What Do Exam Invigilators Do? | 10 Things They Look Out For in Exams

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Exam invigilators really get a bad reputation. After all, they are associated with exams and many students do not like having to sit exams! However, we really need to learn to cut them some slack. They are only doing their job after all! However, the role of invigilators can often seem quite vague, leaving students wondering what they are actually recruited for.

Exam invigilators are responsible for making sure that official examinations are conducted correctly. They make sure that no candidate is cheating during the exam and that everyone is sitting the correct paper. Exam invigilators have many responsibilities.

If you want to discover what their role actually is and how they contribute to your examining periods, check out the rest of this article!

What do exam invigilators do?

It may seem like exam invigilators have it easy! All they have to do is stand in an exam room for a couple of hours and twiddle their thumbs, right? Wrong! Exam invigilators actually have many different roles and have a great responsibility to uphold.

They have to make sure that the examination they are supervising is conducted in the proper way, with no students cheating. They have to make sure that every student is in the correct seat and given the correct exam paper. They also must be aware of students who are given extra time.

Exam invigilators have to be ready for anything during the exam and be prepared to support any students who may need it. You can find out what their roles are in more detail if you check out this article from Smile Education.

The main role of an exam invigilator is to watch the students that are taking the exams. Consequently, they are not allowed to do anything else during the exam, such as reading or marking books. Instead, they have to watch students like hawks. They look out for specific things and their main roles are included in the list below:

1. Invigilators look out for any exam malpractice

The main worry during examinations is that students will find a way to cheat. They could do this in a number of ways, such as sneaking notes into the exam hall, wearing hidden earpieces or even writing on their hands! Some students will go to extreme lengths in order to get a head start in exams.

However, it is part of an invigilator’s job responsibility to make sure that this doesn’t occur. They must be vigilant and make sure that no students are attempting to cheat during the exam. This includes preventing students from talking to each other.

If an invigilator does witness an act of malpractice during the exam, they have to notify the appropriate awarding body of the exam. You can discover how and why this occurs if you check out this page from the JCQ website.

Reporting malpractice is essential, as if this wasn’t done, some students may be given higher grades than they deserve. This could lower other student’s grades who did work hard for the exam!

Invigilators are therefore given a lot of trust, as they are also given exam papers early in order to distribute them. However, in some unfortunate cases, exam papers can actually be leaked! Check out this article from Think Student to find out what happens if this occurs.

2. Invigilators look out for any students who don’t adhere to exam protocol

You are probably used to the speech invigilators have to give before you start your exam. Students are often bored by the end of the exam period, as they have heard it so many times! However, it is essential that the invigilators read what they are given by the exam board, to make sure that students know all the rules for exam protocol.

This means that if students do break the rules, they can’t say that they didn’t realise that they were doing anything wrong! For example, students are told that they mustn’t talk to any other candidates during the exams or make eye contact with them.

If they wish to ask the invigilators a question, they must put up their hand and not shout across the hall. Students are also required to give in certain items, such as bracelets, watches and any smart devices.

Invigilators must look out for those students who are not adhering to exam protocol. However, banning watches from exams is relatively recent and many students were not happy with this development. You can read more about banning watches on this page from JCQ.

3. Invigilators are in charge of giving out extra paper

Some subjects require students to write an immense amount of pages! This is the case for English examinations and other essay subjects.

As a result, invigilators need to be ready to assist those students who have ran out of room in their exam booklets and require more paper. Students should put up their hands and wait for an invigilator to come over to them.

It is important that invigilators look out for those students who need extra paper, so that this can be given as soon as possible and students don’t lose valuable exam time.

4. Invigilators look out for students with their hands up

Exam invigilators need to be attentive to students and make sure that each student is comfortable. As a result, they must look out for and go to students who have their hands up.

This is not only to answer any questions but also in case the student needs to go to the bathroom. After all, students are allowed to go to the toilet during exams! However, the students have to actually be escorted by invigilators to make sure that during the time the student leaves the exam hall, they are not able to cheat.

As a result, some schools place more invigilators in the exam hall than are actually required. This allows an invigilator to leave the examination to escort a student out of the exam hall. Normally, there needs to be one invigilator for every thirty students. However, there may be extra for this reason.

You can discover more about how exams are conducted and the procedures invigilators have to follow if you check out this video from JCQ.

