfortable for you to sit the examination within the main venue. Please ensure you are fully aware of the procedure for claiming an Individual Mitigating Circumstance (IMC).

Q: What happens if I suffer an injury in the weeks leading up to the Assessment Period?
A: If you suffer an injury which will affect your performance in an examination, either because it inhibits your writing skills or because you may need rest breaks, you should seek the advice of the University's Disability Service as soon as possible. The Disability Service will make an assessment of your needs and may recommend emergency arrangements; including separate venue, scribe, rest breaks and laptop. The availability of facilities is restricted and cannot be guaranteed. Only recent injuries will be considered for emergency arrangements.

Q: What do I have to bring on the day of the examination?
A: You will only need to bring the stationery required to write the examination. Your Department/School will advise you if a particular examination permits the use of additional materials. You are advised to wear several layers of clothing, so that you can easily adapt to the temperature in the venue. Space for storage of baggage during examinations is limited, particularly in the Sports Hall, so please bring as little as possible to the examination venue. You are permitted to take bottles of water into an examination venue, other refreshments including all forms of alcohol, hot, and canned drinks, are not permitted. You should note that if you wish to put pens etc in a container on your examination desk, this must be transparent. You must also bring your Library card with you, and display it on your examination desk at all times during the examination.

Q: I am allowed to use a University Calculator in my examination. Which model of calculator will be provided and will I have the opportunity to practice on a demonstration model prior to the start of my examination?
A: The University Calculator is the Casio FX-85ES. Twenty calculators of this model have been deposited at the Library Issue Desk and can be borrowed for use in the Library. Your Department/School Administrator will also have a demonstration model which you can request to borrow.

Q: What should I do if I think there is an error in an examination question paper?
A: The University operates a rigorous process of checking examination question papers before they are issued and it is, therefore, very unlikely that errors will be present in any question papers. However, if you do think you have found a mistake in a paper during an examination, you should simply indicate this clearly in your answer and, if applicable, record any assumption(s) you have made in answering it, such as moving a decimal point.

Q: Can I access past examination questions?
A: Most past examination papers are available via the Library & Learning Centre (LLC)'s Exam Papers Database, which is restricted to University of Bath users. The database can be searched by unit code or name. Examination papers for some units are restricted, and cannot be accessed by students.

Q: What will happen if I am suspected of cheating in an examination?
A: If an invigilator suspects you of cheating, you will be permitted to finish the paper and will be informed of the invigilator's suspicions before you are allowed to leave the venue. The invigilator will write a full report of the incident that will be brought to the attention of the Director of Academic Registry.

Q: Where should I go if I have left something behind in an examination venue?
A: You should return to the venue as soon as possible to see if the item is still there. If the item is not there, you should check with the Security Office to see if it has been handed in. Staff will always take lost property to the Security Office.

Q: Is it possible for me to request to take an examination abroad, or at a separate time?
A: Requests to sit an examination off-campus or at a separate time are only accepted in exceptional circumstances and will need the permission of the Director of Academic Registry. All requests should be submitted to the Director of Academic Registry through your Department/School.
Requests should be submitted in sufficient time, since the decision process make take several weeks.

Q: What should I do if there is severe weather in the examination period?
A: During periods of adverse weather, other than when the University is officially closed, all examinations are expected to continue as scheduled. You should assume that all examinations will take place and should also note that "Individual transport/travel problems (unless due to strikes or disruptions which could not be foreseen or worked around)" will not normally be acceptable as IMCs. In the event of adverse weather conditions you should monitor weather forecasts and the University website and twitter, which will ordinarily be updated with information not later than 7.30am on the day of any closure, or ring 01225 383200, on which there will be a recorded message about any closure. You should also allow enough time to get to examinations in time for the scheduled start.