Exam rules: the do's and don'ts

Student Affairs Manager, James Berry, offers some advice about our exam rules
Students taking exams
Thousands of exams will be taken by International Programmes students across the world this May and June
If there was clear evidence of an offence being committed, students received at least a mark of zero for the exam and a permanent record on their student file that would make sure any future offence would receive a harsher penalty

Many thousands of examinations will be taken by International Programmes students in centres across the world this May and June and the University of London looks forward to celebrating the successes of its students. But every year we are also forced to think about and respond to the negative actions of a minority – those who cheat.  

Last year, 259 allegations of cheating were received. These ranged in depth and creativity from small unauthorised notes on scraps of paper, to writing found on the back of calculators, rulers or tissues, permitted statute books with extra pages inserted, using smartphones, colluding with other students in the room and even relying on prompts written on body parts. 

Each of those students were contacted directly by the University and had their results blocked whilst an investigation took place. Some minor cases resulted in a formal warning, but if there was clear evidence of an offence being committed, students received at least a mark of zero for the exam and a permanent record on their student file that would make sure any future offence would receive a harsher penalty.    

Although rare, in very serious instances students have had their registration to the University terminated.

It is important to recognise that not all of these students necessarily set out to play the system. Very few are what we might call deliberate cheats. But it is just not possible to tell the difference between somebody who panicked at the last minute and took a few words in on a scrap of paper just in case, and somebody who planned to cheat all along. And besides, both are still cheating because they give the student in question an advantage over their peers.

You should know that:

  • It is an offence to take notes or materials of any description into the examination hall, even if it was by accident and even if you never refer to them.
  • It is an offence to take your mobile phone, smartphone or tablet into the examination room, even if it is turned off.
  • It is an offence to speak, gesture, or share information in any way with another student during an examination. 
  • Invigilators conduct checks before and during the examination and know what they are looking for.

You will no doubt already be embroiled in your tried and tested revision rituals and last minute preparations, sifting through your study notes and carefully thinking over your exam technique. To avoid becoming the subject of an allegation, please also take an extra half an hour to do the following:

Good luck!