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Student Guide to Exams: 2021/22 supplementary assessment period

Guidance to help you prepare for and take exams held between Monday 15 to Friday 26 August 2022.


This guide sets out what to expect during the 2021/22 supplementary assessment period. Please also refer to any guidance provided by your department. We strongly recommend that you save a copy of this page as a PDF in case you are unable to access it during your exams.

Most exams are sat remotely (i.e. online) using Inspera. A small number of in-person, invigilated exams will be held on campus. This will be clearly indicated on the exam schedule.

The Exams and assessments hub is updated regularly with information relating to your exams. University Rule 2 - Conduct of Examinations, sets out the University's rules governing summative exam procedures.

Exam schedule

The supplementary assessment period runs from Monday 15 to Friday 26 August 2022.

Exams will start between 9am and 5pm British Summer Time (BST), Monday to Friday. If you are taking your exam outside of the UK, you will need to sit the exam according to the UK time on the schedule. You are expected to plan your time accordingly.

The  exam schedule will tell you when and how your exams will be sat. It will show if your exam is in-person or remote (using Inspera). For Inspera exams, the schedule shows the overall duration of the exam, how long you should spend attempting the exam (the expected work time) and any extra time you have been given to prepare and submit your attempt (the submission time allowance).

Checking you are registered for your exams

Exams on Inspera: Details of your exams will appear on Inspera . If your exam isn’t visible on Inspera 72 hours before your exam is scheduled, please contact your Programme Administrator (details below).

In-person exams: From 8 August, SAMIS will provide you with details of the exam venue and your seat number for each of your in-person exams. If you are expecting to sit an in-person exam and details are not shown in SAMIS by this point, please contact your Programme Administrator.

Programme Administrator contacts:

Types of exams

Your exam will either be ‘open’ or ‘closed’ book. Your department will tell you before the exam which it is:

  • Open book exams are designed so that you may consult external sources such as textbooks and your own notes during the exam time.
  • Closed book exams - you are not allowed to access any other sources of information during your scheduled exam time, unless you have been told this specifically in advance, or materials (such as a textbook) are provided by the University.

Within this, your exam will be one of three types: Fixed-time, Flexible-start, or Open-24 hour. Most exams will be Fixed-time, open-book exams that you will sit using Inspera. The exam schedule will confirm what type of exam you are sitting for each unit.

  • Fixed-time exams are short-duration exams, scheduled to be taken in a specific time slot. The date, start time and end time will be found on the exam schedule. All in-person exams will be fixed time as well as some exams on Inspera.

  • Flexible-start  exams are online, short-duration Inspera exams that you can start at a time of your choosing within the 24-hour window specified on the exam schedule. Once you start, your exam will end after the specified exam duration has passed, or at the end of the 24-hour window if this is sooner. The exam duration includes the expected work time for the exam and any additional submission time allowance that you will use to check your papers, create any PDFs and upload everything to Inspera.

  • Open-24 hour exams are online in Inspera. The exam is open for 24 hours, but you will only be expected to work on the exam for the duration indicated on the schedule (e.g., two hours). The exam will close at the end of the 24-hour period, after which you will not be able to submit an attempt.

You may have a combination of these exam types, and you may also have up to two exams scheduled within the same 24-hour period. The exam schedule is set with this in mind, and it will be possible to sit both exams within the 24-hour period. You will need to manage your time accordingly to allow for a break in between each exam.

If you have a Disability Access Plan additional time may be arranged for you. Please read the guide to alternative arrangements for exams (Disability Access Plans).

Exams on Inspera (remote exams)


Most exams will be held online using Inspera, the University’s online exam platform. If your exam is to be taken in Inspera, this will be stated on the exam schedule.

Further information and guidance on what to expect, and how to prepare for and attempt an exam on Inspera is available in the guide, Inspera – the essentials.

Online exams on Inspera are open-book, and the exam time will allow you to access or download the exam paper, consult any reference material, check your responses, and prepare and upload your script.

