OK, “exciting” might be pushing it, but here are ten things which will be different in the exam hall for 2013 – 2014*.
1. Question papers do not have to be opened in presence of candidates. Advice is now to place them face-up on desks before candidates enter the room, rather than this only being allowed where there were very large numbers or special circumstances. See section 11.1 for full guidance.
2. It isn’t just a relative of an exam candidate who mustn’t be the sole invigilator; a friend or peer of the candidate mustn’t be the sole invigilator either.
3. Had trouble squeezing the date and awarding body onto your exam notice board as well as all the other details? No more! Only the Centre number, Subject title, Paper number and Start and finish times are now required.
4. Invigilators keeping a mobile phone in the exam room in order to summon help previously had to keep these switched off. Now, phones used for emergency purposes can be left on, provided, of course, they are in silent mode.
5. The head of centre has always been able to authorise members of centre staff to be in the exam room for a few specific purposes. Now, an authorised staff member may also start the exam – provided they don’t give improper advice on answering questions. See 10.3 and Appendix 8
6. Question papers must not be removed from the examination room until all candidates have completed the examination – this might make a difference where there are just one or two late finishers in a large exam.
7. Providing they’re fully charged up, laptops no longer have to be plugged in, so candidates using them can now be placed anywhere in the exam room.
8. Where exams last less than one hour, candidates must be supervised and question papers kept in secure storage until the published finishing time of the examination. The alternative “or 30 minutes after the awarding body’s published starting time” has been deleted.
9. Five minute time warnings are now actively “not encouraged”, rather than ICE being neutral on the matter.
10. Many exam officers already have an exam room incident log book, but the ICE booklet now actively advises having one.
*For exams governed by Joint Council for Qualifications regulations, as specified in the Instructions for Conducting Examinations booklet. Check the exact regulations for yourself by downloading the latest version of the ICE booklet here