FE Examinations Invigilation Policy 2022/23


Policy Review

This policy will be reviewed in full annually.  

The policy was last reviewed and agreed by Terry Patterson Quality Manager, on 19th August 2022

It is due for review in August 2023.

This guide has been written to revise and refresh your knowledge of the role of the invigilator in an exam situation. Please read through it before you are due to invigilate. Staff should also read General, Vocational and Diploma Qualifications Instructions for conducting examinations.

Please refer to the detailed guidance given in the current JCQ Instructions for the Conduct of Examinations (ICE), which supersede these instructions for all relevant examinations under JCQ.

For further guidance relating to other examinations not under JCQ requirements, please see relevant documentation from the appropriate examining body.

Note: proctored examinations are now available as an option for a small additional fee – check with the Awarding Body for further information on how these should be implemented.

If you have any questions please talk to the Exams Officer.


Who?              No relative or candidate can serve as the sole invigilator No teacher who prepared the candidates may serve as the sole invigilator.

How many?   At least 1:30 for a written examination This number is reduced to 1:20 during a practical examination.

During the invigilation process the role of the invigilator is to

  • Ensure all candidates have an equal opportunity to demonstrate their abilities
  • Ensure that the security of the examination before, during and after the examination
  • Prevent possible candidate malpractice
  • Prevent possible administrative failures

Invigilators must;

  • Be familiar with the rules and regulations associated with organising an examination
  • Give all their attention to the examination process, and MUST NOT carry out any other task during the invigilation period
  • Be able to observe each candidate in the examination room at all times
  • Inform the Examination Officer or Director if they are suspicious about the security of the examination papers

The Examination Room

  • There must be suitable heating, lighting, ventilation and lack of noise.
  • No helpful material must be displayed around the room.
  • A reliable clock must be visible to all the candidates.
  • The centre number, start and finish time must be displayed at the front of the room.
  • The poster version (A3 size) of the JCQ Warning to Candidates and the JCQ Mobile Phone poster must be displayed in a prominent place both inside and outside the examination room. If a small number of learners are taking an examination we use C11 (back of the hall).
  • Desks must be positioned 1.25m apart in all directions.

The Day of the Examination

  • If you are the first invigilator of the morning/afternoon please ensure you are present in the examination room ten minutes before the start of the exam.

Checklist for Invigilators (for written examinations)


Arranging the examination room


Check that any charts, diagrams, etc. have been cleared from the walls.


Check that you have the following on display:

• a clock that all candidates can see clearly;

• a board/display showing the centre number, subject title, paper number and the actual starting and finishing time of the examination(s).


Check that you have:

• for the examination room a copy of the current JCQ Instructions for conducting examination;

• any subject-specific instructions and/or stationery lists issued by the relevant awarding body;

• a seating plan of the examination.


Identifying candidate


Make sure you know the identity of every candidate in the examination room.


Check the documentary evidence that private candidates or transferred candidates provide. You must ensure that they are the same people who were entered/registered for the examination/assessment


Before the examination


Check the front of the question paper for the exact requirements for authorised materials, particularly calculators, dictionaries (see F below), anthologies and set texts.


Tell candidates that they must now follow the regulations of the examination.


Warn candidates that they must give you any unauthorised materials. This includes potential technological/web enabled sources of information such as iPods, iWatches, mobile phones, MP3/4 players and wrist watches which have a data storage device.


Tell the candidates: • to fill in the details on the front of the answer booklet and any supplementary sheets, e.g. candidate name, (as per the attendance register) candidate number and centre number; • to read the instructions on the front of the question paper.


Tell the candidates about any erratum notices.


Remind candidates to write in black ink and not to use highlighters or gel pens in their answers.


Remind candidates to write in the designated sections of the answer booklet


Tell candidates when they may begin and how much time they have.


During the examination


Accurately complete the attendance register – see section 15 of the Instructions for conducting examinations.


See section 14 of the Instructions for conducting examinations if a candidate arrives late


Be vigilant. Supervise the candidates at all times to prevent cheating and distractions


Do not give any information to candidates about:

• suspected mistakes in the question paper unless an erratum notice has been issued or permission has been given by the awarding body;

• any question on the paper or the requirements for answering particular questions.


See section 16 of the Instructions for conducting examinations as to when a candidate may leave the examination room


Make sure that a question paper is not removed from the examination room during the examination.


Make sure that an appropriate member of staff is available to accompany any candidates who need to leave the room temporarily.


In an emergency see section 18 of these Instructions and any separate instructions issued by your centre.


Tell candidates to stop writing at the end of the examination.


After the examination


Check and sign the attendance register.


Tell candidates to check that they have:

• written all the necessary information on their scripts including supplementary sheets;

• crossed out rough work or unwanted answers;

• fastened any supplementary sheets, as instructed on the question paper or answer booklet


Collect all scripts and all unused stationery before candidates leave the examination room.


Arrange scripts in the order candidates appear on the attendance register


Make sure that scripts are kept in a secure place before being sent to the examiner or the awarding body.


Use of calculators and dictionaries


Candidates are allowed to use calculators, unless the specification for the subject says otherwise


Candidates are not allowed to use dictionaries in any examinations, unless the specification says otherwise.


Candidates who meet the JCQ regulations may use bilingual dictionaries


Access Arrangements


Check in advance with the exams officer which candidates, if any, have been granted access arrangements.

Seating the Candidates

Learners must sit in candidate number order, with the exception being if two exams are taking place at the same time. Invigilators must refer to the Attendance Register and tell the learners where they should sit. Once learners have been seated the exam package should be opened and the papers handed out. Learners should then be informed of the examination rules and conditions.

Please do this by reading the following script;

Suggested wording for the invigilator’s announcement at the beginning of a written examination:


You must now follow the regulations of the examination.


Only material listed on the question paper is allowed in the exam room. You must not have on or near you any other material.


Check your pockets now. Check for things such as notes, books, papers, iPods, iWatches and mobile phones. If you have any unauthorised items in your possession, you must hand them in to an invigilator now. Failure to do so may lead to disqualification.


 (For examinations with books that are allowed, add “check that no notes or papers have accidentally been left inside any book you are allowed to have in the examination room and that you have the correct edition of the allowed set text(s)”.)


 (For examinations where a calculator is allowed, add “make sure that the lid, case, or cover of your calculator does not have printed formulas or instructions”.)


Check that you have been given the correct paper for your subject, unit/component and tier.


Fill in all the details needed on the front of your answer book (or question paper). Make sure you fill these details in on any additional answer sheets that you use.

Pause to allow time for candidates to fill in the details


Read the instructions on the front of the question paper. (You may read these out to the candidates, if required.)


Check that you have all the materials you need for the exam.

Pause to allow time for queries


Tell the candidates about any erratum notices


Remember, you must write in black ink. You may use pencil for drawings and rough notes.


You must write in the designated sections of the answer booklet


You must write all rough work in your answer book and neatly cross it through with a single line. For multiple-choice papers, add “you must do any rough work in the question booklet.”


You must not use correcting pens, fluid or tape, erasable pens, blotting paper. You must not use highlighters or gel pens in your answers.


You must not communicate in any way with, ask for help from or give help to another candidate while you are in this exam room. You should put up your hand to attract the invigilator’s attention.


If the fire alarm sounds, please stay seated – wait for instructions from the invigilator.

Tell the candidates when they may begin and how much time they have

During the Examination

As an invigilator you must remain vigilant throughout and devote your whole attention through the exam;

  • ∙ Change your position in the room regularly
  • If two invigilators are present place yourself in different areas of the room
  • Make as little noise as possible Finishing the Exam Inform the candidates when there is five minutes remaining
  • When the exam has finished instruct the candidates to stop writing
  • Tell the candidates to assemble their work in the correct order and fasten the sheets together; a treasury tag or string should be used to secure the papers, metal paper fasteners, or staples must not be used
  • Collect the scripts in the order candidates are listed on the attendance register

If the Exams Officer cannot collect the examination papers please collect everything together and return it to the Director. No question papers or examination stationery must be left in the exam room.

Extra Time

Since some of our learners have English as a second language, some of them qualify for an additional 25% to compensate for the time they lose using a dictionary. If you have any questions please speak to the Exams Officer. If a student brings a dictionary into the exam room the invigilator must check it for any additional writing or pieces of paper. Learners who are NOT entitled to extra time will have a rest piece of paper placed on their desk and their names will be listed on a piece of paper left on the invigilator’s table.

Learners Arriving Late

A candidate who arrives after the start of the examination is allowed to enter the examination room and sit the examination and should be allowed the full time for the examination.

A candidate will be considered very late if they arrive:

  • more than one hour after the published starting time for an examination which lasts one hour or more.

For examinations that last less than one hour, a candidate will be considered very late if they arrive:

  • after the published finishing time for the examination or 30 minutes after the starting time, whichever is later.

Where a candidate arrives very late for an examination you must inform the Exams Officer immediately.

Multiple Exam Papers

If the candidate is taking two or more examinations in a single session they are allowed a supervised rest break of no more than fifteen minutes between papers.

If the candidate is taking two or more papers and the total time (including extra time) is more than three hours, the candidate is allowed to sit one of the papers in an earlier or later session within the same day. Strict supervision rules and apply and teachers must bear in mind that a rest break is not always beneficial as it may affect the student’s concentration.

The Exams Officer will inform you if a student is entitled to a supervised break.

Leaving the Room

For examinations that last one hour or more, candidates must stay under supervision until one hour after the awarding body’s published starting time for that examination.

For examinations that last less than one hour, candidates must be supervised and question papers must be kept in secure storage until the published finishing time of the examination or 30 minutes after the awarding body’s published starting time, whichever is later

Candidates who are allowed to leave the examination room temporarily must be accompanied by a member of staff. Those candidates may be allowed extra time to compensate for their temporary absence.

Candidates who have finished their work and have been allowed to leave the examination room early must hand in their work before they leave the examination room. Those candidates must not be allowed back into the room.


If a candidate is suspected of malpractice, the invigilator must warn the candidate that he/she may be removed from the examination room. The candidate should also be warned that the awarding body will be informed and may decide to disqualify the candidate.

The invigilator must record what has happened and wherever possible, the invigilator should remove and keep any unauthorised material that a candidate may have in the examination. If necessary, the invigilator should summon assistance.

The Exams Officer has a duty to monitor and report potential malpractice by invigilators.

Contacting another member of staff

If you are the sole invigilator you must always be able to contact another member of staff, to do this we ask that staff bring their mobile phones and if they need help they call one of the numbers below and someone will come to the examination room straight away. The call will not be answered, so it will be free to the member of staff.

The people present in the examination room.

The head of centre has a duty at all times to maintain the integrity of the examination and to ensure that fully trained invigilators are in place for examinations and tests. Invigilators must have been trained to undertake their duties as per Section 6, page 14, of the JCQ document Instructions for conducting examinations.

The following rules relate to centre staff other than exams officers and invigilators.

Members of centre staff may be approved by the head of centre to be present at the start of the examinations. When members of centre staff enter an examination room, they must identify themselves and their purpose for being there to the senior invigilator and/or exams officer.

Where specifically approved by the head of centre and agreed with the exams officer, members of centre staff have a very clear role. Principally:

  • to assist with the identification of candidates;
  • to deal with any disciplinary matters;
  • to check that candidates have been issued with the correct question paper,(particularly where optional or tiered papers are involved);
  • to check that candidates have the appropriate equipment and materials for the examination;
  • using information provided by the exams officer or subject teacher, identify whether the candidates have been prepared for the set texts highlighted on the question paper

Under no circumstances may members of centre staff:

  • be present at the start of the examination and then sit and read the examination question paper before leaving the exam room;
  • enter the exam room, uninvited, with the sole intention of accessing the examination question paper;
  • have access to the examination question paper unless this is specifically requested by either the exams officer or an invigilator. For example, a possible printing error has been identified and, in the absence of an erratum notice, the exams officer needs this verified by the relevant subject teacher before escalating the issue to the awarding body;
  • give any indication of their opinion of a question paper to candidates, verbally or otherwise, having been asked to inspect the content;
  • enter the examination room and approach candidates, either to prompt them to make an attempt at the examination or to provide support and encouragement;
  • enter the examination room and read candidates’ scripts.

Support and encouragement may be offered at any point up until the time that candidates enter the examination room. From that moment onwards they are under examination conditions and the strict protocols must be adhered to.


  • Listen carefully to the instructions the invigilators give you
  • Leave the exam room calmly and stay with the members of staff at all times
  • Do not talk to other learners, either from the exam or from outside – remember that you are still under exam conditions and have to follow the exam regulations
  • Staff will take you out of the building and you will wait outside until the emergency is over
  • You will not lose any time from your exam. When it is possible to return to your exam room, any time lost will be added onto the end of your exam time
  • If you break any of the exam regulations during the evacuation procedure, this will be dealt with in exactly the same way as if it had happened in the exam room



Learners must follow the instructions given by the exam invigilator(s). Exam conditions continue to apply so talking or gesturing to the other candidates is not allowed. Invigilator instructions:

  • Stop the exam noting the time on the “Fire Evacuation” sheet.
  • Ask the candidates to stop writing, put their pens down and turn over their exam paper. Phone the Exams Officer or the Head of Academy if she is not available
  • Advise the candidates to stay calm and that the exam room will be evacuated.
  • Remind the candidates that they are still under exam conditions and that talking or gesturing to the other candidates is not allowed.
  • Learners must leave the exam paper on the desk along with their equipment. They will not be allowed to collect their belongings.
  • Evacuate the learners in the exam room row by row (where appropriate). Each invigilator should supervise no more than 30 learners and remain with them at all times
  • Learners will be directed to the appropriate assembly point where they will wait in the same order as in the Exam Room. Learners should remain in silence and do as instructed by any member of staff.
  • The Exams Officer will meet at the assembly point to provide assistance with the supervision of candidates.
  • Once all candidates are evacuated one of the invigilators checks that there are no learners remaining in the exam room and close all access doors to the examination room.
  • A register will then be completed in accordance with the candidate entry list and seating plan.
  • The Exams Officer will inform the invigilators when it is safe to go back to the examination room for the exam to be re-started in accordance with the JCQ regulations


Exam title: _________________________________________________________________

Exam board: ________________________________________________________________

Exam Room: ________________________________________________________________

Length of exam: _____________________________________________________________

Start time: __________________________________________________________________

Exam stopped at: ____________________________________________________________

Time remaining: _____________________________________________________________

Exam restarted at: ____________________________________________________________

Please ensure that this sheet is collected in the event of a fire evacuation.


  • Ask the candidates to rule off their answer paper/answer book at the point reached when the examination was halted.
  • Inform the learners of the new finish time both verbally and by adjusting the start/finish times on the whiteboards.
  • At the end of the exam, reassure the learners that the incident will be reported to the examination board and a request will be made for special consideration, to take into account the disturbance caused to them.

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