If you are uploading files as part of your exam, you may be allocated extra submission time allowance. You should not use this extra time to carry on attempting your exam, but instead use it to check your work, collate your answers, and upload any files. Any submission time allowance for your exam will be indicated on the schedule. As you will not be able to submit an exam attempt after the end time of the exam, we strongly advise that you use the expected work time as a guide to allow yourself sufficient time to submit your work.

The actual time available to you to attempt an Inspera exam can sometimes be longer than a traditional in-person, paper-based exam. However, Inspera exams are designed to be completed within a short time, such as two or three hours. The exam schedule shows how much time you are expected to spend working on the exam (the expected work time). Inspera exams are designed to allow for the possibility of distractions or minor problems, such as a poor internet connection.

You will normally attempt an Inspera exam in a location of your choosing (i.e., not in an assigned exam room on campus). This location should be:

  • private, without any other person present unless required for reasons set out in a Disability Access Plan.
  • free from distraction, disturbance, and disruption.

You should still revise for an Inspera exam. See Preparing for your exams for further advice.

Types of exam questions on Inspera

The following question types may be used, your department will confirm the format that applies to your exam.

Automatically marked within Inspera:

  • Multiple choice - choose one answer from several alternatives
  • Multiple response - choose more than one answer from several alternatives
  • Text entry - the question is answered by typing a word or a short sentence
  • Numeric entry - the question is answered by typing a numeric value
  • Inline choice - the question is answered by selecting a value from a drop-down list
  • True/False - this question is answered by selecting either true or false
  • Matching/Pairing - the question is answered by matching values in rows and columns
  • Composite - where several questions types can be combined. Available question types are: Multiple Choice, Multiple Response, True/False, Text Entry, Numeric Entry, Math Entry, Inline Choice and Math Working.

Manually marked:

  • Essay - longer texts with the opportunity to use formatting such as tables, LaTex, special symbols and mathematical symbols. 
  • Text area - question that is intended for shorter text answers without formatting options.
  • Upload assignment - the question is answered by uploading a file. For example, you hand-write an answer on paper, take a photo of it and upload the final answer as a PDF file in the question. 
  • Programming - the question is answered by typing a snippet of code.
  • Math working - the question is answered by typing one or several lines with numbers and mathematical expressions.

Not marked:

  • Document - the question is used to provide candidates with information.
  • Form - question that allows the candidates to fill in additional information during a test.

Attempting exams on Inspera

Before the exam

  • Familiarise yourself with Inspera - the essentials, including demos of using Inspera and how to upload your responses.
  • Prepare for your exams. Read the guidance on preparing for your exams and the information available on the Exams and assessments hub.
  • Access your exam instructions (72 hours before). At least 72 hours before the start of the exam, you will be able to access on Inspera the exam instruction sheet, the date and time of your exam, and any additional guidance. The exam instruction sheet will state the expected work time for the paper and any submission time allocated for submitting your answers. Your department will provide you with any further information specific to your exams. You will only be able to access Inspera exam papers for units on which you are registered in SAMIS. If you do not think you are registered on the correct units, contact your Programme Administrator as soon as possible.
  • Check your browser works with Inspera. Inspera can be used with a regular web browser. Please make sure you can access Inspera in advance of each scheduled exam. The two most recent, stable versions of the following web browsers are always supported:

    • Microsoft Edge
    • Mozilla Firefox
    • Google Chrome
    • Apple Safari (for macOS X)

Other browser versions and vendors that follow modern web standards could also be used. You must confirm that they work before your exam.

  • Plan a suitable location for attempting each remote exam. This location:
    • must have a reliable internet connection and a charging point for your device, as required.
    • should be private, without any other person present unless required for reasons set out in a Disability Access Plan.
    • should be free from distraction, disturbance, and disruption, and the potential for assessment offences such as collusion or communicating with any other individual or organisation, unless explicitly agreed as part of a Disability Access Plan or Exam Instruction Sheet.

