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In-person exams

How to prepare for and take an in-person, invigilated exam on campus.


The Student Guide to Exams gives you an overview of how exams are set at Bath, and signposts you to a range of resources and support to help you make the most of your exam attempt.

In-person exams take place on campus and are invigilated. In-person exams have a set start and end time, announced by an Invigilator. Your Exam Schedule will tell you when, and where you will sit your exam.

In-person exams are either closed or open-book.

In-person exams are normally paper-based which means you will write your answers by hand in a paper answer book. However, some exams will be set using Inspera and you will attempt them in-person. These exams will be shown on your Exam Schedule with a room number and state ‘Inspera’. Please read the guide to In-person Inspera exams for further information.

Your department will tell you in advance whether you are allowed to bring any additional materials (beyond basic stationery) to attempt your exam.

What to expect during an in-person exam

This video is a short guide to what to expect in an exam room.

The Exam Schedule - your exam room and your seat number

Your Exam Schedule in SAMIS will show you for each of your exams the:

  • Day and date of your exam
  • The exam start time
  • The exam room. This will be a location on campus. It will also state if you're attempting the exam using Inspera
  • Your seat number

You should make a note of these before you travel to your exam.

If this information is not listed, please contact your Programme Administrator.

Preparing to take an in-person exam

Revise and practise

The Skills Centre provides information and support to help you with preparing for exams. This includes a blog and video to help you approach in-person exams with confidence during your revision.

Familiarise yourself with what to expect in the exam room

If you’ve not taken an in-person exam before, or it’s been a while, see what it’s like in an exam room by watching this video.

Take a mock exam, review and practise past papers

If your department offers you a mock exam, you should try to attend.

You can also access and practise taking an exam using the Past Paper archive.

Practise using the University’s official calculator

If any of your exams require the use of a University calculator, the official model is the Casio FX-991EX. Further details are available on the University calculator, including how to access a loan machine in advance of the exam.

On the day

The Skills Centre's blog and video will help you approach in-person exams with confidence on the day.

In-person Inspera exams

If you are sitting an in-person exam using Inspera, you will follow a different in-person Inspera exams procedure.

Disability Access Plan

If you have a DAP you should also read the guide to alternative arrangements for exams.

What to bring to the exam room

  • Your library card
  • Stationery (e.g. pens and pencils) –pencil cases or bags must be transparent
  • A note of your seat number
  • Water to drink (optional) – in a clear, transparent bottle with the label removed. Other refreshments including hot or canned drinks, alcohol and food are not permitted.
  • You may wish to wear several layers of clothing so that you can adapt to the temperature in the venue.

If you wish to use a watch, it must not be able to connect to the internet or communicate with anyone.

Please follow the University’s latest advice on how to be safe on campus and in Bath.

Entering the exam room

Unless you have been told otherwise, you must arrive at least ten minutes before the exam starts and wait outside the exam room. You will be called into the room by the Chief Invigilator five minutes before the exam is due to start. You will be allowed to enter the exam room up to 30 minutes after the start time. You will not be given extra time to complete the exam.

Once you enter the exam room, you may not communicate with anyone except the Invigilators or your support worker (if you have one as part of your DAP). When you enter the exam room, you must place any bags, coats, turned-off mobile phones or any other communication device such as a smart watch at the front of the room. You may not take these to your desk.

Each desk will have the seat number printed on the desk label. Make your way directly to your desk and get settled. It will have:

  • a label showing your seat and candidate number, the exam code and title
  • the exam paper, with an Exam Instruction Sheet
  • exam answer books to write your answers (if you are not using Inspera)
  • any other materials provided by your department such as a calculator, extra paper, or the University formula book.

Once at your desk you must:

  • Place your library card with the photo facing up on the corner of your desk. It must remain on the desk in full view for all the exam.
  • Sign and detach the attendance slip on your desk label. Leave this visible, it will be collected by an Invigilator after the first 30 minutes of the exam.
  • On each answer book: write the exam code, title of the paper you are taking and your candidate number. This information must be written as it appears on your desk label, and you must sign the side panel of each book. You will remove the protective strip as indicated and fold the cover to conceal your name and signature and secure the flap.

Before the exam starts, you may read the front cover of your exam (the Exam Instruction Sheet). However, you must not read the questions or start writing until the Chief Invigilator announces the start of the exam.

During the exam

The Chief Invigilator announces the start of the exam and will tell you when you have five minutes left. During the exam:

  • You are expected to work in a way that does not disrupt any other student.
  • If you need to leave the room, or have a question relating to your materials, raise your hand and wait to speak to an Invigilator.
  • You are not allowed to leave the room for the first 30 minutes or the last 15 minutes of an exam. If you leave the room unaccompanied by an Invigilator, you may not return.
  • If you need an English dictionary, ask the Invigilator for a copy.
  • If you think you have spotted an error, please note this on your paper and answer the paper to the best of your ability as it is written. The question will not be corrected in the exam room. However, it will be noted by the Unit Convenor and the Board of Examiners when it considers your results.

At the end of the exam

The Chief Invigilator will announce the end of the exam.

  • You must not communicate with anyone, or leave until all exam attempts (scripts) are collected by an Invigilator and you are told you may leave.
  • If your attempt has not been collected, or you need to leave early, please bring this to the attention of the Chief Invigilator by raising your hand.
  • You may not take any exam stationery (answer books or your workings out) from the venue.

Further information

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