No matter what type of examination you face, whether it is a written or oral exam in an exam hall or an end-of-module assessment, which is usually conducted at home, you need to plan ahead and know what to expect.
"Once I got to an exam a bit late and that really unsettled me so that I found it hard to concentrate on the questions."
Every year there are students who miss the examination unnecessarily, perhaps turning up on the wrong day, to the wrong place, or late because they were not able to park. Don’t be one of them – check these things well before the exam date.
- Check the date and time of your examination.
- Check a map so you know exactly where your examination centre is and where you can park if you are driving.
- Leave plenty of time to get there whether you are travelling by car or public transport.
- Check what you can take into the exam and make sure you take everything you need. These are the likely items.
- Your proof of identity with recent photograph and signature, such as your passport or driving licence.
- Your Examination Allocation letter.
- The items listed in Appendix 1 of the Examination Arrangements booklet. Each module has its own regulations about what is allowed – make sure that what you take conforms to the rules.
- Make sure you have a couple of good pens that are easy to write with. Check beforehand what equipment is necessary for your paper, for example a calculator, ruler, pencils or coloured pencils, and that any batteries are fully working.
- Food and drink in small amounts - avoid fizzy drinks and sweets with wrappers on.
Roger, an OU student, gives us some good advice on getting ready for the exam, including some tips on making sure you are physically fit, comfortable and not hungry!
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As you work through this section make sure you can tick off all the items on this checklist (you can download this examination checklist (RTF, 84KB))
- I know when and where my exam will be held.
- I know how I will get to the exam centre and the route I will take.
- I know how long the journey to the exam centre will take.
- I know what materials I am allowed to take into the exam room (e.g. texts, dictionaries, calculators).
- I have informed the OU of any special arrangements that need to be made for me.
- I understand the structure of the exam paper (including the number of questions to be answered).
- I understand the circumstances under which I can submit the examination and revision period special circumstances form (E39 form).
If you have a disability or temporary medical condition, or have difficulties in attending an examination centre, the OU can usually adjust arrangements to suit your individual needs. You will need to
- complete a request form at least two months before the examination
- provide evidence to support your request.
The OU can facilitate many different special arrangements for sitting examinations. Katherine, an OU student, tells us how she sat her exam using voice recognition software on her work computer.
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- question papers in alternative formats
- extra time in the exam
- rest breaks in the exam
- changing the venue, or very occasionally the date
- a home-based exam
- an amanuensis to take your dictation and write out your answers.
For more information on how we can help with examination arrangements if you have a disability, look at Tell us what you need for examinations. If your exam is due in less than two months, contact your National or Regional centre immediately.