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

In-person exams

If you’ve experienced in-person exams at Oxford before, there have been a number of changes put in place. Do make sure you read the In-person exams guide before taking your exams.
If you will be sitting online open-book exams instead of or in addition to in-person exams, please see this separate Open-book exams guide.
For wider information for students about the impact of coronavirus, please see the student coronavirus advice page.

Read the In-person Exams Guide for Candidates

If you are taking an in-person exams this term, you must carefully read the detailed In-person Exams Guide for Candidates (PDF). Last updated Monday 10 March 2021.

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

Taking items into an exam

You will not be able to bring handbags, rucksacks, mobile phones, smart watches or similar electronic devices into the Examination Schools; please leave these at home. If you do bring these items, you will be asked to return them to your college or accommodation and you risk being late for the start of your exam.
There will not be the usual cloakroom or storage space for bags and coats in the Examination Schools marquee or entrance hall., so please do not bring bags, rucksacks, etc. This is so that we can restrict large gatherings of candidates in an enclosed space and ensure a clean environment. 
Please see section 2 of the In-person exams guide for detailed guidance on what you must and must not bring to your exam. 


The rules on exam attire have been relaxed for the 2020-21 academic year and you may wear your everyday clothes. If you wish you may wear sub fusc, but please leave your cap at home to limit the number of belongings you bring to the Examination Schools.

Please see section 2 of the In-person exams guide for detailed guidance. 

Face coverings in exams

In line with the University’s face covering policy, please keep your face covering on during your exam and at all times when moving around the building. As with the exemptions that apply in public spaces such as on public transport and in shops, the requirement to wear face coverings in University and college buildings will not apply to those who have a legitimate reason. This includes:
  • not being able to put on, wear, or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  • if putting on, wearing, or removing a face covering will cause severe distress
  • where interacting with someone who uses lip reading to communicate, or who has social communication impairments

Find your candidate number

Your candidate number can be found in Student Self Service and appears on your individual timetable.

Sitting your exam


Do not

Arrive between 9.30 and 9.50am (exams begin at 10am).Arrive just as your exam is scheduled to start.
Queue two metres apart along the barriers on Merton Street and enter through the Examination Schools quad gate. Doors open at 9.30am.Gather in groups or wait by the Examination Schools front doors on the High Street.
Follow the signposts to your exam room, keeping two meters apart.Gather in groups or wait for friends.
Read carefully the instructions on the front of your exam paper.Leave your exam within the first or last 30 minutes.
Write in black or blue ink.Write in pencil.
Cross through your rough notes.If you don't cross through your rough notes they may be marked by an examiner.
Complete the question numbers you have answered on the front page of the script booklet.Complete the examiners column on the front page of the script booklet.
If you think that there is an error or mistake in your exam paper you should state what you consider the error or mistake to be at the start of your answer for that question and if necessary, you should state your understanding of the question. You should then try to complete the paper as best you can.It will not be possible to query the content of the exam paper during the exam.
Complete your candidate details on the front of our script booklet: candidate number, date, exam.Write your name, university ID or Student Self Service number on the front of the script booklet.

Exam conduct


Do not

Raise your hand if you want to get the attention of an invigilator.Leave your seat without the permission of an invigilator.
Wear a face mask or covering in line with the University policy.Communicate with any person during the exam, other than the invigilator.
Remain seated at all times. Turn over your exam paper until you are instructed to do so.
Raise your hand if you need to leave the room, for example in the case of illnessLeave or re-enter the exam unless permitted by an invigilator
Remain silent in the exam room until all scripts have been collected and you are told to leave the room. 
Leave the building immediately after your exams.Wait in the corridors or in the quad.
  • You must remain silent in the exam room until all scripts have been collected and you are told to leave the room.
  • After your exam please listen to the instructions from the invigilators.
  • Unruly, disruptive or anti-social behaviour at the end of your exam will be reported to the Proctors and you may be fined.

Fees payable for exams

You may be liable to pay fees for certain exams or for late entry or late alteration of options. Full details of fees are available from the fees and funding page.

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 and see examples of what to avoid at avoiding 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.

Alternative exam arrangements 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.

Exam excusal

  • If you are unwell on the day of your exam and are unable to attend, you can apply to the Proctors for excusal. The form for applying for excusal is available on the Proctors’ Office website and you should submit relevant medical evidence with your application.
  •  You can apply for excusal up to 4 weeks before an exam and up to 14 days after an exam. Further details on the process and the evidence required can be found on the Problems completing your assessment page.
  • If you are excused by the Proctors, the exam board can decide either to classify you on the assessment you have completed, or request that you take the assessment at the next available opportunity.
  • You cannot apply for excusal if you have attended any part of the exam (this includes downloading the paper if the exam is online). If you attend the exam and have to leave because you are unwell you should submit a mitigating circumstances notice to the examiners.

Remote invigilation 

If you are not able to attend in-person exams for reasons related to Covid-19 because you are: 

  • not able to travel to Oxford 
  • self-isolating (but otherwise well) 

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

Mitigating circumstances notices to examiners (MCE)

If you believe your academic performance has been seriously affected by COVID-19 situation and/or a medical or personal issue you can submit a mitigating circumstances notice to your examiners (MCE) via your college or your department if you are a non-matriculated student. For further details on how to submit a notice, see the Problems completing your assessment 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?*