5. Invigilators look out for anyone who looks confused or has some questions

It is also the invigilator’s responsibility to assist students who look a bit lost. Let’s be honest, before students sit their real exams, no one really knows what to expect! I can guarantee that most students didn’t pay attention to the invigilator’s speech during mock exams.

You definitely should though! Mock exams are valuable practice and you can see just how important they are if you check out this article from Think Student.

As a result, invigilators need to look out for any students who may seem confused and are not sure what they are meant to do. Common questions students ask include asking about the centre number and where they are supposed to write it.

From my own experience, I can tell you that I had no clue! As a result, it can be a very stressful time. Check out this article from Think Student to discover how to best deal with exam stress.

6. Invigilators check whether students are in the correct seats

Before an exam, it’s understandable that students may feel a bit frazzled and overwhelmed. Consequently, they may forget their seat number and can’t figure out where they are meant to be sitting.

Believe me, you don’t need to be worrying about this before an exam. It will just be too stressful. As a result, invigilators are there to look out for any students who may not know where they are supposed to be.

Invigilators should possess a spreadsheet with all of the seating arrangements to check where each student should be sitting. Invigilators also have to make sure that every student is in the correct seat.

They can do this by ticking a register as they walk down the aisles. If they find that a student is not in the correct seat, they will be asked to move. Invigilators also need to check each student’s identities to make sure they are entered for taking the exam.

You can discover more about what invigilators are meant to do before, during and after examinations if you check out this article from JCQ.

7. Invigilators check for any incorrect exam papers

Invigilators may seem like robots to most students. However, they are human and just like any human, they can make mistakes! As a result, they may have accidentally gotten different exam papers mixed up.

This is easily done, especially when the same subject gives students higher or foundation papers. You can discover the difference between higher and foundation if you check out this article from Think Student.

Invigilators need to be wary of this and look out for any student who has been given an incorrect paper. However, this rarely happens. Invigilators are often organised individuals, as they are properly trained for their role. It is part of the job description after all!

There are actually certain qualifications and qualities you need to have to be an invigilator. You can check out what these are if you read this article from the Think Teaching website.

8. Invigilators need to be aware of students who may need extra time

Some students need a little bit more time compared to other candidates in order to complete their exams. This could be for a range of reasons. For example, they could have dyslexia or have difficulty processing information.

Candidates with qualities such as these could be entitled to 25% extra time, as shown by this article from JCQ. Invigilators need to be aware of this so that they don’t try to rush students who are entitled to extra time!

It is important that invigilators look out for these students so that they can write when these students should finish the exam on the white board at the front of the hall. If you feel as if you could be entitled to free extra time but aren’t completely sure, check out this article from Think Student for some more information.

9. Invigilators need to be aware of students who have other special requirements

Access arrangements is a term that refers to special exceptions some students are given in order to help them complete examinations. Extra time is an access arrangement that has already been mentioned in this article.

However, it is possible for students to also be entitled to other arrangements. For example, some students are allowed to have several supervised breaks during an exam if they are unable to complete the exam all in one go.

Some students are also allowed access to a computer or are even allowed to let others write what they want to say. If you want to discover what qualifies students to be entitled to these arrangements and other queries about access arrangements, check out this page from JCQ.

Invigilators need to look out for students who are allowed this additional help during exams. This is because if certain students miss out on these, they may not be able to perform to the best of their abilities.

10. Invigilators may need to provide students with missing equipment

Before invigilators conduct an exam, they need to be familiar with the instructions on the paper themselves! This is to inform them of any equipment the students in the examination are entitled to.

For example, some maths papers require students to have a calculator. Therefore, the invigilators need to look out for any students who may be missing a calculator, as if a student didn’t have one, they may not do very well!

If you don’t currently have a calculator and are going to be sitting GCSE Maths in the future, it is best to get one! Check out this article from Think Student to find the best scientific calculators.

An invigilator’s main purpose is to make sure that all students have an equal opportunity to reach the best of their abilities, as shown in this article from Skills for Schools. As a result, they have so much to look out for to make sure that everything is fair and that everyone has an equal chance of reaching the best grades they can.

So next time you are in an exam and you see all of the invigilators milling around the room, seemingly doing nothing, don’t hate on them! They are there to help you and every other student.

Their job is actually quite difficult, as they have so many responsibilities, as shown by this extensive checklist they have to follow from JCQ.

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