How exams will be run

Your exams will either be in an invigilated venue on campus, or remote via FASER or Moodle. You may have a mix of the two different formats, depending on the modules you are studying.

Information on how modules are assessed, including whether an exam is in-person or remote, and whether an exam is open or closed-book, is published in the module directory. You can also find this information on My Essex in the section titled 'This Year's Modules'.

Your school or department will provide you with more information about how your modules are assessed, and will provide support and guidance to help you prepare for your exams. If you have questions about how your modules are assessed, please contact your school or department.

Your exam timetable

You can check this schedule to see the dates of the exam periods and when your personal exam timetable will be published. You will receive an email to your Essex account when your exam timetable is ready to view.

Your personal exam timetable will show all the exams that you are registered to take. It will show the date, time and duration of each exam, and whether it is in-person or remote. For in-person exams, it will show the room and seat number. For remote exams, it will include a link to the online platform (FASER, Moodle or Perception).

For remote exams, the timetable shows the date and time when the exam questions will be released, and the date and time when your answers are due to be submitted. For each remote exam shown on your timetable, there is a link to FASER, Moodle or Perception, where you will be able to access the questions at the time shown.

To report a problem with your exam timetable, please click the button that appears below your personal exam timetable, or email exams@essex.ac.uk. The problem could be an exam clash; an exam that is not showing; or an exam that you are not expecting to sit.

For remote exams, if you have two exams of less than 24 hours that overlap, please report this and we will investigate for you.

If your remote exams overlap, but one or more of these exams is 24 hours or longer, this is not treated as an exam clash, because you are not expected to spend all of the allocated time on the exam. You should only be spending an amount of time similar to that which you would normally spend in an exam hall - usually two or three hours. The extended time period has been provided, where possible, to give you the flexibility to plan your time and work on your exam at a time that suits you and your circumstances, and to allow you time to download the question paper and upload your answers. If you have, for example, a 24-hour exam that overlaps with a 48-hour exam, this is considered reasonable for scheduling purposes, because both of those exams should take you between two and four hours to complete (approximately), and it is normal practice for a student to be assigned two remote exams within a 48-hour period.

If, however, you feel that the scheduling of two exams with overlapping completion windows negatively impacts your performance in either exam, please complete an extenuating circumstances form. 

 

Open and closed-book exams

The terms 'open-book' and 'closed-book' refer to whether you can access any resources during an exam.

All remote exams are open-book.

For in-person exams, your lecturers should make it clear to you during classes whether your exams will be open-book or closed-book. The information determines whether you are allowed to access any physical resources, such as notes or a textbook, to support you during the exam. For in-person exams, you will not be allowed to access notes on an electronic device or use the internet.

You can view the assessment information for your modules from the area in My Essex titled 'This Year's Modules', or on the module directory.

 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open-book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform (FASER, Moodle or Perception). You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open-book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials, such as paper study notes or a textbook, during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open-book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials, such as a named textbook, during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed-book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed-book exam. Any exceptions will be be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Remote exams

Remote exams are accessed via our online platforms (FASER, Moodle or Perception). You do not need to be on campus to take a remote exam.

The format of your remote exam will vary. You can contact your school/department for more information about these assessments; what is expected of you; and how to prepare. Generally there are three types of remote exam:

  • Take-home exam via FASER - Take-home exams via FASER are made up of a number of questions that you can answer over a limited time period. The question paper will be available for you to download from FASER in one of the common file formats (Word or PDF) and when you have completed the exam you will upload your work back into FASER. The front page of the exam paper will tell you whether you need to type your answers on the question paper or upload them as a separate file.
  • Quiz via Moodle - Some remote exams will be in the form of a Moodle Quiz. These tend to include multiple-choice questions (MCQ) and in some cases essay-style questions as well. 
  • Multiple-choice questions exam via Perception - A small number of remote exams will be provided through Perception and these will usually be Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ). 

Your personal exam timetable will show the date and time of your remote exam and the platform it is using (FASER, Moodle or Perception). You can access the relevant platform by clicking the link provided on your personal exam timetable.

Remote exams are open-book exams. Open-book means you can refer to books and your notes to help you to write your answers. However, it is important that it is your own work, so you may not get help from others. Please see the section below on academic integrity.

