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Procedures and equipment

There are strict rules governing what you can and can't take into the examination room, plus your responsibilities and conduct during exams.

Read the information below to ensure that you're fully prepared or you can download the Student Examination Procedures Handbook.

Student Examination Procedures Handbook

Important information for all exams

As a BU student, it is your responsibility to do the following in relation to your exams:

  • Make sure you are aware of the correct time, date and location of all your exam sessions. We recommend checking a week prior to the exam to confirm there have been no changes. The winter, summer and resit exam periods are published on the Student web pages at the beginning of the academic year
  • Update any change of your contact details via myHub
  • Attend the University to sit all examinations. If you do not sit a scheduled exam without a pre-agreed postponement, that particular exam will be regarded as a fail and you will receive a mark of zero for the paper
  • Ensure you have a valid Student ID card in order to gain admission to your exam. Replacement ID cards can be obtained from AskBU (at a cost of £10)
  • Make sure that you have been issued with the correct question paper prior to starting the exam

  • Ensure that all your exam answers are legible and in clear, concise, accurate English. Be aware that illegible exam scripts may be regarded as a fail and a mark of zero recorded
  • Tie together any multiple answer booklets and make sure all papers quote your student ID number
  • Ensure that you do not have a mobile phone, smart watch or any other electronic device on your person or you will be required to leave the exam room and will not be readmitted.

Additional Information for resit exams

You should seek advice on any additional work which is required for a resit exam.

Any resit exam which has to be taken by our students will not incur any charge from BU.

Additional Learning Support (ALS)

If you consider yourself disabled or have a specific learning difference (SpLD), BU encourages you to declare this prior to – and during – your studies. This includes sensory or physical impairments, dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADD, Asperger’s, medical or mental health conditions.

You should register with Additional Learning Support online via myHub in the first instance. You will be expected to provide appropriate evidence of your additional needs, either from a senior medical practitioner or an Educational Psychologist. We are unable to make allowances until this evidence has been submitted and validated. Please speak to the ALS team for more information.

ALS deadlines for exams

After registering via myHub, you must meet with ALS by Friday 29 November 2019 for the January 2020 exams, and by Friday 27 March 2020 for the summer 2020 exams, in order for examination support requirements to be put in place.

If you notify us after these deadlines and we have not been able to accommodate your exam requirements, your faculty will take this forward as an Exceptional Circumstance for consideration by a Board.

If you have a temporary, unforeseen injury and require temporary support, adjustments can also be accommodated via ALS – authorised via your faculty. If a temporary injury is so close to the exam date that the faculty cannot be contacted, you must contact ALS to make a judgement on accommodating your requirements.

General guidance for ALS exams

If you are entitled to rest breaks or need to visit the rest rooms you must not leave the building and must remain in the corridor adjacent to your exam room. Where possible an invigilator will accompany you.

You may be permitted food and drink in accordance with your specific requirements but their consumption must not disturb other candidates.

PC use for ALS exams

You should enter the room and seat yourself at a PC. The invigilator should provide you with a username and password (if not already logged in), which is the same for every machine being used under exam conditions. You should not use your own username to login under any circumstance.

Machines will not be networked and are standalone machines for the duration of the exam period.

  • In the header of the document put your ID number, exam paper name, room and seat number
  • In the footer of the document set up page numbers
  • You must save your work to the PC desktop at regular intervals. Do not delete your work from the PC until you have seen and approved a printed version of your exam, which will be handed to you by the invigilator.

Exam periods


Your exam timetable will be published on the BU Exams website in April for the summer exams and by December for the January exams, but it may still be liable to change. Dates and times for each exam will be published first, followed by room details which will be added at least four weeks before the start of the relevant exam.

If you are an ALS student, then you will be emailed an individual timetable approximately two weeks prior to the start of the exam period, detailing your room allocation and provision.

For collaborative programmes, partner institutions are responsible for timetabling the exams and should be contacted in the first instance for any queries.

Postponement requests

In Exceptional Circumstances (for example, if you are medically unfit to sit an exam); postponement may be granted by your Programme Leader. The application for a postponement must be made in writing, using the Exceptional Circumstances form before the examination date, accompanied by a medical note or other appropriate evidence. Your Programme Support Officer will keep a record of all postponement applications and resulting decisions.

Admission to the exam

All candidates are identified by their 7-digit Student ID number which you must write on your exam paper. You will not be permitted entry to the exam room without your Student ID card.

In the event that your Student ID card is lost, alternative photo ID may be used for one exam and you will be required to complete a proof of ID form. Replacement cards can be obtained from AskBU for £10. Your ID card must be visible on your desk throughout the exam.

Overseas (non-UK) exams

The Engagement Monitoring and Withdrawal Procedure (3K) requires students to make themselves available for examinations. You are expected to return to BU to sit your exams, and exceptions to this will only be granted on rare occasions where you are able to provide sufficient evidence of Exceptional Circumstances (as defined in policy 6J), by the deadlines published on the website. In such cases you may be granted permission to sit overseas in a British Council, with whom you should make arrangements directly.

There is no charge from BU for an overseas exam and we will endeavour to synchronise the start time of the exam held overseas so that all students sit the exam simultaneously, wherever they are.

Arriving for the exam

You will normally be allowed to enter the exam room 15 minutes before the advertised start time of the exam. Please arrive as early as possible to allow enough time to be seated. You will be seated in accordance with the seating plan when applicable.

