Examination Guide for Candidates

All students must read this guide carefully before undertaking any UCL examinations.

Examination Guide for Candidates

On this page you can find:

1. Introduction

2. Preparing for your examinations

3. Dates, locations and start times

4. Items permitted in examinations

5. Calculators and dictionaries

6. Examination hall regulations

7. Examination offences

8. What should I do if…

9. General regulations

10. Useful contacts

1. Introduction 

1.1 General regulations

You must ensure you are aware of the regulations detailed in this guide which govern UCL examinations.

UCL students taking examinations at other colleges as part of the University of London’s Intercollegiate Scheme must abide by the regulations of the college they are attending. Similarly, students from other colleges taking examinations at UCL are subject to UCL’s regulations for examinations as detailed in this guide.

1.2 Responsibilities for academic assessment

UCL expects students to engage and comply with the assessment requirements of their programme. 

1.3 Attendance requirements and eligibility for assessment

UCL’s minimum attendance requirement is 70%. Departments may stipulate a higher percentage and additional requirements where appropriate. Students whose attendance falls below the attendance requirements are ineligible for summative assessment.

1.4 Unauthorised absence from assessment

If a student is absent from an examination or other form of assessment without permission, or, although present at an examination, either does not attempt the paper or attempts so little that it cannot be assessed, and provides no evidence of Extenuating Circumstances, then the normal procedure is that the student is awarded a mark of zero for the missed/non-attempted examination. In such cases students will not be deemed to have completed the module.

1.5 Practical and oral examinations

These forms of assessment will normally be held in departmental accommodation. You should contact the teaching department for information about the date, time and location of such examinations.

1.6 Reports, projects, coursework, etc.

All work completed in your own time must be submitted to the examiners as instructed by them. The work must be expressed in your own words and incorporate your own ideas and judgements.

2. Preparing for your examinations

2.1 Exam Adjustment arrangements

If you have a disability, dyslexia or health issue, you may be entitled to extra time, rest breaks and/or to sit in one of the special examination facilities. To apply for exam adjustments you must submit an application together with supporting medical evidence at least five weeks before your first examination.

Find out more about examination adjustment arrangements

Candidates sitting in main examination halls will not be given additional time for taking prescribed medication, toilet visits or any other purpose. If additional time is required, an application for exam adjustments must be made.

For further information about exam adjustments contact Student Disability Services or the Student Enquiries Centre

2.2 Module verification exercise

(September starting students only)

You should ensure you verify your module selections when asked in term one. If you do not undertake this task, you may be entered for the wrong examinations.

2.3 Your individual timetable

You will be notified by email when your individual timetable for the main examination period is available to view via Portico.Your timetable contains details of all the examinations for which you have been entered.  If any of the details are incorrect you must contact your parent department or UCL Examinations immediately.

If you cannot view your timetable contact the Portico Helpdesk for assistance. Contact the ISD Service Desk if you have forgotten your user id or password.

You will not be permitted to keep your timetable on your desk during your examinations.You are still advised to print a copy of your timetable on plain paper for ease of reference and ensure it remains unmarked for the duration of the examination period.  In the examination hall, your timetable must be placed under your desk in the plastic wallet provided.

2.4 Your candidate number

All UCL written examinations will be examined anonymously by candidate number instead of name. You will be allocated a unique candidate number each year which will consist of four letters plus a check digit (e.g. ABCD1).

During the first term, you will be issued with a candidate number which you must retain until the end of your current year of study.  You will be emailed a version of your candidate number that you can print and bring into the examination venue. You are also able to obtain a copy of this by logging into Portico under MyStudies. It is essential that you do not annotate the candidate card in any way for to do so would be an examination irregularity. If you can memorise your candidate number, you do not need to bring your candidate number to your examinations.

You must enter your candidate number in the space provided on all examination answer books with the exception of Multiple Choice Question [MCQ] papers when you must use your student number unless instructed otherwise on the day.

Your candidate number can also be viewed on Portico and will be displayed on your individual timetable.