For many remote exams you will have a longer period in which to write and submit your answers than you would have in an in-person exam. For example, you may have a 24, 48 or 72-hour completion window. You will not need, and are not expected, to spend all this time on the exam. The extended time period has been provided so that you have flexibility to plan your time and to work on your exam at a time that suits you and your circumstances. The duration also allows time for you to download the exam and to upload your answers. Your school/department will provide you with guidance on how long you might expect to spend on writing your answers/the expected length of an answer. You should normally expect to be able to write your answers in the same period of time that a standard exam would take, however, you do not need to do this all in one block of time.

Remote exam practice

If you're not familiar with using FASER or Moodle, we have set up some practice areas for you to try out ahead of your exams:

FASER practice area

Moodle practice area

If you are unable to log in to FASER or Moodle, please contact the IT Helpdesk so that this can be resolved in time for your exams.

Access to technology

You will need access to a computer and internet connection to take your exams remotely. If you need help with equipment/digital costs, please see our hardship fund. If you experience problems with your technology that prevent you from taking the exam, please submit a Notified Absence from Exams form on My Essex and select 'Lack of IT facilities' as your reason for absence. You must also submit an extenuating circumstances claim.

Facilities on campus

If you do not have a quiet space at home in which to take a remote exam, you can book a silent study space in the Library and bring your own laptop computer to use on the campus wifi network; or, if you do not have suitable equipment, you can use an open-access IT lab.

Help while your exam is in progress

Remote exams

Exam question queries

When you have downloaded or started a remote exam, if you have a question that relates to the content of the exam questions, you should contact your school or department using the email address shown on the front of the paper.

Other exam queries

If you have a question or require support while taking a remote exam, help is available by contacting:

  • Live chat (button in the bottom right hand corner of the page)
  • Email: exams@essex.ac.uk
  • Phone: +44 (0)1206 873926

Support is available on any day on which exams are running (including Saturdays, where applicable) from 8am until half-an-hour after the exam ends.

IT support

If you need technical help, our support staff are available by contacting:

  • Live chat (button in the bottom right hand corner of the page)
  • Email: it.helpdesk@essex.ac.uk
  • Phone: +44 (0)1206 873926

Support is available on any day on which exams are running (including Saturdays, where applicable) from 8am until half-an-hour after the exam ends.

Wellbeing support

If you need support with your wellbeing and your exams, please contact the Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity Service. There is lots of support available for your mental and emotional health.

In-person exams

An invigilator will be available in your exam venue to answer any queries and help if you are unwell during the exam.

Individual exam arrangements

If you have a disability, injury, diagnosed mental health condition, medical condition or SpLD that will adversely affect your performance in exams, you can apply for individual exam arrangements, such as extra time, rest breaks, or use of assistive technology or a scribe.

The deadline for applications is 31 October if you have exams in December or January. If you only have exams in the summer, the deadline is 31 January. These deadlines are the same each year, regardless of the day of the week on which the dates fall.

You can still apply after the deadline, but we will not be able to guarantee that your arrangements will be in place for the next exam period.

Individual exam arrangements for remote exams

Extra time (writing and non-writing time)

If your exam is under 24 hours in length, your extra writing time will be in place. Although non-writing time (rest breaks) are not included in the exam length shown on your exam timetable, it is programmed into the submission times on FASER or Moodle.

For exams of 24 hours or longer, all students have been given extra time so that you have flexibility to plan your time and work on your exam in a way that suits you and your circumstances.

Your school/department will provide guidance on how long you might expect to spend on writing your answers and/or the expected length (i.e. word count) of those answers, and you can add your extra writing time to those guide times. If you feel that this arrangement has a negative impact on your performance in the exam, please submit an extenuating circumstances claim form.

Extra equipment

The University won't be able to provide this equipment for remote exams. If you feel that this has a negative impact on your performance in the exam, please complete an extenuating circumstances form.

Rest breaks

Your submission deadline on FASER or Moodle will be adjusted automatically to take account of your rest break time for remote exams of less than 24 hours in length.

If your exam is 24 hours or longer, then you will already be able to take more frequent and longer breaks during the exam, so no additional time will be added.

Reader / scribe

For remote exams, you will be able to use the same assistive software and other strategies you would normally use when completing your coursework assignments. We anticipate therefore that you will not need a human exam scribe or reader in place and will be able to use a computer. If you have questions or concerns about this please contact your named adviser in SWIS by emailing include@essex.ac.uk as soon as you review your exam timetable.

Injury

If you have an injury please contact SWIS by emailing include@essex.ac.uk and provide further information and medical evidence so any adjustments required can be considered.