If you arrive late, you can be admitted without question by the invigilator during the first 30 minutes of the exam. If you arrive after the first 30 minutes, you can still be admitted to the exam room but the Chief Invigilator will complete a report stating the time of admission; your reason for being late; and the name of any other candidate who has previously left the exam room.

Where an exam is one hour long, you will not be permitted access to the exam room after 30 minutes. Normally, no extra time will be allowed to a candidate who arrives late for an exam.

Items in the exam room

Invigilators will check to ensure only authorised material has been brought into the exam room. You may bring a bag and coat, which must be stored in an allocated area in the room, specified by the Chief Invigilator. You may also be asked by an invigilator to remove head wear or other items.

The relevant stationery will normally be set out on each desk and a clock should be clearly visible to all candidates. You must use only the official stationery provided; any rough work must be done on this stationery and handed in with the completed answer book. You must not remove any answer books, rough work, stationery or equipment from the room. In some circumstances you are allowed to take the question paper with you – this will be clearly stated on the front page.

Electronic devices / mobile phones

You must store all unauthorised electronic devices, including mobile phones and smart watches, out of reach in bags or on the floor under the exam desk and they must be turned off at all times during your exam. Regular watches are permitted but these must be taken off and left on your desk for invigilators to see.

If you are found to have an electronic device that has been left on during an exam or your mobile rings/vibrates, then you may be required to leave the exam room and will not be readmitted.

If you are found to have a mobile phone or any other electronic device on your person, you will be required to leave the exam room and will not be readmitted. Subsequently, you may be dealt with in accordance with the Academic Offences Policy and Procedure.

Only in Exceptional Circumstances (e.g. if you have a sick relative or an expectant partner) will an active mobile phone be permitted in an exam room. In such cases, you must inform the Chief Invigilator of your circumstances and surrender the phone to the invigilator who will keep it with them for the duration of the exam. It will be returned afterwards.


You must supply your own calculator for exams. In general they should:

  • have no programming capability
  • be independently powered and silent
  • not be capable of text storage, manipulation or graphic display.

Any exam for which a programmable calculator has been approved for use will have this clearly indicated on the front of the exam paper.

You will be required to state on your exam answer booklets the make and model number of the calculator used. If you have any doubt about the suitability of a particular calculator for use in your exam, then you must seek approval for its use from the lecturer responsible for the exam in advance.


You must not take dictionaries into an exam unless you have written permission to do so. The exception to this rule is if you are an exchange student (whose native language is not English) studying at BU through a recognised international mobility programme.


Smoking (including e-cigarettes) is not permitted in the exam room. 

Food and drink

Bottled water (non-fizzy) and sweets are permitted but their consumption must not disturb other candidates.

Conduct in the exam room

The person setting the exam paper, or their representative, will be present in the main exam room at the beginning to advise on any discrepancies appearing in the questions. Once all initial enquiries have been answered they will usually leave the exam room, but will be available for consultation by the invigilator where necessary. They may also visit individual ALS rooms as required.

  • You must not start writing, other than to complete the identification details on the front of the answer book, until given permission to do so by the Chief Invigilator
  • During the exam, candidates must not communicate in any way with any person other than an invigilator
  • You must not leave your desk without the permission of an invigilator
  • Raise your hand if you need to attract the attention of an invigilator
  • No further explanation of any questions will be given by an invigilator; apparent misprints or errors appearing on the exam paper will be reported to the Chief Invigilator
  • You must not consult unauthorised papers or books, copy from another candidate, or seek unfair advantage by any other means
  • You must stop writing immediately when instructed to do so at the end of the exam, as determined by the Chief Invigilator
  • At the end of the exam, you must remain seated and silent until all answer books have been collected and checked – the Chief Invigilator will let you know when you can leave.

Any candidate who, in the opinion of the Chief Invigilator, causes an unreasonable disturbance, and continues to do so after being warned, will be required to leave the exam room and will not be readmitted.

If you suspect another candidate of using unfair means, you should immediately draw this to the attention of an invigilator.

Leaving the exam room

At any time during the exam you may be permitted to leave the exam room for personal reasons and will normally be accompanied by an invigilator or appointed person. The invigilator will need to be satisfied that you do not have access to unauthorised material or other persons.

If you leave the exam room without the permission of an invigilator, you will normally be deemed to have withdrawn from the exam and will not be readmitted to the exam room.

Ending the exam early

You are allowed to terminate your exam at any time after the first hour and up to ten minutes before the end of the exam session on surrender of your answer booklet and other required equipment. You will not be readmitted to the exam room.

Access to exam scripts

You may access comments on your exam scripts by making a request to the relevant Programme Support Officer. However, before issuing either an original or copy of your exam script, you will be required to provide proof of identity in the form of your Student ID card. There will be no charge for this service and requests will be processed as soon as possible, usually within five working days.

If an exam script is needed to check details relating to an appeal you have made, then the ten working day deadline for the receipt of appeals will be extended.

Exceptional Circumstances

If you feel that your performance in the exam has been adversely affected by unforeseen or uncontrollable circumstances, then you may submit evidence for consideration by the Exceptional Circumstances Board.

Circumstances submitted after the Assessment Board will only be considered as part of an appeals process providing there is a valid reason why you were unable to divulge the information prior to the Board.

Useful contacts

  • For specific enquiries, please contact the appropriate Programme Support Officer or Unit Leader in the first instance.
  • For Additional Learning Support enquiries, please contact
  • For general queries about exams, please contact
Student using ipad


Find exam dates and timetable information for the January, summer and resit exams.

Girls using laptop in library

Learning and disability support

If you have an additional learning requirement or need any kind of assistance during exams contact the Additional Learning Support team