3. Dates, locations and start times

3.1 Examination dates

The majority of UCL examinations will take place during the third term and will be organised by UCL Examinations. However, some departments or intercollegiate colleges may also schedule additional examinations at other times of the year.  You will be notified about the arrangements for any examinations held outside the main examination period by the department or intercollegiate college concerned.

You must ensure you are available to sit all examinations scheduled between examination dates. Dates for each session are available on the exams webpage on the main UCL website.

If you fail or defer examinations, you may be required to take them in the Late Summer Assessment period.

3.2 Examination Venues

Main UCL examination hall

Main UCL examinations are held in the ExCel Centre. Please see the UCL Examinations website for information on which halls are being used each week of the exam period

Examinations Colour Zones

To help you find your seat, each hall has been split into colour zones. Please ensure you check which colour zone your desk is located in before you arrive at the ExCel.

Please see the Venue Guide for detailed plans of the ExCel

3.3 Intercollegiate examination venues

Intercollegiate examinations are usually held at the college where the module is taught with the following exceptions:

UCL candidates taking Royal Holloway modules during the main examination period will sit these examinations at UCL and vice versa
Candidates with exam adjustments will usually sit intercollegiate examinations at their home college

3.4 Examination start times

UCL morning and afternoon examinations start at 10am and 2.30pm respectively unless otherwise indicated on your timetable; please take care to note the exceptions.

You should arrive at the hall thirty minutes before the start of your examination. If you arrive early, please make use of the waiting areas provided.Toilet facilities are also nearby.

You must be in your assigned seat by 9.50am or 2.20pm to hear the announcements made by the hall supervisor. An instruction sheet will be placed on your desk for you to read before the start of the examination.

It is your responsibility to ensure you know the date, location and start time of all your examinations and arrive at the correct venue on time.

3.5 Late Summer Assessment

Late Summer Assessments are held in a number of different locations, some of which are away from the main Bloomsbury Campus. Please note that examinations with large numbers of candidates may take place in more than one location so ensure you go to the venue indicated on your individual timetable and not that of other students.

More detailed information about the venues in use this year, including location codes and maps, will be made available to view online when the timetable is published.

3.6 Exam Adjustment venues

Only students with approved exam adjustments are eligible to sit examinations in one of the UCL exam adjustment venues:

  • Cluster room facility
  • Exam adjustments facility
  • Exam adjustments in parent department

4. Items permitted in examinations

4.1 General information

You are strongly advised to leave all non-essential items at home as UCL cannot accept responsibility for the loss of your property or guarantee its safety.

If you bring a bag, coat, revision notes or other similar items with you on the day, the invigilation staff will tell you where to put them before the start of the examination. All timetables and valuables, including wallets, mobile phones and travel cards, must be placed under your desk in the plastic wallet provided.

It is an examination offence to have unauthorised items on or under your desk or about your person and you will be deemed to have used any items found. All unauthorised items will be confiscated for the duration of the examination.

4.2 Approved means of identification 

To gain admission to the hall, you will need to present your UCL ID card or one of the following approved means of identification:

  • Home college ID card (intercollegiate students)
  • Passport
  • Driving licence with photograph

If you fail to produce an approved means of identification on the day, you will be required to sign a declaration of identity form and a label will be attached to your examination answer book to notify the examiner.

4.3 Reference materials

For some examinations reference materials will be provided for you by the examiner. There may also be occasions when you are instructed, in advance of the examination, to bring specific documents with you to the hall.  Such documents must be unmarked unless the examiner has indicated otherwise.

