Your exams: what you need to know

If you are taking exams, this guidance explains how to follow the regulations so you can concentrate on getting the results you want.

Be prepared for your exams 

At the start of each academic session, you should make sure you register for the modules you are taking so you are entered for the correct examinations. You will need to register, when prompted, for your term 2 modules in term 1. Your exam timetable will then be emailed to you in term 2 for the main examination period and will also be available online. If the exams listed on your timetable are incorrect, you should contact your department immediately. 

Alternative Examination Venue/Overseas

All students will be expected to attend UCL to take their assessment. You may apply to sit your examination at an alternative venue if you are enrolled on a distance learning programme or your visa has expired and your application for renewal has been rejected. If you are unable to attend UCL for an examination due to an extenuating circumstance you may be eligible to apply for a deferral to the next examination period for which you will need to attend. Please note that there may be types of assessment such as practicals, aurals or group work which will not be able to be accommodated away from UCL – please ensure you check with your teaching department even if you meet the application criteria.

If your application is approved there is a UCL fee of £100 per examination that you will need to pay, the host institution will also charge for a fee for which you will be responsible for paying.

UCL regards overseas British Council Offices as suitable alternative venues. Visit the British Council website to apply to take your exam in one of their offices overseas. Alternatively, UCL will consider requests for exams to be taken at established universities overseas.


Requests for examination adjustment arrangements for the main examination period must be agreed by a UCL disability adviser no later than three weeks before the start of the main examination period. For the Late Summer Assessment period, requests must be received no later than three weeks before the start of the Late Summer Assessment period.

Requests for examinations outside the main examination period or Late Summer Assessment period must be submitted at least six weeks in advance.

Find out more about Examination Adjustments 

Your candidate number, which you should use for most exams, will be emailed to you in term 1 and will also be available on Portico. You can print your candidate card to take to your exam; however, you must not write on it. You must take a form of photo identification with you to your exam, but you are not required to take your candidate card if you can remember your candidate number. 

Read more about how to prepare for success

Make sure the day goes smoothly 

Make sure you know where all of your exams will be held. This will be listed on your exam timetable (and/or in separate email correspondence from the Central Assessments team if you have special exam arrangements).

Exams at the ExCeL

The ExCeL is a large venue, please arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your exam to give you ample time to locate your seat. 

If you have been assessed by Student Support and Wellbeing as being entitled to examination adjustments, your exams will take place on the UCL Bloomsbury campus instead.

See what is available at the ExCeL. | Plan your journey ahead of your exam using the TfL journey planner. 

Arriving at the venue

Make sure you arrive at the exam hall about 30 minutes before the exam start time. Students are advised to check the status of transport networks before leaving for their exam venue and to allow plenty of additional time in case of delays; all exams will continue as usual in the event of travel disruption, including strikes or demonstrations.

If your name does not appear on the candidate lists, you should inform a member of the invigilating staff or member of the Central Assessments team as soon as possible. 

What to bring with you

Check what stationery and materials are permitted for your exam and put your stationery in a clear pencil case. If a calculator is permitted, check which models are allowed under the regulations. 

You are only permitted to take clear bottles of still non-carbonated water into your exam. Non-essential items and valuables should be left at home and invigilators will advise you on where to put bags, coats and revision notes on the day. 

Sit in your assigned seat and if you do bring valuables, mobile phones or exam timetables into the hall, these should be placed  under your desk. All electronic devices should be switched off, not just placed on silent.

Your photo ID, pencil case, calculator and reference materials (if you're allowed them), and candidate number card (if you need it) should be placed on your desk.

Sitting the exam

Make sure you have the correct exam paper but do not open it until you are told to do so; check the information on the cover.

You are not allowed to leave the exam hall within the first 45 minutes or in the last 15 minutes of the exam unless you feel unwell. If you feel unwell, need more stationery or need the toilet, raise your hand to attract the attention of an invigilator. 

Write in blue or black ink unless you are doing an MCQ exam or drawing a diagram, for which pencils may be used. You should do all rough work in your answer book and cross through it. 

At the end of the examination, you will be given one minute to put your material – answer books, question papers, MCQ cards and handouts – into the exam answer book envelope ready for collection. You should leave any reference materials on your desk and leave the hall as quietly as possible, taking all your personal possessions with you. 

In the event of an emergency, you should leave all materials behind and follow the instructions of the hall supervisor. 

If things go wrong on the day of your exam 

If you are less than 45 minutes late for your exam, you will be allowed to sit your exam for the remainder of its duration. Your exam will finish at the same time; you will not be given extra time.

If you arrive more than 45 minutes late, you will not be allowed into the examination venue or permitted to sit the examination elsewhere and you will have missed your exam. 

Please ensure you allow plenty of time to get to your exam and check the status of your transport route before you set off.

If you feel your performance in your exam has been affected by circumstances that are outside of your control, you may be eligible to submit a claim for extenuating circumstances, to be considered by your department. 

Find out more about extenuating circumstances.

If you leave personal property at the exam hall and it is found, it will be transferred to the UCL Lost Property Office in Foster Court.

If you realise after the exam that you have used an incorrect candidate number or your student number, this is usually not a problem, but you should inform your department straight away. 

What happens after your exams 

The results of your exams will be available on Portico once the Board of Examiners has met and results have been ratified by UCL. This is usually mid-July for undergraduate students and November or December for most postgraduate students. Your department might release results to you earlier than this, which will be strictly provisional.

All successful final year students will receive their hard copy Award certificate about 8 to 10 weeks after official confirmation of award by UCL. Digital Award certificates are also gradually being made available to students. Find out more about Award Certificates

If you fail or defer your assessments, you might be eligible to take resits or deferred assessment as part of the late summer assessment period.  All students will be expected to attend their exams at UCL, please be mindful of this before you plan your summer vacation or return home after the main assessment period. 

If you have failed or are deferring any of your Late Summer Assessment please ensure that you discuss the impact on your progression or award with your department.

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