If you are unable to find a suitable location to attempt your exam, you must tell your Director of Studies in advance.

  • Let your family or housemates know in advance that you are due to sit an exam at a particular time or revising. They should avoid distracting you and may also be able to limit their broadband usage while you are working.
  • Check your device is working, that you have a working power adaptor, your internet connection is stable, and deal with any pending updates (either delay them until after the exam or run them well beforehand).

During the exam

  • When the exam opens. Access your full paper in Inspera and attempt your exam.
  • Work alone. During this time, you must not contact or seek assistance from any person(s) or organisation, including contacting other students or family to discuss the exam unless your exam paper or Disability Access Plan (DAP) explicitly states this is allowed. For further information please read the guidance on Academic Integrity.
  • Save your work regularly. If you are working directly in Inspera, it will automatically save your work every few seconds. If you are working in another programme such as Word or Excel, you must save your work regularly.

Once finished, you will submit your work as instructed on your exam instruction sheet, and following the guidance on how to submit your Inspera exam. You are advised to allow sufficient time for any minor technical issues that might arise when submitting your work.

You must upload your exam attempt by the submission deadline.

All exams will include sufficient time to complete and submit your work and you should make every effort to submit your assessment by the deadline indicated on Inspera. The exam schedule will confirm the length of time you are expected to spend on your exam (the expected work time), and any extra submission time allowance. We advise you to complete the assignment in the expected work time and upload it well in advance of the final deadline.

How to submit your Inspera exam

You should finish working on your exam in the time specified on the exam schedule, and only use the extra submission time allowance to review, tidy and submit your work. You must submit your exam attempt by the deadline set in British Summer Time (BST).

Full instructions on submitting your Inspera exam are available in the Inspera video guides, including guidance on accessing a demo test and checking your requirements before your exams.

Inspera saves your work as you go, and it will automatically submit anything saved at the submission deadline. If you are uploading your answers as an attachment, please allow yourself enough time for the upload. Your exam script must be legible.

Issues submitting your Inspera exam

If something goes wrong during the exam, try to stay calm. In most situations the submission time allowance will give you sufficient time to resolve any difficulties. You can access updated guidance on how to create and prepare your documents for submission and also follow the steps set out in the guide, Exams and assessments - get help and advice. This may include contacting the Exam Helpline before the deadline.

If you think you may be unable to submit your Inspera exam on time and are close to the end of the submission window time you must follow the steps set out in the guide, Exams and assessments - get help and advice. This may include contacting the Exam Helpline before the deadline. Whilst technical support is available, you must allow enough time to be talked through steps that might remedy the situation such as trying a different browser, clearing cache, or trying a different device if available.

If you do not submit your exam by the submission deadline, non-submission penalties will apply.

If you were unable to submit your exam on time due to a technical issue, you may be able to request that your late submission be accepted and marked (without penalty) by following the University’s late submission request process. You may also be able to submit an IMC claim.

In-person exams (overview and preparation)

In-person exams will take place on campus and will be invigilated. In-person exams have a set start and end time, announced by an Invigilator. These exams are paper-based which means you will write your answers by hand in a paper answer book. In-person, paper-based exams will be closed or open-book.

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

Find the location of your exam and your seat number

From 8 August, you will be able to find details of your exam venue and seat number on SAMIS. If this information is not listed on your personal exam schedule in SAMIS by this point, please contact your Programme Administrator.

Further information on in-person exams, instruction videos and tips can be found on the exams and assessments hub.

Before the exam

Please read the guidance on preparing for your exams and watch the video on taking an in-person exam, available on the exams and assessments hub.

If any of your exams require the use of a University Calculator, the official model in 2021/22 is the Casio FX-85ES. Further details are available on the University calculator, including how to access a loan machine in advance of the exam.

In-person exams (on the day)

What to bring

  • Your library card
  • Stationery (such as pens and pencils) – any pencil case or bag must be transparent
  • A note of your seat number found on SAMIS
  • 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 easily adapt to the temperature in the venue.

