Sitting your examination
Walking to exams
Copyright © Greg Smolonski. This image comes from Oxford University Images - All rights reserved.

In-person exams

For wider information for students about the impact of coronavirus, please see the student coronavirus advice page.

It is your responsibility to read and adhere to the Examination Regulations.

This webpage provides practical information on how in-person exams will work, what you should do in advance of the exams and what to expect on the day.  If you are sitting online exams instead of or in addition to in-person exams, please see the Online Exams webpage.

The majority of the in-person examinations will occur at the Examination Schools on the High Street or Ewert House in Summertown, some examinations will occur within departmental venues and may have different procedures. For more information on exams held in departmental venues please refer to section 5 below. 

1. Before your exam day

Checking your Timetable

Your individual timetable should be published on Student Self Service at least two weeks before your first exam.  You will receive an email when it has been added.  As well as checking the date and time of your exams please also check the following:

Location – Where is your exam happening?
Exams – Are all the exams you are expecting appearing?
Exam Adjustments – If you have been granted adjustments to your exams are these appearing?

(NB: it sometimes may take a day or two for recently approved adjustments to appear on the timetable).

If you think there is an issue with your timetable then please contact your College office immediately.

Know what to bring

Be aware of what you need to bring to your exam and have it prepared. You will need:

Writing Implements

Pens, pencils and other stationery items (rulers/erasers etc.)

NB: All writing should be done in pen (black or blue ink) with pencil used only for rough work or the drawing of graphs/diagrams.

University CardThe card will be used for performing an ID check and so the photo needs to be clear. If you have lost your University ID card or the picture has faded, please order a replacement University ID card in good time for your exams.
CalculatorOnly if your exam permits it (if in doubt please check with your department)
A clear pencil case or small clear bagTo carry your permitted exam belongings
Face Covering/Maskwhilst not mandatory we encourage the use of face coverings whilst inside University buildings

More detail on what is allowed in the exams rooms is covered in the Exam Day section of this guide.

Remote Invigilation

It may be possible for you to sit your exam online with remote invigilation in place, at the same time as your cohort is taking the exam in person, if you are not able to attend in-person exams in Trinity Term 2022 because you:

  • have received a positive result following an LFD or PCR test, and one or more exams will fall within the recommended ‘stay at home’ period (5 days with negative tests on days 5 and 6 or up to a maximum of 10 days).You should otherwise be well enough to sit your exam; exam excusal should be sought if you are unwell.
  • are residing outside of mainland UK, with approved residency dispensation via the Proctors for Trinity Term 2022 (if you have residency dispensation for Trinity Term 2022 but are residing within mainland UK, you are expected to travel to Oxford for exams unless one of the other criteria apply)
  • are a part-time student residing outside of mainland UK and unable to travel to Oxford due to local pandemic restrictions.
  • are residing within mainland UK, with or without a residency dispensation, but are immunosuppressed, or have specific other medical conditions meaning you may have a reduced ability to fight infections and other diseases
  • are returning for assessment only and have already fulfilled residency requirements during previous study, but are unable to return to Oxford for exams due to Covid-related or other travel restrictions.

If you have been following the ‘stay at home’ guidance due to a positive test result but ‘test out’ with two consecutive LFD tests from days 5 and 6 onwards, you are expected to attend in-person any exams scheduled from the day after your second negative test (e.g. day 7 if testing negative on day 5 and day 6). 

Please consult your college office in the first instance who will need to submit an application to the Proctors’ Office on your behalf.

Exam Wellbeing and Preparation

Navigating exams can be difficult, but the University is committed to supporting you as you engage with the process. Your exam-related issues and challenges may be the same as those of your peers or they may be different. Whatever it is that makes the exam experience difficult for you, we would like to support you to address the challenges of exams as effectively as you can, so that you can feel proud of yourself and positive about how you approached the process. You can find advice on the University’s Exam Wellbeing page.

The page has been developed together with the Counselling Service, and in line with Wellbeing at Oxford the University’s campaign focused on student mental health and wellbeing.

Illness before the exam

If you are too unwell or otherwise unable to sit your exam, please contact your College office immediately for further advice to apply for excusal (or your department if you do not have a college). Further details on the process and the evidence required can be found on the Problems completing your assessment page.

