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Examination offences

We know that examination time can be stressful. As well as making sure you have structured your study well in the run up to exams and that you are confident and prepared for the challenge of assessment, there can be additional pressure associated with attending exams and knowing how to conduct yourself.

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This video shows you about good conduct when it comes to sitting exams.

Do

Listen to all announcements given before your examination begins and comply with all invigilator requests.

  • Find the time to read through all relevant rules and regulations before sitting any examinations.
  • Arrive at least 30 minutes before your examination is due to start.
  • Bring both your admission notice and photographic ID with you. You may not be admitted without them.
  • Take only the following items into the examination room:  admission notice, pens (ink or ballpoint), items stated on your permitted materials list (e.g. calculator/statute book).

Don't

  • Bring any books, notes, papers, instruments or materials of any description into the examination hall unless you have permission to do so (e.g. a statute book on a permitted materials list).
  • Bring your phone. All types of handset (smartphones or more basic models) are prohibited and must be deposited with invigilators before taking your seat.
  • Bring any electronic devices, including smartwatches, fitness bands or music players.
  • Keep anything in your pockets.
  • Bring any food or drink, other than a bottle of water in a clear container.
  • Communicate with any other student during the examination (includes talking, signalling or passing information).
  • Use scrap paper or write on your admission notice. You must write only in your answer script. Any rough work should be crossed through before submitting.

Following these will assist with the smooth running of examination sessions and helps to ensure that no student can hold an advantage over another.

Common infringements

We investigate between hundreds of alleged examination hall offences on average in each academic year.

These include carrying mobile phones during the examination, accessing information on a smartwatch, being in possession of unauthorised notes, and accessing prohibited materials during toilet breaks.

Some students have hidden annotations between the printed text of their permitted statute books. Some have glued pages together to conceal notes or concealed essay-style information between the pages of the book.

Invigilators are aware of these methods of cheating and conduct detailed checks before and during each examination.

You are also advised not to rely on memorising model answers from the study guide, past exam papers or elsewhere.

Rote learning, as this is known, is unlikely to answer the question well and could lead to an allegation of assessment offence if an examiner believes that the work is not your own.

Resources

Scenarios

I received a phone call during the exam, but I wasn’t using the phone to cheat, so no action will be taken against me.

Wrong. It is an offence to simply have possession of a mobile phone, or any electronic device (including tablets and smartwatches), during the examination as it could be used to gain an advantage. A phone can also cause a disturbance during the examination and this is unfair to your fellow students.

I was wearing a smartwatch or fitness tracker, but it was not synced to my phone, so no action will be taken against me. 

Wrong. All electronic devices are prohibited during an examination. There are a wide range of devices of this nature available on the market, with varied functions and capabilities. Some have storage functions and can operate either independently or at a distance from their companion device. All cases are considered on their own merits, but it is not reasonable to allow candidates to moderate their own access to prohibited devices during an examination. The University also cannot be expected to become familiar with all devices and their capabilities, to make exceptions to the rules or to treat some students differently.   

They were just my revision notes. I didn’t mean to bring them into the examination, so I haven’t committed an offence.

I did take notes into the exam hall, but decided not to use them, so I won’t be penalised.

Wrong. It is an offence to simply have possession of unauthorised materials of any kind during an examination, whether you refer to them or not. Having access to notes gives you a potential advantage. It is not fair to other candidates if a student with notes is given the benefit of the doubt.

I was on a bathroom break when the incident occurred, I wasn’t in the examination hall, so I have not contravened the rules.

Wrong. You are under examination conditions for the duration of the examination, which includes when you are outside the examination room on a toilet break. You will also need to observe certain rules from the moment you enter the examination hall, and follow invigilator’s instructions in the periods before and after the examination.  
 

It is worth the risk because I have another attempt at the paper.

A proven offence will remain on your student record and any future offence is likely to result in a harsher penalty. A single offence can also have serious consequences on your progression or career prospects. For example, the University is obligated to report proven offence cases from law examinations to the Bar Council. A single offence could prevent you from practicing law.

I was unwell and have a medical certificate to submit in defence of my actions.

You should submit any evidence you feel is relevant to your case, but illness will not normally be considered as justification for an assessment offence. If you believe that illness or other factors have adversely affected your performance in an examination, you should make a submission under the mitigating circumstances procedure no more than three weeks after your final examination. This is an entirely separate to the assessment offences procedure.