4.4 Checklists

Check the lists below to make sure you know what items are allowed in any written, practical, oral or similar examination:

What’s allowed:

  • ID card or other approved means of identification
  • Candidate number card printout
  • Question papers and examination stationery
  • Materials approved by the examiner
  • Calculators (approved models only). You will be informed by course organisers, in advance of an examination, if (i) calculators will not be permitted or (ii) non-standard calculators will be permitted.
  • Mathematical instruments
  • Clear pencil cases containing pens, pencils (for MCQ examinations and diagrams only.), highlighter pens, correction fluid/tape, erasers, sharpeners and small bottles of ink
  • Bottles of still (non-carbonated) water only (you will be responsible for any spillages)

What’s not allowed:

  • Revision or course notes
  • Books, statutes or dictionaries, except where approved by the examiner
  • Paper for rough work
  • Laptops, audio players, or devices with internet or data storage capabilities
  • Opaque pencil cases or staplers
  • Food or other hot/cold drinks, except on medical grounds (prior approval required)
  • E-cigarettes
  • Ear plugs5
  • Wearing of headgear, except on religious or medical grounds (prior approval required for the latter)

5. Calculators and dictionaries

5.1 General information

The unspecified use of electronic calculators and dictionaries is banned and will be treated as an examination offence.  Random checks will be made during examinations to ensure that these regulations are being complied with.

5.2 Electronic calculators

Boards of Examiners are authorised to determine at which examinations you are permitted to take in and use your own electronic calculator.  However, UCL has approved a standard calculator for use in examinations and you will be committing an examination offence if you are found using the wrong model.

The current models of UCL-approved calculator are:

  • Casio FX-85GT X
  • Casio FX-83GT X

If you already own one of the following older, discontinued models of the same calculator, you are still permitted to use it:

  • Casio FX83GT+
  • Casio FX83MS (battery operated)
  • Casio FX83ES (battery operated)
  • Casio FX83WA (battery operated)
  • Casio FX85GT+
  • Casio FX85MS (solar powered)
  • Casio FX85ES (solar powered)
  • Casio FX85WA (solar powered)

Exceptionally, a department may approve the use of non-standard calculators for one or more of its examinations. In such circumstances, the department will inform all students taking the examinations concerned what type of calculators will be permitted in the examination hall. If you are in any doubt, please consult your tutor.  You may still need a UCL-approved calculator if you are taking examinations for modules taught by other departments.

You will be required to indicate the make and model of calculator you have used on the front of your examination answer book.

You are responsible for ensuring that your calculator is in good working order for your examinations and for providing yourself with an alternative means of calculating should your calculator fail during an examination. Spare calculators will not be available at the hall on the day.

Where credit will be given for using the correct method when a final answer is wrong, it is essential you provide the examiner with sufficient information about your process of derivation. You should include numerical values at interim steps in your written answer, even where your calculator has sufficient memory to make the recording of such interim values strictly unnecessary.

The use of material stored in the pre-programmable memory of a calculator would normally constitute an examination offence.

5.3 Dictionaries

The use of paper or electronic dictionaries is not permitted for the purpose of helping you overcome any deficiency in your command of the English language. Dictionaries will only be permitted for other purposes where the examiner has notified Assessment and Student Records in writing before the examination.

6. Examination hall regulations

6.1 Dos & Don'ts

You must observe all of the following regulations and any other instructions given to you on the day by invigilation staff, examiners or other staff responsible for the conduct of examinations.

Do sit in your assigned seat

Your seat number for each examination to be taken in a main UCL hall will be listed on your individual timetable. Each desk will be numbered to help you locate the correct seat. Candidates sitting in the special facility venues will be informed of their seat number at the hall on the day.

Your seat number will be used to verify your attendance and to ensure that marks are awarded to the correct candidate.

Don't speak to other candidates once you have entered the hall

Examination conditions apply as soon as you enter the hall. If you have any queries, raise your hand and speak to a member of invigilation staff only.

Do put your ID card and unmarked candidate number card print out (if you have it) on your desk

Remove your ID and candidate number card (if you have it) from their holders so that they can be viewed easily by invigilation staff. Ensure neither card has any additional notes or markings to avoid being suspected of an examination irregularity.

Don't keep unauthorised items about your person or put them on or under your desk

If you are found with unauthorised materials on or under your desk, or about your person, you will be deemed to have used them. It will not be a defence to say they were not used. Random checks will be made by staff during the course of each examination.

If you find that you have inadvertently brought unauthorised items into an examination you must raise your hand and inform a member of invigilation staff immediately.

