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Exam Information and Procedure

The following section provides useful information concerning exam formats, procedure and student responsibilities before, during and after examiniations.

Please note this information is further supported by Northumbria University Assessment Regulations, Policies and Procedures

  • Carefully check the full details of the examination in your NU Connect app this will incude: date, time, location and exam description.
  • Take time prior to the exam date to find the exact location of the examination venue. Arrive for examinations 20 minutes before the start time indicated as there are various procedures required for both students and invigilators before the exam can start.
  • Bring a university smartcard or other photographic ID as this will be used for identification purposes during the exam. Ensure that any dictionary or calculator that will be brought to the venue is both permitted as an examination aid and meets the conditions of use. Dictionaries and calculators will be checked by invigilators at the exam venue.
  • Large bags or any electrical equipment MUST not be brought to the examinations venue. An exception may be a non-programmable calculator but only if this is permitted according to the exam detail.
  • For refreshment only bottled water (with no label), a small packet of mints and/or a small piece of fruit or dried fruit (in a small clear plastic bag) are allowed. No other drinks/snacks either hot or cold are permitted in the exam venue.

  • Examination conditions begin immediately as the examination venue is entered. There should be no communication with anyone other than an invigilator.
  • All bags and coats should be placed in an area indicated by the invigilators.
  • All mobile phones/watches/fitbits are not permitted in the venue and MUST be switched off and placed in a bag or a coat in the area designated by the invigilator. If a student has no bag or coat in which to store their mobile phone they must request a storage bag from the invigilator. You must not store devices on your person. You must ensure you do not access any mobile device during the examination.
  • All materials including books and notes not permitted during the exam should be placed in the area designated by the invigilator. (for further information please see the section on exam formats)
  • Students should highlight to an invigilator if they have brought any electrical device or other equipment to the venue that has auditory (except for hearing aids) communication or storage capability that they are unable to store in a bag or coat. (for further information please see the section on unauthorised technology)

  • Listen to all instructions and announcements by invigilators and follow instructions carefully as they will contain important information regarding both the detail of the examination and the expected responsibilities of students until they have left the venue.
  • Do not communicate with any other candidate during the examination. Students should note that this is not restricted to verbal communications and includes any attempt to copy from another student's work or allow their work to be copied from them.
  • Unauthorised communication between students will be dealt with in accordance with the academic misconduct procedure
  • Do not access any device or material that is not permitted in the exam.
  • Unauthorised access to any devices or material that are not permitted will result in evidence being confiscated and dealt with in accordance with the academic misconduct procedure

  • Permanently leaving the venue in the first 60 minutes and last 20 minutes of an exam is not permitted, this includes one hour examinations.
  • Temporary breaks during the examination will only be allowed for toilet breaks and in cases of illness.
  • A student must raise their hand to inform an invigilator if they require a toilet break. When available, an invigilator of the same gender (if possible) will then escort the student to the nearest applicable toilet and will also enter the toilet area.
  • If a student requires the use of a cubicle this will be checked first by the invigilator. Students must note that they must not have a mobile phone or any other device/material on their person.
  • A student finishing their exam early and wishing to permanently leave the examination venue must raise their hand and inform an invigilator and will only be allowed to leave after the first hour and not in the last twenty minutes.
  • Any student permanently leaving the examination during the examination will not be re-admitted.

  • A coordinating invigilator will announce to the room when the exam has twenty minutes remaining, five minutes remaining and when the examination is ended. Students should note these announcements to ensure they are prepared and all documents that need to be submitted are filled in appropriately.
  • Students are under examination conditions and should remain in silence when the examination is ended listening to all closing instructions made by the invigilators.
  • After the closing announcement invigilators will collect all required examinations materials.
  • No communication, verbal or otherwise is permitted during this period.
  • Any unauthorised communication between students before permission has been given to leave the examination venue may be dealt with in accordance with the academic misconduct procedure
  • Students will be specifically instructed when they have permission to leave the venue and are no longer under exam conditions.

