Department exam responsibilities

The head of department or school is ultimately responsible for the departmental work associated with the examination process and should therefore ensure that appropriate members of the department are nominated to undertake specific tasks.

Some of the key aspects of examinations, from both the staff and student perspective:

Confirming examination entries

 In the Autumn or Spring Term, every student will be asked to check that they are enrolled for the correct modules, using MyEssex, the student portal. This is an important exercise as students will be entered for examinations on the basis of their module enrolment record and it is important to identify discrepancies before scheduling commences.

Students are asked to notify the Examinations Office of any errors by a given deadline and changes requested after that date will normally be subject to a fine.


The main exam period is weeks 33-36 inclusive but the task of producing the exam timetable commences at the start of the Spring Term. Departments are given the opportunity to make requests for prioritisation in the timetable, however, the increase in both student numbers and the number of individual exam papers means that there is less scope to meet such requests comprehensively. The timetable is also constructed so that students are limited to a certain number of hours of exams per day and per week. It is undesirable for students to take two exams per day, though owing to the wide optionality on some modules this cannot be guaranteed.

The Examinations Office also takes into account at this stage scheduling constraints for students who have been assessed by the Student Support Office for individual examination needs, such as additional time or specific venues.

A draft examination timetable, which will have been checked for clashes, is normally circulated to departments/centres in Week 23 to check for errors. Other amendments are not normally possible. The final version will be circulated in Week 25 and posted on the web shortly afterwards. This contains the date and time of each examination, but not the room.

In Week 27 students will be able to access their online timetable. This enables students to:

  • View and print exam timetables
  • View any individual exam arrangements that have been put in place for them
  • Report any exam errors to the Examinations Office (eg not scheduled for the correct exam)
  • View exam FAQs
  • View the student handbook for exams
  • View exam room maps and seating plans

Individual arrangements

New students must contact the Student Services Hub by Week 5 if they have a learning disability or other condition which they believe entitles them to an individual exam arrangement, such as the award of additional writing time or the use of an amanuensis or computer. SWIS will arrange for assessment and will confirm what individual arrangements are to be given, if any. The Examinations Office will make the necessary arrangements.

Special arrangements can only be considered at a later stage if they are required because of accident or newly diagnosed condition. Individual arrangements are automatically carried forward to subsequent academic years unless there is a change in the student’s condition.

Examination papers

The head of department is responsible for the production of examination paper masters and for ensuring that they are submitted on time to the Examinations Office. The head of department should remind teaching staff of their responsibilities in this area. The undergraduate assessment policies, section 1 (.pdf) specifies that it is the responsibility of the academic staff and the external examiners not to set examination questions which invite the replication of coursework.

The late submission of examination paper masters puts unnecessary pressure on staff in the Examinations Office and in the Print Centre and imposes unnecessary expenditure in the form of overtime payments. The submission of a master paper signifies that the department is assured of the paper's accuracy, in terms of the rubric, question content, question numbering and inclusion of any diagrams or case studies that are required. The papers will be printed exactly as submitted to the Examinations Office. The deadline for submission of papers is the beginning of week 23 for the early and summer exams and week 44 for resit papers.

During the exam period

The Examinations Office employs temporary staff to cover all invigilation requirements for centrally administered exams. The Examinations Office will remind departments about the need to ensure relevant staff members are contactable when their papers are being sat in case of queries on examination question papers, which arise frequently.

Examination results

Examination marks for undergraduates are available via a secure web page 48 hours after the Board of Examiners meeting. Students must log in with their computer account username and current password. Statements of results are no longer sent by mail to all students.

Final year students wishing to view their results after Graduation must register an external email address and a password with IT Services. Advice on how to do this is displayed when they view their results. Students required to resit or resubmit coursework will be advised of the arrangements for doing so by letter, to their permanent home address, at the end of July.

It is University policy that marks are not given over the telephone, because of the difficulty of verifying the student’s identity and the risk of misunderstanding. Disclosing marks to a third party (including parents) without the student’s specific consent would be in breach of University policy and the Data Protection Act 1998. Members of staff may give students their results only via a copy of the signed marks grid.

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