You asked, we answered. Here are your frequently asked questions about exams...

Are you allowed to refer to your own notes in online exams?

Controlled Condition Online Exams are not proctored/invigilated so you’re able to consult notes, books, websites etc. During the assessment. However, if you spend too much time sourcing materials, you will also lose valuable writing time. It’s a good idea to revise and prepare for these assessments as if you were in an official exam hall.  

You must also be careful to avoid collusion or other academic misconduct. Before any assessments, make sure you understand the Academic Integrity that’s expected of you at UCL. 

Who should I contact if I have exam clashes?

An exam is considered a clash if two are due to start at the same time. If you are registered to the correct modules at the time the timetable was created, there shouldn’t be any clashes on your central assessment timetable. If you have a clash, contact your department as soon as possible.  

You might have multiple exams starting at different times on the same day, or multiple take-home papers in the same time period - this is normal during assessment periods, and you will need to plan your time carefully. 

Will grade boundaries will change for third years due to the impact of Covid?

No, UCL is returning to normal regulations for 2021-22 in line with expectations from the UK Office for Students. If you are affected by COVID-19, you can apply for Extenuating Circumstances for personalised support. This allows you to access an extension, deferral, condoned late submission or other types of support for any specific assessments that might have been affected. 

Is it possible to do an exam again if I fail the first time?

In some cases, you may be eligible for ‘Condonement’ which means you can progress or graduate without retaking the failed assessment.  

In other cases, you may be required to resit the assessment in August/Sept during the Late Summer Assessment period. The mark for any assessments successfully completed on your second attempt will be capped at the Pass Mark.

If you fail more than 60 credits, you may be offered a chance to repeat the assessment or module.

When will we get SORA timetables?

You won’t receive a separate ‘SORA timetable’ but if you’ve applied successfully for adjustments and have received and approved your SORA, you can view the details (incl. any additional time allowances) via your Portico account.

If you have been granted extra time and/or rest breaks for an assessment as part of a SORA, this additional time is not shown on your Central Assessment Timetable, but it is included in the assessment duration shown on AssessmentUCL.

If you have two exams at the same time, can you get an extension on one of them?

You should plan to sit more than one assessment at a time. This is to be expected and papers have been designed with this in mind. It does not require an extension, but it does mean you will need to manage your time carefully. 

You are not expected to work for the full duration of a Take-Home Paper so you will have time to complete more than one at a time e.g., a Take-Home Paper at the same time as a Controlled Condition Exam, or two or more Take-Home Papers. You should be working on your assessments for a maximum of eight hours in any 24-hour period. 

You should not have more than one Controlled Condition Exams at any one time. If you have a clash, contact your department as soon as possible.

Can I sit my exams outside the UK if all my exams are online?

If your programme does not have any other face-to-face activities during Term 3, you can return home and sit your exams outside the UK. However, be aware that all assessments are scheduled in UK/British Summer Time so, depending on your location, leaving the UK may mean sitting exams at unsociable hours.  

 Tier 4/Student visa-holders should also consult visa guidance if you plan to return overseas before the end of the academic year. 

Will next year be online too? If we are going back to in-person, will UCL help us prepare for in-person exams if we’ve never done them before?

UCL is taking a ‘digital first’ approach to assessments next year. This means that it’s likely most of your exams will take place online, but some exams will take place in person, where it’s more academically appropriate. 

UCL has said that students will be supported to prepare for any return to in-person assessments, which some students will have limited or no experience of due to COVID-19 disruption.