As well as noting the date, time and location of an exam, the examination description also contains important general information relating to both the type of exam and any resources that may be permitted in the exam venue.

Students should always read their specific course detail relating to the type of assessment that is required however further information on the main exam descriptions and their meanings can be found in the exam descriptions document.

A dictionary or a calculator should not be used to attempt to gain unfair advantage and both will be rigorously checked by invigilators during the examination.


Students are permitted to bring a paper copy dictionary into an examination unless this has been specifically precluded on the examination paper. Students whose first language is not English are also permitted to bring an approved paper copy translation dictionary except where language translation is being assessed.

Conditions of use:

  • Small pocket sized copy only.
  • Should be a clean copy and not contain any written or typed notes, additional pages or annotations of any kind.
  • May not be loaned to other students in the exam venue.
  • English dictionaries should have words and meanings only. Encyclopedic, specialist or scientific dictionaries are not allowed unless stated on the examination rubric.
  • Bilingual or Translation dictionaries should be word to word only (should give equivalent words or phrases in two languages without further text or explanation)
  • Any dictionary brought into an examination venue will be considered to be the property of the student intending to use it and they will be responsible for ensuring that it meets conditions of use if permitted


Students are permitted to bring a calculator into an examination only where this is specifically indicated on the examination paper.

Unless it is specifically stated otherwise on the exam rubric these should be basic, un-programmable and not capable of storage. It is the responsibility of students to check with their faculties in which examinations they will be allowed to use a calculator so they can ensure they bring all the materials required to complete their paper. As there could be restrictions on the type of calculator they are allowed to use, students should also check the type of calculator that is permitted. Please note there will be no spare calculators at the examination venue.

Conditions of use:

  • Should be basic and non-programmable unless specified by the exam rubric.
  • Should be reset at the beginning of an exam ensuring there is no access to pre-set information.
  • Any calculator with storage capability is not permitted.
  • May not be loaned to other students in the exam venue.
  • Any calculator brought into an examination venue will be considered to be the property of the student intending to use it and they will be responsible for ensuring that it meets the conditions of use permitted.

No equipment, electronic or otherwise should be accessed during an examination that has any communication (to internet, other device, or person) auditory (unless for hearing aid), or storage capability unless it is specifically indicated as permitted on the examination paper.

It is the responsibility of students to ensure they do not have access to items that could be used for any of the purposes mentioned above during an examination. If there is cause for concern that unauthorised use of equipment or technology is taking place, identified items may need to be checked and/or confiscated and could result in Academic misconduct procedures being applied.

It is not possible to list all items that would not be permitted into an exam venue as technology is changing constantly, however some examples of the general types of devices that would not be permitted unless specifically stated on the exam paper would be; Mobile phones, smart watches, earphones, Ear pieces (not required for hearing), Bluetooth devices, fitbits, tablets, e-readers, programmable calculators etc..

This list however is not exhaustive and all students should take extreme care to assess the capabilities of any equipment or device they intend bring into the examination venue- please see the Guide to Unauthorised Technology in the exam venue for further information.

Academic integrity is an expectation during study at Northumbria University and as such students should not undertake or participate in any activity in examinations that could result in a suspicion of cheating.

Before attending examinations it is expected that all students gain an understanding of the universities expectation and also the definitions of academic misconduct. Detailed explanations of these areas can be found in the Assessment Regulations, Policies and Procdures under the Academic Misconduct Procedure. Failure to adhere to the principles and regulations stated will result in the initial procedure for examinations being applied (section 4.2 of the academic misconduct procedure)

If a student wishes to inform the university that they feel their performance in an exam has been affected by serious, unforeseen and unpreventable personal extenuating circumstances (PEC) or by any other technical/disruptive factor beyond the students control (TEC) then the procedures for informing the university must be followed to ensure the detail is taken forward accurately.

Advice and guidelines on both the procedure for submitting a PEC and also for informing the appropriate staff of TEC’s can be found here.

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