Do switch off your mobile phone before you put it, your timetable and any other valuables under your desk in the plastic wallet provided

All mobile phones and other communication devices must be switched off before you enter the examination hall. If you are found with a communication device on your desk or about your person it will be treated as an examination offence. It is also an offence to send or receive calls or messages during an examination, or allow ringtones or preset alarms to cause a disturbance.

Don't read the question paper until told to do so but check you have the correct paper

It is an examination offence to begin reading the question paper before the start of the examination. However, you should check the examination code and title on the front cover of your question paper are correct. Alert a member of invigilation staff immediately if you have been given the wrong paper.

Do fill in the front cover of your answer book and Examination Envelope and listen to the supervisor’s announcements

You may enter the following information on the front cover of your answer book prior to the start of the examination:

  • Your candidate number
  • Your student number (MCQ cards only)
  • Your seat number
  • The examination title and code
  • The date and venue
  • If applicable, details of your calculator

Listen carefully to the announcements to ensure you are aware of all instructions relevant to your examination and the operation of the examination hall.

Don't write anything else on your answer book or question paper before the start of the examination unless told to do so by the supervisor (for computer users, this includes typing)

It is an examination offence to write or type any notes, formulae, etc. on any of the materials present on your desk before the start of the examination.

Do write clearly in English (or the language specified for the examination) using blue or black ink only

All written examinations must be completed using blue or black ink, with the exception of MCQ examinations where pencil must be used.  Pencils may also be used, if preferred, for the drawing of diagrams, charts, graphs or other illustrations.  Examiners may refuse to mark any answer books which are illegible.

Don't leave your seat without permission once the examination has started

Except in cases of illness or emergency, it may constitute an examination offence to leave your seat unless accompanied by a member of invigilation staff.

Do raise your hand if you have a query, feel unwell, need more stationery or the toilet, or want to leave the hall permanently after the first 45 minutes or before the last 15 minutes of the examination

If you think there is an error in the question paper, please raise this with an invigilator.

You should only request a supplementary answer book when your main answer book is full.

You may not leave the hall during the first 45 minutes or the last 15 minutes of the examination. Toilet visits are not normally permitted during these times. All candidates will be accompanied on toilet visits and each visit will be recorded on the attendance sheet.

If you wish to leave the hall permanently after the first 45 minutes but before the designated finish time for your examination, you must raise your hand and remain in your seat until your answer books have been collected. Once the final 15 minute warning has been announced, you must remain in your seat until the answer books for all candidates have been collected and you are told you may leave.

Don't use scrap paper for rough work; just cross through any work you do not want marked

All rough work should be done in your answer book and crossed through. You should also cross through any questions answered over and above the number required or any other work you do not wish to be marked.

Do heed the 15 minute and 5 minute (main venue only) warning and use the one minute allowance at the end of the examination to prepare your answer books for collection

When the time permitted for the examination has passed, you will be given one extra minute to prepare your answer books for collection.

You must enter the following information on the front cover of your main answer book and Examination Envelope in the boxes provided:

  • The number of answer books used
  • The question numbers answered in the order you attempted them

You must enter the following information on all used answer books:

  • Candidate number
  • Seat number

You must ensure all answer books, rough work, question papers, MCQ cards and handouts must be placed inside the Examinations Envelope. Do not place reference books inside the envelope.

Don't write your name on any answer books

To ensure your anonymity is maintained you must not write your name on any of your answer books or materials you submit for marking under any circumstances.  The hall supervisor will be able to assist you if you forget your candidate number on the day.

Do stop writing as soon as time is called, remaining silent in your seat until all answer books have been collected  

When the end of the one minute allowance is announced you must stop writing immediately.  It is an examination offence to continue writing after the one minute allowance has passed.

You must ensure your Examination Envelope is ready for collection when time is called.

You must not speak to other candidates while the envelopes are being collected.

Don't take out of the hall any used or unused answer books or restricted question papers

It is an examination offence to remove from the examination hall any used or unused answer books or other items of examination stationery. If you remove your completed answer books from the examination hall this will constitute an examination offence and your work will not be marked.