If you wish to use a watch, it must be analogue.

As in other study spaces, you are advised to follow the University’s latest advice on how to be safe on campus and in Bath, including guidance on face-coverings and hand hygiene.

On arrival at the exam room

You must arrive at least 10 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 but will not be given extra time to complete the exam if you arrive late.

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. Your desk will have:

  • a label showing your seat number, 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 the duration of the exam.
  • Sign and detach the attendance slip on your desk label. Leave this visible, and it will be collected by an Invigilator after the first 30 minutes of the exam.
  • On each answer book: write the exam code, the title of the paper that you are taking and your candidate number. This information should be written as it appears on your desk label, and you must add your signature to 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 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 will announce the start of the exam and remind you when you have five minutes left. During the exam:

  • You will be 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 will not be allowed to leave the room for the first 30 minutes or the last 15 minutes of the exam. If you leave the room unaccompanied by an Invigilator, you may not return.
  • If you need an English dictionary, please raise your hand to 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, but it will be noted by the Unit Convenor and the Board of Examiners when it considers the results for that unit.

At the end of the exam

The Chief Invigilator will announce the end of the exam. You must not leave until all scripts are collected by an Invigilator and you are told you may leave.

If your script 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.

Academic integrity (including plagiarism and cheating)

The University expects all its students to commit to, and maintain, high standards of academic honesty and integrity.

Academic integrity means being honest about where you have sourced materials for your assignments, indicating which ideas are your own and which are from others. It also means only submitting work you have produced yourself, independently within the rules for that assessment.

Academic misconduct is defined by the University as “the use of unfair means in any examination or assessment procedure”. This includes (but is not limited to) cheating, collusion, plagiarism, contract cheating, fabrication, or falsification. The University’s Quality Assurance Code of Practice, QA53 Examination and Assessment Offences, sets out the consequences of committing an offence and the penalties that might be applied.

In sitting an invigilated, in-person exam, you are explicitly prohibited from having any unauthorised material or devices on you (including mobile phones and smart watches) or from communicating with anyone else during the exam. Your library card will also be checked to confirm the identity of the person sitting the exam.

By submitting an Inspera exam, you agree to the University’s academic integrity declaration, which explicitly confirms the work was produced by you independently.

If you are in any doubt about what may or may not be considered an academic offence, please refer to the University’s guidance on academic integrity.

Alternative arrangements for exams (Disability Access Plans)

Some students are entitled to alternative exam arrangements due to disabilities or long-term health conditions. These are set out in an agreed Disability Access Plan (DAP).

Discussing your support requirements

If you would like to review or discuss your support requirements ahead of the exams period, please contact the Disability Service as soon as possible.

If you did not have arrangements this year and now think you need them, you must meet with the Disability Service. Whilst we will do our best to support you, we can’t guarantee your support requirements will be in place in time for your exams. Your department or the Academic Registry will notify you if they have been able to put last minute arrangements in place.

The Exams helpline is also available for urgent queries during your online exam.

Further information

Further information and advice about alternative arrangements for exams can be found on our Alternative arrangements for exams (Disability Access Plans) webpage. This includes how to use your rest breaks, how you will know your additional time has been allocated, as well as assistive software and exam support worker guidance.

Preparing for your exams

Help and advice on preparing for your exams is available from the Skills Centre.

If you are taking an exam on Inspera, you must ensure you have an Inspera compatible web browser and suitable location in which to attempt your exam. See Attempting exams on Inspera for further advice.

Your wellbeing during exams

As you prepare for and sit your exams is very important you look after yourself. Please find below some recommendations on simple strategies on how to maintain a healthy balance:

Creating a study routine

Create a clear, dedicated study space that is free from clutter and distractions and have a daily sweep of this to make sure it is conducive to study.

Set a clear plan for the day. Give tasks your full attention, switch off all distractions and have dedicated time to focus on your revision. You could try the ‘Pomodoro technique’, where you study in short, sharp bursts with breaks in between. You can try this out using the Be Well App.

