Exams at UCL 2020-21

Main Exam Period is Monday 26 April to Friday 28 May; all exams will be online and open book.

Important: This guidance is for centrally-managed exams only (all those listed on your Exam Timetable). You may also have other assessments that are being run by your department; they will advise you about these.

In 2020-21, all centrally managed exams will be online. Exams will be open book, which means you can refer to the text or material you have been studying.

UCL has also issued a package of COVID-mitigation measures for 2020-21 exams and assessments to make sure you are not disadvantaged by the coronavirus pandemic.

Main examination period: 26 April - 28 May 2021

The examination period for centrally managed exams is 26 April – 28 May. This will be for all examinations showing on your exam timetable.

You may also have other assessments that are being run by your department; they will advise you about these.

Publication of examination timetable: 1 March 2021

On 1 March, you will receive an email to your UCL email account notifying you that your exam timetable is available. The email will include a link to login and view your timetable.   See How to view examination your timetable for full instructions. 

Your online examination paper will be available from the date and time shown on your timetable. 

All times shown on your timetable are in UK time (This will be BST (UTC+1). The times shown in the AssessmentUCL platform will be your local time, wherever you are based.

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Exam types

Your timetable will also indicate what kind of exam you are sitting. There are two types of exams:

1. 24-hour exams

The 24 hour period starts from the date and time indicated on the examination in which you will have 24 hours to access your exam complete and upload your submission.  You are only permitted to upload one version once only , please ensure that you double check the document that you are submitting is your examination submission.

The task set in the examination paper should reflect the same time effort required for an ordinary exam.  The 24-hour window should be ample time for you to complete your assessment and submit without any time pressure. 

2. Timed exams in a 24 hour window

Where an exam has a timed duration (e.g. 2 or 3 hours), this will be shown on your exam timetable. You will be able to start your examination at any time in the 24 hours after the date and time shown on your exam timetable.  The clock will start when you select START exam on a new digital platform called AssessmentUCL.

In addition to the duration of your exam you will have an additional 1 hour upload time for your submission.  You are only permitted to upload one version once only , please ensure that you double check the document that you are submitting is your examination submission.

Your programme may also assign course-work style assessments during the Exam Period, so early planning is essential to manage your work load.

Find out how to best prepare for your exams and assessments throughout the year with our assessment planning guide.  

You will get access to the online assessment platform in March, so that you can explore it and be confident about how to use it.

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AssessmentUCL platform

Last year, all centrally managed online exams took place in Moodle. This year, these exams will be delivered using a very similar process, on a new digital platform called AssessmentUCL.

In early March, you will receive communications on how to access the platform. You will also get access to a practice environment within AssessmentUCL so you can familiarise yourself with the platform in advance of your exams.

Summary of how AssessmentUCL exams will work

Your examination timetable and AssessmentUCL will indicate whether your exam is a 24 hour open book exam or a timed exam in a 24 hour period.

  • If you have been granted additional time and/or rest breaks, the duration will be set as a 24- hour exam.
  • The exam link will be visible before the examination period but the exam paper will NOT be accessible before the start time indicated in the timetable.
  • You will be required to download the PDF exam paper and work on your own computer’s word processing software (e.g. MS Word). Once you have completed your exam, you will need to convert your document into a PDF and then upload onto AssessmentUCL.
  • A link to an ‘Exam Paper Query Form’ will be made available for you to complete if you have a query on the exam or need to report a technical failure. This information will then be passed to your teaching departments/faculty to be taken into account when grading your paper.
  • AssessmentUCL is integrated with UCL’s Turnitin licence and similarity scores and reports will be available to examiners. You will be required to acknowledge a Declaration of Honesty on the online cover sheet to state that you are in compliance with UCL’s regulations on Academic Integrity and Plagiarism
  • You will be required to complete an online cover sheet which will ask you to state your word count and/or number of pages.

Your submission will automatically indicate your candidate number so you don’t need to cite this on your submission. 