Do leave the hall quickly and quietly when told to do so by the supervisor

Remember to collect your valuables from the plastic wallet under your desk and place the empty wallet on your desk before leaving the hall. Also remember to retrieve your bag, coat and any other items left in the designated storage area.

There may be longer duration examinations taking place in the same hall or in neighbouring rooms so please exit the hall quickly and quietly and do not loiter outside the room or in other areas of the building.

6.2 Emergency evacuation procedure

In the event of an emergency, the hall supervisor will tell you to leave all materials on your desk and direct you to the nearest exit. Examination conditions will still apply so you must not speak to any other candidates on any topic.

7. Examination offences

7.1 Examination irregularities

UCL takes matters of examination misconduct very seriously. The following are examples of actions that constitute examination offences:

  • Cheating, attempting to cheat or assisting someone else to cheat
  • Having unauthorised items on or under your desk or about your person
  • Writing before the start of the examination or after the one minute allowance has passed
  • Writing notes on hands, arms or other parts of the body
  • Leaving the hall unaccompanied or without permission
  • Tampering with answer books, question papers or other examination stationery
  • Committing plagiarism or self-plagiarism
  • Causing a disturbance or disrupting the examination process
  • Annotating the Candidate Card Printout

Anyone suspected of an examination offence will be reported to the UCL authorities and may be called to appear before an Examination Irregularities Panel. Penalties for examination offences include, but are not limited to, formal reprimand, disqualification from one or all examinations for the session, and exclusion from UCL on a temporary or permanent basis.

7.2 Plagiarism

Plagiarism is defined as the presentation of another person's thoughts, words, artefacts or software as though they were your own.

Any quotation from the published or unpublished works of other persons must, therefore, be clearly identified as such by being placed inside quotation marks, and you should identify your sources as accurately and fully as possible.

A series of short quotations from several different sources, if not clearly identified as such, constitutes plagiarism just as much as does a single unacknowledged long quotation from a single source. Equally, if you summarise another person's ideas, judgements, figures, diagrams or software, a reference to that person in the text must be made and the work referred to must be included in the bibliography.

Recourse to the services of ‘ghost-writing’ agencies (for example in the preparation of essays or reports) or of outside word-processing agencies which offer ‘correction or improvement of English’ is strictly forbidden, and if you make use of the services of such agencies you render yourself liable for an academic penalty.

Use of unacknowledged information downloaded from the internet also constitutes plagiarism.

Where part of an examination consists of ‘take away’ papers, essays or other work written in your own time, or a coursework assessment, the work submitted must be your own.

For some assessments it is also illicit to reproduce material which you have used in other work/assessment for your programme. You should make yourself aware of your department's rules on ‘self-plagiarism’.  If in doubt, you should consult your personal tutor.

UCL uses Turnitin®, a sophisticated detection system, to scan work for evidence of plagiarism. This system has access to billions of sources worldwide (websites, journals, etc.) as well as work previously submitted to UCL and other universities.

Failure to observe any of the provisions of this policy or of approved departmental guidelines constitutes an examination offence. Visit the UCL plagiarism pages for further details.

8. What should I do if..

8.1 I lose my UCL ID card?

You must report the loss of your card immediately to Security Systems and they will issue a replacement. Your passport or driving licence with photograph can be used as an alternative means of identification for your examinations if necessary. If you cannot provide an approved means of ID on the day you must sign an ID declaration form and the examiner will be notified.

8.2 I lose my candidate number card?

A replacement can be obtained by logging into Portico under MyStudies. Your candidate number will also be displayed on Portico and your timetable but you may not keep your timetable on your desk during examinations. A member of invigilation staff will be able to confirm your candidate number on the day. 

8.3 I arrive late for an examination?

If you are less than 45 minutes late you will be allowed into the hall to sit the examination but you will forfeit any time already elapsed. You should report to an invigilator so that the time of your arrival can be recorded and any instructions provided.

If you are more than 45 minutes late you will not be allowed into the examination hall.

8.4 I’m unable to sit an examination?

A student who, through illness or other Extenuating Circumstances [EC], is prevented from attending an examination must submit an EC Claim Form. Further information about EC provisions is available in Chapter 4 of the Academic Manual.