2. The exam day

What should I wear to my exam?

Candidates should wear Sub Fusc and Academic Dress to all In Person examinations. Details on what constitutes Sub Fusc and Academic Dress can be found here:

If the weather is cooler, you may wear a dark coat to the exam venue, but you will need to place this on the back of your chair when you get to the exam room.

In warm weather, once you are sat at your desk you may remove your gown, any jacket, and your tie/ribbon.

What can I take into the exam room?

You MUST bring

•Pens/pencils (we will not be able to lend stationery if you forget to bring it)

•University card

•Calculator (If your exam permits one – check with your department if unsure)

NB: spare calculators will not be provided if you forget yours.

•Face covering – whilst not mandatory we encourage the use of face coverings whilst inside University buildings.

We advise that you bring these items in a clear pencil case or small clear bag

In addition, you may wish to bring

•Water – this must be in a clear spill proof bottle and be non-sparkling/carbonated

•Dark Coat/Jacket, to be placed on the back of your chair whilst in the exam room

•Individual timetable (paper copy)

•In-ear ear plugs

Do NOT bring

•Bags, rucksacks, etc.

•Mobile phones, smart watches, cameras, or similar electronic devices

•Unauthorised material (including revision notes) or equipment relevant to the exam

•Good luck charms and items

• Non-clear bottles / any drinks other than still water (except with prior approval)

•Silent blood testing kits for diabetic students

•Glucose drink (e.g. Lucozade)/ Glucose tablets (e.g. Dextro energy tablets)

•Insulin syringes/supplies/Asthma inhalers/Epi-pen

•Over-the-counter and/or prescription medicine

•Small unobtrusive snack (please note nuts may not be taken into the exam)

•Medical aids (e.g. wrist splint/support, back support pillow, ice pack)

•Coloured overlays

Arrival at the Exam Venue

 Access to the Exam Schools/Ewert House will be from 30 minutes before the start of the exam (i.e. 9am for a 9:30am exam or 2pm for a 2.30pm exam).  If you arrive before that time then you will need to wait outside so you may want to time your arrival accordingly.  Please be aware of any signage which directs you to specific entrances, such as the quad gates.

Waiting Area/Finding out where to go

Up until 15 minutes before the exam is due to start you will be asked to wait in a designated waiting area or marquee until the exam rooms are called.  On busy exam days the waiting area can become busy and so should you wish to avoid this then time your arrival once the exam rooms have started to be called.  Whilst in the waiting area please be respectful of other students.

Within the waiting area there will be lists of candidates – in alphabetical order by surname – and details of which room and desk you have been assigned.  Once the rooms have been called follow the signage to your room.  There will be lists outside each room to help you remember your desk number.  


During the period the waiting area is in use you will have access to the toilets, though you will not be able to take belongings out of the waiting area.  Once the exam rooms have been called you may use the toilets on your way to the exam rooms.  During this time the toilets can be very busy and queues can form.  We recommend that you go before arriving at the exam venue.  Once you have entered the exam room you are not permitted to leave until 30 minutes into the exam.

3. In the exam room

Finding your desk

The exam desks will be laid out with desk numbers in the corner, so you should be able to find your assigned seat. The desk will have your exam paper, script booklets, and any other materials which are listed on the cover of the exam. Check that your desk has the exam paper that you are expecting to sit, as well as any materials listed on the cover, but do not turn over the exam paper until you are told to do so. If anything is missing from the desk, or you have an exam paper that you were not expecting, raise your hand to attract the attention of an invigilator.

Once you have started the exam, you will not be able to leave in the first 30 minutes or the last 30 minutes. If you feel unwell during the first 30 minutes or last 30 minutes of the exam, raise your hand to get the attention of an invigilator.

Candidate number and ID checks

You can check your candidate number on student self-service, as well as on your individual timetable, and will be able to write this information down to bring with you to the exam room. If you realise at the start of your exam that you do not know your candidate number, an invigilator will be able to assist with providing this information.

All candidates should bring their University card with them as ID, this should be placed face up on the desk at the start of the exam where it can be checked by an invigilator.

Leaving your desk

During the exam you should raise your hand to get the attention of an invigilator if you want to leave your desk for any reason.

Paper errors

If you think there is an error on the exam paper you should state your assumption of the exam question within your exam script. 