AssessmentUCL pilot

As AssessmentUCL is a new platform this year, we are also working with a small number of departments to run a pilot in Term 3. In this pilot, we will explore some of the additional features of AssessmentUCL that are not being used as part of the centrally managed exams described above.

For any students with assessments being run in the pilot, you will have the opportunity to use more of the functionality available in the system. Rather than download and re-upload PDFs, for example, you will be able to view and respond to the assessment questions directly in the platform. If any of your assessments are included in this trial, you will be contacted directly and provided with additional support and guidance throughout the pilot.

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Practice exam 

When you log in to AssessmentUCL, you will see an exam link called Practice Exam: Centrally Managed Exams. This will be your chance to familiarise yourself with the platform and all the steps that will be required of you on your exam day. 

It is essential that you engage in this practice environment to ensure you are fully prepared for your exams. We advise you to complete the practice exam with any devices you may use for your exam, to avoid any complications on the day.

Step-by-step instructions to complete your practice exam

  • Go to AssessmentUCL and select the login ‘eduGAIN’ button to be taken to the UCL sign in page.
  • Log in using your UCL username and password.
  • On the Your Overview page you should see the exam instance  ‘Practice Exam: Centrally Managed Exams’. Click on this exam not the link called 'Demo Flow'.
  • You will see your practice exam in the assignment section of the page. Use the downward facing arrow to download this paper.
  • To the right of the assignment section you will see General material and Additional material sections. There, you will be able to download the ‘model answers’ to the practice exam and the ‘guide of how to submit the practice exam’.
  • Please read the guidance before completing and submitting your practice exam.
  • You will be able to upload your paper, complete the cover sheet and submit your practice exam using the options on the bottom half of the page.

For more detailed instructions with screenshots, see the How to do your exam on AssessmentUCL guide

Reminder: this guidance is for centrally-managed exams only (all those listed on your Exam Timetable). Your department will give you guidance for all other assessments.

Please note that your submission will be monitored by the Examinations Office but will not be shared with or submitted to your department.

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Examination Paper Queries

If you need to raise a query with your examination paper you will be asked to complete an Exam Paper Query Form and complete the relevant section to raise your query.  You will then be required to note your query and, if relevant, state any assumptions that you have made to enable you to complete the question/s. 

You will NOT receive a response to the exam query. However, your query will be forwarded to your teaching department so that this can be taken into consideration when marking or to be shared with Examination Boards.

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Technical issues in your exam

The existing 24 hour duration/upload window should be able to address most circumstances.  However, there may be instances where you experience a technical issue so severe that you are unable to upload your examination submission on time. 

You will need to complete the relevant section on the Exam Query Form where you can log your issue; you will be asked to take a screenshot/photo so that we can understand the issue.  It is important that this is completed at the time the technical issue occurred or as soon as possible thereafter. 

The examinations office will then forward this information to the relevant panel, information such as the time that you downloaded the paper will also be included by the exams office to the panel.

This does not include technical failures on the part of UCL; it us our responsibility to address these through the Material Irregularities Procedure.

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Examination Adjustments

If you have a disability or any other health condition that may affect your exams, you should apply as soon as possible for exam adjustments to support your assessment. 

If you have been assessed and have a SORA granting you additional time and/or a rest break, you will have 24 hours to complete your examination whether you are taking a timed exam or a 24 hour exam. The 24 hour period will start at the date and time that is shown on your examination timetable.

If you have any concerns about your examination adjustments please contact the Student Support and Wellbeing Team.

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Extenuating Circumstances

UCL has announced a package of adjustments for 2020-21, including an enhanced Extenuating Circumstances Procedure, to make sure you are not disadvantaged by the coronavirus pandemic.

If your exams are disrupted by serious events like illness, bereavement or self-isolation, read how the Extenuating Cirumstances Procedure can help you. 

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See Exams and assessments 2020-21 FAQs.

If you have any other queries please contact the examinations team via askUCL.

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