The invigilator has a key role in ensuring the designated exam room is suitable and that they have all the resources they need.

Exam Room and Checklist

The Estates Team is responsible for setting out the exam desks (excluding 1:1 rooms).  The seating arrangements must prevent candidates from overlooking (intentionally or otherwise) the work of others. The minimum distance in all directions from centre to centre of candidates’ chairs must be 1.25 metres.

Any room in which an examination is held must provide candidates with appropriate conditions for taking the examination.

Invigilators must pay attention to conditions such as heating, lighting, ventilation and noise, whether internal or external, intermittent or continuous.

Display material (such as maps, diagrams, wall charts and projected images) which might be helpful to candidates must not be visible in the examination room.

A reliable clock (analogue and/or digital) must be visible to each candidate in the examination room. The clock must be big enough for all candidates to read clearly.  The clock must show the actual time

A board/flipchart/whiteboard/poster should be visible to all candidates showing the:

  • centre number, subject title and paper number; and
  • the actual starting and finishing times, and date, of each examination

Telford College’s centre number is 29355.

  • The Exams Office creates a seating plan that shows the exact position of each candidate in the examination room
  • Any changes made to seating arrangements during the examination must be noted by the invigilator on the seating plan
  • Candidates with access arrangements will be identified on the seating plan

Formal examination conditions must always be maintained for candidates taking external examinations.

As soon as preparation for the examination begins, no other activity can take place in that room. Candidates sitting examinations must not be allowed into the room until the preparation is complete and they are invited to enter the room, under supervised conditions, to start their examination.

The room remains a ‘designated examination room’ up to the point when all candidates have left and all materials such as candidates’ scripts, question papers and resource materials have been removed from the room.

The JCQ Warning to candidates poster  and the JCQ Unauthorised items poster) must be displayed in a prominent place outside each examination room

The lead invigilator should complete the checklist provided in the handbook.

Telford College’s Invigilator’s Handbook

Telford College’s Exam Room Checklist

Resources For Exams

The Lead/Sole Invigilator should check the front of the question paper for the exact requirements for authorised materials before starting the exam.

Candidates are given prior notice that they are responsible for bringing with them any materials needed for the exam. They will have been issued with a JCQ document entitled Information for candidates Written examinations

Any pencil case taken into the exam room must be see-through.

A candidate must not bring in:

  • Notes;
  • Ipods; mobile phones, MP3/4 player or similar devices; watches
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Following the invigilator’s announcement any mobile phones, watches or other unauthorised items in the candidates’ possession must be handed to the invigilator prior to the examination starting. 

Water is permitted but this must be in a clear plastic bottle with no label, this applies to reusable drinks bottles also. Food is normally not permitted with the exception that it is a requirement as part of a reasonable adjustment. If required, it must be free from packaging and in a transparent container.

In exams where resources are not shown on the question paper or on the stationery list (including those where calculators are not allowed), candidates must be warned that taking any unauthorised items into an examination (whether or not they intend to use it), may be considered as malpractice.

Calculators (ICE 10)

Candidates may use a calculator in an examination unless prohibited by the awarding body’s specification. The instructions on the question paper will say whether calculators are not allowed or if they are expected to be used in the examination. If the instructions do not include either of these statements, calculators are treated as standard equipment and may be used by candidates.

Where the use of a calculator is allowed, candidates are responsible for making sure that their calculators meet the awarding bodies’ regulations and be free of lids, cases and covers which have printed instructions or formulae.

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Click here for further calculator information

Where access is permitted to a calculator for part of an examination, it is acceptable for candidates to place their calculators on the floor under their desks in sight of the invigilator(s) for the non-calculator portion of the examination.

Candidates should arrive 10 to 15 minutes before the exam start time. They are not permitted into the exam room until the invigilator is ready.

Invigilators must establish the identity of all candidates sitting examinations.  Only authorised candidates are admitted into rooms; they must display their Student ID card.  Exams seating cards include a photograph of the student   If a candidate does not have their Student ID card, another document containing their name and photograph such as a passport may be used. If the candidate fails to produce any identification a visual check will be made against the photograph held on their student record.

Prior to the start of the exam, candidates must be advised where in the exam room personal belongings should be placed.

As soon as the candidates enter the exam room, they must be advised they are under exam conditions and must follow the Invigilator’s instructions.

Invigilator Ratio

The invigilator ratio to candidates must always meet or exceed the requirement for the size of cohort.

The ratio is 1:30 for written examinations and 1:20 practical or on-screen examinations.

Candidates may leave the room temporarily e.g., for a toilet break but they must remain supervised. The candidate can be accompanied by an invigilator if the correct ratio to candidates is maintained. If the ratio cannot be maintained, the invigilator must summon help.

Invigilators may be changed, as long as the number of invigilators present in the examination room does not fall below the required number.


Unless the question papers have been split by the Exams Office, they MUST be opened in the exam room.  Before the exam starts, the lead invigilator must check the front of the question paper including the date* and ensure this matches the information on the exams cover sheet.  *NB: some awarding bodies no longer print the exam date on the question paper a cover sheet with the exam date will be inserted into the front of the question paper bag all other details will remain unchanged.

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The exam question papers must be placed face-up on candidates’ desks. This includes modified papers and those on coloured paper.

Timetable Clashes (ICE 7)

If a candidate has an exam clash, an invigilator may be required to supervise them between sessions or until collected for overnight supervision. The Exams Office will provide further guidance and will brief you fully prior to the supervision.

The invigilator is responsible for making sure they have read the exam cover sheet and are aware of any clash candidates for whom they are responsible.