Illness or disturbance and mitigating circumstances (MCEs)

If you feel unwell during your exam, raise your hand to attract the attention of the invigilator. If you need to leave the exam due to illness you may return to the exam once within the remaining exam duration if you feel better and wish to do so, but if you need to leave a second time you will not be able to continue the exam. If you are unable to complete an exam due to illness, your college will be able to advise on next steps. If you feel that your performance during an exam has been affected by illness or disturbance, you should complete a mitigating circumstances notice to the examiners. For further details on how to submit a notice, see the Problems completing your assessment page.

Submitting scripts and rough work

Please ensure that you cross through any rough notes before the end of your exam, otherwise they may be marked by an examiner. Please ensure that you fill out the covers of all script booklets which you have used with your candidate details – candidate number, date, exam, and the question numbers which you have answered. Do not write your name, university ID number or Student Self Service number anywhere on your exam responses.

Invigilators will collect scripts from candidates at their desks, please wait patiently until that process is completed and you are instructed to leave by the Invigilator. 

4. Leaving your exam

What can you take with you from the exam room

Once your exam is finished then please wait until the Senior Invigilator informs you that you can leave the exam room.  You should ensure that you take your pens and stationery with you, along with your University Card.  You should not remove from the exam room any script booklets, rough work should be submitted with your exam answers. 

You may usually take away the exam paper although some papers are not permitted to be removed from the exam room.

Leaving the building

Once out of the exam room please leave the building as soon as possible.  Remain quiet whilst you are in the building.  Though your exam may have finished there will be other candidates still taking papers and you should endeavour not to disturb them.  Please do not wait for friends until you are away from the building to help keep the exam environment as quiet as possible.


Some toilets after the exam will not be in use in order to keep areas quiet for students still taking exams. 

Lost property/re-entry

After you have completed the exam, it will not be possible for you to re-enter the building after you have left. If you believe that you have left personal items behind after an exam, you should contact your college office. They will in turn contact the Examinations and Assessments team, who will check if these items were left after the exam and, if found, arrange to have them returned to your college.

5. Exams held in departmental venues

Some in-person exams are held in departmental venues such as the Medical Sciences Teaching Centre or Biology Teaching Labs.  Procedures, particularly around arrival and waiting times, may vary from those set out in the above guidance.  Should you have an exam that is being sat in a departmental venue then please check with the department for any detailed instructions.

Avoiding plagiarism

  • Plagiarism is the copying or paraphrasing of other people's work or ideas into your own work without full acknowledgement.
  • All published and unpublished material, whether in manuscript, printed or electronic form, is covered under this definition.
  • Intentional plagiarism can carry severe penalties, including failing your degree.
  • Learn how to avoid unintentional plagiarism.

Jury service

  • You cannot claim exemption from Jury service.
  • If you are summoned to serve during term-time, and particularly when sitting exams, you should apply to the Jury Central Summoning Bureau for deferral or excusal, as set out in the summons.
  • You should also seek the advice of your college office.

Examination adjustments for religious observances

  • If you wish to uphold religious observances which impact on your ability to sit exams on particular days or times of day speak to your college office as early as possible.
  • An application for scheduling preferences should be submitted as an alternative exam arrangement application via your college office.
  • Scheduling adjustments must be applied for by the end of Week 4 of Michaelmas Term in order for your preferences to be taken into account whilst during the setting of the exam timetable.
  • If it has not been possible to meet your preferences and your exam timetables does clash with your religious observance, you may need to apply for an adjustment to your individual timetable under Part 12 of the Examination Regulations.

Examination adjustments for disability

  • You can request exam adjustments related to your disability such as extra time or exam scheduling.
  • Further information is available on the Exam adjustments page.

Complaints and academic appeals

  • Complaints concerning the conduct of university exams or circumstances that affected the teaching or tutorial support on your course - raise concerns with your senior tutor.
  • If, following such a discussion, you have a complaint about procedures not being correctly followed during an exam, or you have reason to believe that your exam was not conducted fairly, you may make an academic appeal to the Proctors.
  • Please refer to the Complaints and Appeals procedures in the University regulations.
  • If you are a graduate research student you should raise your concerns with your director of graduate studies.
Was this page useful?*