Purple book / cover sheet

A purple book is not provided, please complete a cover sheet in the same way you would for coursework assignments. To download a cover sheet:

  1. Log on to FASER with your username and password
  2. Click the 'Help and Support' tab on the left-hand panel Click on 'Student Support' on the drop-down menu
  3. Download your cover sheet
  4. Submit this by uploading it alongside your exam.

Individual exam arrangements for in-person exams

Extra writing time  

IIf you have extra writing time as part of your individual exam arrangements, this will be included as part of the duration shown on your personal exam timetable.

Extra equipment

If the Accessibility and Wellbeing team have determined that you need additional equipment, it will be waiting for you in the exam room.

Rest breaks   

Rest break time is not included in the duration shown on your personal exam timetable. Your invigilator will know how much rest break time you are entitled to take for each exam. If the Accessibility and Wellbeing team have determined that you need to stand and stretch during your breaks, the invigilator will know this, and you will be able to do this at the back of the room, with the invigilator's permission.

Reader / scribe  

If you have been allocated a human reader or scribe, you will be in a one-to-one exam room. The Accessibility and Wellbeing team will make clear how the reader or scribe will work with you.

Injury

If you have an injury, please contact the Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity Service on include@essex.ac.uk and provide further information and medical evidence, so that adjustments can be considered.

Purple book   

If you have been given a purple exam answer book, please ensure you tick the box relevant to you, so that your marker can consider this when marking your work.

 

Academic integrity – plagiarism and collusion

Answers must be your own work and must not be attempted with the help of other people. If there is a suspected case of academic misconduct this will be treated in the same way as all plagarism and collusion cases at the University and will be taken very seriously.

You must use your own words to answer questions, and should not cut and paste material.

If you refer to external sources such as books or journal articles, you must reference them in the way that you normally would in a typical exam situation, unless the front page of the exam paper tells you to do something different.

For more information see our academic integrity pages, where you will find explanations of the academic offence procedures and guidance on maintaining high academic standards. There are various penalties for academic offences, including formal written warnings, mandatory reassessment for capped or uncapped marks, a mark of zero for the assessment or module in which the offence occurred, or - in the most serious of cases - withdrawal from the University.

Academic integrity is taken very seriously at the University, whether exams are remote or in-person. The use of messaging apps and platforms to copy the work of others, work collaboratively for individual assessment, or to have discussions with others during your exam is prohibited and will be investigated as a suspected case of academic misconduct. It is your responsibility to ensure that you complete your exams with honesty and integrity.

If you are unsure about how you are expected to approach your remote exam, please contact your department for advice.

Sitting remote exams outside of the UK

The times shown on your timetable are in UK time. Please convert this to your local time, if you are undertaking your remote exam outside of the United Kingdom.

Students are generally expected to be in the UK during their studies, therefore timezone differences will not usually be considered a valid extenuating circumstance for missing a remote exam. You should complete the Notified Absence form on My Essex if you miss a remote exam. If the exam is of less than 24 hours' duration, and you have individual circumstances related to the timezone difference, you should also complete an extenuating circumstances claim. 

Exam absences and extenuating circumstances

Extenuating circumstances

If you think that your performance in an exam has been affected by circumstances beyond your control, you should submit an extenuating circumstances claim by the relevant deadline.

Guidance, deadlines and a link to the form can be found on the extenuating circumstances webpages.

Notified Absence

If you can’t take an exam at the scheduled date and time, please complete the Notified Absence from Exams form on My Essex. If your reason for missing an exam is outside of your control, you also need to submit an extenuating circumstances claim for the affected exam. If you are eligible to resit the exam, as most students are, the reassessment period is in August/September, but reassessment may be offered at other times.

Late submission of remote exams

Remote exams of under 24 hours' duration

If the duration of the exam is less than 24 hours and is delivered on FASER, an additional hour has already been included within the standard time for the exam to reflect the fact that it is being delivered online. This is to allow time for you to download the question paper and upload your answers. There will be technical support available in case you have any difficulties and you are encouraged to use the practice test available in advance. Should you still experience difficulties uploading your completed work, you should email your work within the allotted period to submitexam@essex.ac.uk.

Should the work be submitted late, your late submission will be treated as a missed assessment and will not be marked. You may wish to make an extenuating circumstances claim.

Remote exams of 24 hours and over

If the duration of the exam is 24 hours or more, you should upload your answer to FASER and submit a late submission claim using the extenuating circumstances form on My Essex. You should submit your work no later than 24 hours after the published deadline. You should explain the extenuating circumstances that caused you to submit your work after the deadline. Your school/department will decide whether to accept your claim. If your claim is accepted, your work will be marked.

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