CEO Message - May 2024 : Ensuring that you are prepared for every exam day

With the summer 2024 exam series only a matter of days away, the NAEO urges all exams officers to ensure that they are fully prepared for every exam session, aware of the tasks which must be undertaken after each exam session and prepared for the next session/day.

To prepare for each exam session:

  • Check your e-mails, and/or hard copy mail, for any last-minute erratum notices from awarding bodies for that day’s exams
  • In the secure room, identify the question paper packet(s) for each exam in the session (and any erratum notices). Ensure that sealed question packets are not be removed from the secure storage facility until the permitted time
  • Add any required stationery (e.g. answer booklets/additional or supplementary answer sheets/booklets if appropriate). Check clean copies of any formula/data booklets added (where/if required by the subject)
  • Add the (an) attendance register for each exam paper
  • Add the seating plan (and incident log) for each exam room (if used, add exam room checklist and relevant desk ID cards)
  • Remove question papers from secure storage (within the permitted time)
  • Confirm that a member of staff (additional to the person removing the papers from secure storage) checks the day, date, session (time), subject, unit/component (and tier of entry if applicable) immediately before a question paper packet is opened and that this (second pair of eyes) check is recorded
  • Access arrangements (within the permitted time/times): Prepare any paper(s) required to facilitate an access arrangement and include any ordered modified paper(s) and any required cover sheet(s)
  • Brief invigilators on all the arrangements for the exam session they need to be aware of, including:
    • the exam(s) in their room and the paper(s) duration
    • the required question papers, exam stationery, other materials and any erratum notice(s)
    • the attendance register(s)
    • the seating plan and the arrangements for any private/external or transferred candidate(s) (if applicable)
    • being informed of any candidate(s) with an access arrangement(s) and made aware of the access arrangement(s) awarded (where applicable)
    • the supervision arrangements for any timetable clash candidate(s) between exam papers taking place within the same session (if applicable)
    • the supervision arrangements for any timetable clash candidate(s) between exam papers taking place within a different session (if applicable)
    • instructions for completing the exam room checklist (where applicable) and the exam room incident log
    • the contents of their exam room box (where provided)
  • Brief any roving invigilator(s) on the room(s) to be entered and the arrangement(s) to be observed

After each exam session:

  • If applicable, merge scripts for candidates under alternative rooming arrangements/at an alternative site with those of the main cohort
  • Where appropriate, ensure any required cover sheets accompany scripts
  • Undertake a final check of completed attendance register and scripts for each exam are in register order
  • Pack and seal scripts in relevant awarding body script dispatch envelope(s). Do not insert anything else in packages
  • Check e-mails, and/or hard copy mail, for any notification of last-minute changes to examiner details
  • Affix examiner address label(s) to package(s)
  • Complete the dispatch log (where applicable to the yellow label service)
  • Store package(s) in secure room until dispatch
  • Complete and submit to timescale any required follow-up reporting to the awarding body, including any very late arrival report using CAP, suspected malpractice report(s), special consideration application(s)

Preparing for the next exam session/day:

  • Undertake a final check in the secure storage facility that correct and sufficient question papers are available for each exam
  • Final check and collation of any other required resources and answer booklets, if needed (check through sealed question paper packet window or refer to awarding body stationery/materials list)
  • Check e-mail (and mail, for any erratum or other urgent notice(s) from awarding bodies)
  • Access arrangements: Check arrangements in place/will be in place at the time of the exam
  • If applicable, check hard copies of ordered modified papers available in secure storage facility
  • If applicable, prepare any required cover sheets
  • If applicable, check/restock exam room box(es)

The above information has been taken from The Exams Office Exam Day Checklist.

If your centre is a member of The Exams Office, we recommend that you refer to the extensive range of support materials which are contained within its online Hub. These include:

  • A GUIDE TO DEALING WITH CANDIDATE ABSENCE - Highlights some of the key points to be considered when dealing with candidate absence from examinations/assessments
  • A GUIDE TO MANAGING EXAM TIME - Highlights some of the key areas that need to be considered at exam time
  • ACCESS ARRANGEMENTS: MANAGING EMERGENCY ARRANGEMENTS FORM TEMPLATE - Provides a way of recording actions around emergency/temporary access arrangements put in place for a candidate during the exams period and confirms follow-up activity, where applicable, has been completed
  • ACCESS ARRANGEMENTS: SUPERVISED REST BREAK RECORD TEMPLATE - Provides a means of recording the conduct of supervised rest breaks
  • ACCESS ARRANGEMENTS: WORD PROCESSOR CHECKLIST TEMPLATE - Provides a format for ensuring the logistics and instructions around candidates using a word processor for exams are in place in readiness for each exam (Also provides a suggested means of ‘Candidate verification’)
  • EXAM BOX CHECKLIST TEMPLATE - Provides an example checklist to help ensure a standard set of centre-provided exam materials are available in every exam room
  • EXAM DAY CHECKLIST TEMPLATE - Provides a reminder of key tasks to be undertaken each exam day and pointers on how to deal with unplanned events (what to do in the event of) that may arise on a daily basis
  • EXAM ROOM CHECKLIST TEMPLATE - Provides an example checklist to help ensure each exam room is set up in a standard way and in accordance with JCQ requirements
  • EXAM ROOM INCIDENT LOG TEMPLATE - Provides a way of logging any irregularities/unplanned for incidents, that may happen in the exam room, at the point of occurrence
  • EXAM SCRIPTS CHECKLIST TEMPLATE - Provides an example checklist to evidence checks/to confirm required tasks have been undertaken when collecting and/or packing scripts
  • INVIGILATOR ANNOUNCEMENT 2023/24 INSTRUCTIONS TEMPLATE - If using the recorded announcement audio (MP3 format) and/or video (MP4 format), customise these instructions for issue to invigilators to provide detail on how to control the announcement along with other relevant information
  • ROVING INVIGILATOR CHECKLIST TEMPLATE - Provides a framework on which to build a customised checklist for your centre to ensure visits to every required exam room are conducted in a consistent manner and in accordance with JCQ requirements
  • SPECIAL CONSIDERATION: APPROPRIATE EVIDENCE FORM TEMPLATE - Provides a means of recording appropriate evidence signed by a member of the senior leadership team, to support an application for special consideration
  • SUMMER EXAMS WEEKLY REPORT FORM TEMPLATE - Provides a format to briefly record issues as they may arise that impact on the smooth running of the daily exam timetable or impact on the time management of the exams officer
  • SUSPECTED MALPRACTICE: CANDIDATE NOTIFICATION FORM TEMPLATE - Provides a way of notifying a candidate that an alleged, suspected or actual report of malpractice is being made against them

The NAEO would like to thank our colleagues at The Exams Office for allowing us to reference and quote from their resources, and for their continued support in assisting exams officers in their everyday role and ensuring that centres are JCQ compliant.

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