If a student is absent from an examination without permission, or makes an attempt that cannot be academically assessed, it will count as an attempt, the student will be awarded a mark of zero, but will not be deemed to have completed the assessment.

8.5 My examination performance is adversely affected?

If Extenuating Circumstances [EC] affect your performance at assessment, you must submit an EC Claim Form, together with appropriate supporting evidence, as soon as possible and no later than one week after the circumstance has taken place to your home department/faculty. Your student handbook/Moodle specifies where EC claims are to be submitted for your department/faculty.

Circumstances for which allowance has already been made (e.g. extra time allowed for special assessment arrangements, or extension of a coursework deadline) should not be notified in this way. However, an acute episode or sudden worsening of a long-term or chronic condition will be considered under the EC provisions.

9. General regulations

Students should read these general regulations in conjunction with any faculty or programme specific derogations or variations as detailed in Chapter 8 of the Academic Manual or their departmental handbooks.

9.1 Unauthorised absence

If a student is absent from an examination or other form of assessment without permission, or although present at an examination, either does not attempt the paper or attempts so little that it cannot be assessed, and provides no evidence of extenuating circumstances, then the normal procedure is that the student is awarded a mark of zero for the missed/non-attempted examination. In such cases students will not be deemed to have completed the module.

9.2 Re-assessment

Students who fail or do not complete summative assessment at a first attempt are expected to re-enter the examination at the next normal occasion, unless they have graduated, been interrupted or have been suspended or withdrawn. Students who are on a Study Abroad year at the time of the next normal occasion will be re-examined during the late assessment period in the summer following their period of study abroad. If a continuing student opts to retain a failed mark rather than re-enter for an examination or other assessment, this will be treated as a fail. If a continuing student opts not to re-enter but retains an absent, withdrawn or incomplete status for an assessment, graduation with a classified award will not be possible.

9.3 Number of permitted attempts

A student who, at their first entry, does not successfully complete summative assessment may re-enter for assessment on one, and only one, more occasion unless they have been awarded a degree, are eligible for the award of a degree or have been excluded from UCL on the grounds of academic insufficiency, or as a result of misconduct.

9.4 Re-sit marks

The higher of the marks achieved at the first attempt or the re-sit attempt, whether of the original course unit or of substitute course unit(s), will apply. Marks of re-taken or substitute course units will be included in the calculation for the average mark for the year in which the course unit(s) were originally taken rather than in the year that they were re-taken.

9.5 Interruption of Study

Interruption of Study is for students who require a temporary break from their studies and plan to resume their studies at a future date.  Students who want to interrupt because of a disability, an illness of other Extenuating Circumstance should also consider the options available to them in Chapter 4, Section 5: Reasonable Adjustments and Chapter 4 Section 6: Extenuating Circumstances. Applications for first interruptions of up to one calendar year require departmental/divisional and Faculty approval. Students enrolled on a flexible mode of study are not permitted to interrupt.  Applications for interruption should be made in advance of the proposed interruption. Further information is available in Chapter 1 Section 4.6 of the Academic Manual.

10. Useful contacts

Assessment and Student Records

This section is responsible for the co-ordination of UCL's central student record keeping function, from enrolment through to award, and consists of three teams; Undergraduate, Postgraduate Taught and Postgraduate Research.


This section is responsible for the organisation and delivery of UCL's Centrally managed examinations.

Disability, Mental Health & Wellbeing

Student Support and Wellbeing provide support for students that have long-term conditions that meet the criteria of a disability as set in the Equality Act 2010. This support can inculde reasonable adjustments for academic courses. Reasonable adjustemnst can be made across various areas of their academic journey including examinations and the team can discuss and implement potential exam adjustments with students.

Student Enquiries Centre

The team at Student Enquiry Centre can advise you how to complete many UCL processes and how to access the core services that UCL provides.

You can get in touch with any of the above through askUCL student enquiry system

Security Systems

ISD Service Desk

Portico Helpdesk