You might find headphones useful to block out noise, and we would also recommend turning off any devices (for example, your phone) which might distract you.

Focus on self-care

Lots of apps and services are available from fitness to mindfulness and meditation. Gentle and regular exercise can also provide natural breaks within your day and allow you to recharge and refocus. It is important to try and not overindulge in sugary foods and to try and maintain stable blood sugar levels to facilitate good levels of concentration.

Try to avoid speculation on current events

The news can be a constant source of distraction, and if viewed too much can unhelpfully raise our anxiety levels. Try to avoid continually refreshing screens for updates as this can make you feel ‘on-alert’ or ‘on-edge’. We also recommend sticking to reputable sites and well-established news corporations.

Undertake positive reflection activities

It is very easy to get drawn into thinking about the bigger with catastrophic thoughts about what is going to happen. We advise bringing things back to the here and now. Think about what you are grateful for, reflect on what has gone well during your day, no matter how small that thing is, and set yourself small achievable tasks, ensuring you do something for yourself just for you each day that you enjoy. This will help centre and promote a more balanced frame of mind, which will contribute towards being more effective and present in the here and now. You can use the Be Well app to help.

Reach out and get support if you need to

We are all individuals who need support at different times and in different circumstances. Please do think about your support network, family or friends and reach out to them where you feel comfortable. You can also arrange a phone or video call with the Wellbeing Service for support and guidance. Be Well – Talk Now is a 24-hour confidential support service offered by Student Services which gives you immediate advice and support 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Further sources of wellbeing support

The Student Support and Safeguarding team.

The Exam Stress Podcast provides guidance on understanding exam stress, how to manage it and tips to prepare for the exam period.

Read Well is a selection of over 50 books that can support your health and wellbeing, with topics including anxiety, stress and general development.

Exams issues and queries

Before the exam

Contact your Director of Studies, Personal Tutor or Unit Convenor, as appropriate, with any questions about your assessments.

Once the exam has started

There are measures in place to support you if you are facing difficulties with your assessment. The guidance includes advice on whether to take your exam if you are unwell.

Individual Mitigating Circumstances

If you are unable to attempt your exam, or you submit your examination but you feel your performance was affected you may be able to apply for Individual Mitigating Circumstances (IMCs).

We have also provided information about what an IMC is, whether a claim would be appropriate for your circumstances, the reasons and evidence that are normally accepted, how to submit a claim and what happens if an IMC is accepted (i.e., what an IMC can and cannot do).

Submitting an IMC also helps you tell us that you are being affected in your studies and that you may need support from the University. Your Director of Studies, Personal Tutor or Student Experience Officer will normally contact you by email to ensure you are aware of the support available to you based on the information you provide in your IMC claim form. You may also be contacted by Student Services if, based on what you disclose, the University considers you or another person at risk of serious harm.

Exam Helpline - extra help during your online (Inspera) exams

If you are taking an Inspera exam you must not contact your department during the exam. Instead, please read the advice in the guide, Exams and assessments - get help and advice.

If you need to speak to someone urgently, you may also call the Exam Helpline for emergency telephone support on +44 (0)1225 387500. The line will be open from 8am to 6pm British Summer Time (BST) Monday to Friday, throughout the assessment period.

What to do in the event of a University technical failure

If there is a technical failure with a University system that affects your assessment, for instance with Single Sign-On or Inspera, please wait until the relevant system is available again to continue or to submit your assignment. Information on the status of systems is available at: We will attempt to notify you that the affected system is up and running once the problem is fixed.

If you think you’ve spotted an error in an exam paper

If you believe you have found an error in the exam questions or instructions, if possible, make a note of the error on your script and attempt the question or task to the best of your ability. There is no need to notify a member of staff as they will not be able to take any action to rectify the error.

The impact of any errors will be taken into consideration when results are reviewed by the Board of Examiners for Units.

Further sources of support

During the assessment period, a wide range of support and guidance across the University continues to be available. This includes: