Exam conduct and ID checks
On this page you will find important information about:
- Exam regulations and policies, including on the use of calculators and dictionaries
- Timings for entry/exit of the exam venue
- ID checks
- What to do with your belongings
- What is expected of you before, during and after the exam
Before your exam
Regulation and policies
Familiarise yourself with the regulations governing examinations which are displayed on notice boards throughout the University. Copies are available online from our Learning and Teaching Policies webpage.
Bag it or Bin it
You must ensure that all notes are deposited in your bag or in a bin prior to entering the exam venue.
Are You Clear?
No food or drink is permitted in the exam venue, with the exception of bottled water that should be in a clear bottle no bigger than 500ml. Anything in excess of this will be removed by the invigilator.
Familiarise yourself with the approved calculator policy. If you are required to use a calculator during your exam you must remember to bring your own and ensure it is in good working order. The University will not supply spare calculators to any students. If you need to borrow a calculator you will need to arrange this prior to entering the exam venue - once you have entered the exam venue you will be prohibited from giving/lending a calculator to anyone.
Dictionaries are not permitted in any exam unless you have been assessed by the University's Disability Service as requiring access to one, or where provision of one is an integral part of the assessment process e.g. for students taking specific courses within Languages and Intercultural Studies (LINCS) in the School of Social Sciences. Such exceptional arrangements will require the prior approval of the Dean acting on behalf of the relevant Studies Committee.
Exam timetable and seating plan
It is sometimes necessary to publish a revised examination timetable. For this reason, you should check this page regularly, close to the time of your first examination. If the 'last updated' date does not match the date on the spreadsheet, you may need to clear your browser cache or try a different browser.
Ensure that you have your seat number before entering the exam venue.
Exam ID checks
You must bring your Heriot Watt University ID Card to all examinations. If you do not have your HWU ID card you must bring alternative photo ID. When you sit an examination at any of our campuses your identity is checked against your photo ID card to ensure that the right person is sitting the right exam. If, for any reason, you have a face covering you will be expected to remove the covering for University staff to verify your identity. You will be able to request that someone of the same gender undertakes the check in a private space.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) and Computer-based Exams and Assessments
You will be allowed to use an MFA device (typically your mobile phone) before the exam starts so you can successfully log in to Canvas or software required for the exam.
Your authentication device must then be switched off and put away as instructed by the invigilator in accordance with the requirements for each exam session.
Your bag should not be within reach during your exam. In each exam venue, invigilators will tell you where you need to put your bag.
Mobile phones must not be within reach during your exam. Unless you have an exam in a computer lab, leave your mobile phone in your bag. If you have an exam in a computer lab, you will need your phone at the beginning to complete the Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), after which the phone must be placed out of reach.
Smart devices including smart watches must not be within reach during your exam. Leave these in your bag, unless you have an exam in a computer lab and you use this device to carry out Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). In that case you will need the device at the beginning of the exam to log into MFA, and then the phone must be placed out of reach.
Watches (except for smart watches – see above) can be used in the exam; but must be laid out on the table so that it is visible to the invigilator.
You must be present at the exam venue 15 minutes before the published time. You will not be permitted to enter the exam venue 30 minutes or more after the start of the exam. You should speak to an invigilator who will advise you further.
Entry to the exam venue is not permitted until instructions to enter have been given.
Entry to your exam
- No food or drink is permitted in the exam venue, with the exception of bottled water that should be in a clear bottle and no more than 500ml. Anything in excess of this will be removed by the invigilator.
- You are not permitted to leave the exam venue within the first hour or within the last 30 minutes of the exam.
- You should always enter the exam venue in a quiet and orderly manner. You must not talk to other candidates once you have entered the exam venue.
- Place your bags under your desk ensuring that the walkways are kept clear.
- Ensure that mobile/smart phones and smart watches are switched off and placed in your bag or face down under your desk. All other watches must be removed and placed on your desk
Place your HWU ID card face-up and fully visible on your desk throughout the examination. If you do not have a HWU ID card you must bring alternative photo ID. When you sit an exam at any of our campuses your identity is checked against your photo ID card to ensure that the right person is sitting the right exam. If, for any reason, you have a face covering you will be expected to remove the covering for University staff to verify your identity. You will be able to request that someone of the same gender undertakes the check in a private space.
You should complete the attendance slip on your desk ensuring that all applicable boxes are completed clearly.
In some circumstances, an examination venue may have security arrangements that require you to provide identification in order to permit you to enter its premises to sit an examination.
Conduct during your exam
Communication of any kind with other candidates in the exam venue is forbidden before, during and after the exam.
You must comply with all the instructions announced by the invigilator.
You must not begin reading or writing, this includes 'brain dumping', until the invigilator has completed the announcements and officially started the exam.
Candidates sitting a computer based exam must use the login instructions provided by the invigilator.
Cheating in an exam and other assessed work is considered to be a very serious offence. This includes copying and using plagiarised material in exams, project essays, and dissertations. The penalties which may be imposed by the University Discipline Committee if an allegation of cheating is admitted or proven are sever and include the following:
- Annulment of all assessment results (including exams and projects) from the diet in which the incident of cheating occurred
- Downgrading of the degree to be awarded
- Suspension or expulsion from the University
It is permissible to check pencil cases or to ask a candidate to turn out his/her pockets if an invigilator suspects they may be concealing notes. You should also be aware that reading exam papers or communicating with other candidates prior to the start of an exam or even taking unauthorised material into an exam is considered to be an attempt to cheat.
If you are uncertain about what constitutes plagiarism, information is provided in student handbooks and further advice may be sought from Course Directors, Tutors or Academic Mentors.
Leaving the exam
You cannot leave the exam venue during the first 60 minutes or final 30 minutes of an exam (this includes toilet breaks), except in exceptional circumstances and at the discretion of the invigilator.
You must stop writing when instructed to do so by the invigilator.
Invigilators will collect the exam materials and you must ensure that you hand in all exam materials, including the exam question paper. Removal of any material is deemed an exam irregularity and is a disciplinary offence.
In order to minimise disturbance to other candidates, you should remain in your seat until the exam has officially ended, all exam materials have been collected and you have been given permission to leave by the invigilator.
You must leave quietly once the exam is over. Do not talk to other candidates until you are outside the building.