Exam regulations update

Written by: Jugjit Chima | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock
It also helps if examining officers actually have some training, a qualification or experience. If ...

Posted by: ,

A new academic year normally brings with it updates to examination regulations. Expert Jugjit Chima looks at some of the changes for 2016/17

The General Regulations for Approved Centres and the Instructions for Conducting Examinations booklets – published by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) – are ones which all examination centre staff engaged in the conducting of examinations must be familiar with.

This includes the head of centre, senior leadership team members and, of course, the exams officer.
Each year, these regulations are reviewed with changes made, where necessary, to address the changing nature of the examination system.

In general, the over-arching messages within the changes for the 2016/17 academic year are:

  • Placing greater responsibility upon the head of centre and senior leadership team.
  • Stipulating regulations rather than suggesting or providing guidance – more “must” and less “should”.
  • Adhering to set deadlines (i.e. for Access Arrangements and modified papers).

Any school seeking approval to deliver examinations and assessments must be familiar with, and adhere to, the regulations as set out in the General Regulations for Approved Centres (see in particular the Are You Ready? checklist on page 23 of this document).

The Instructions for Conducting Examinations must be read in their entirety by heads of centre, senior leaders and exams officers. You need to be particularly aware of any changes from the previous academic year.

Centres regularly question changes in exam regulation but there should be a clear understanding that these amendments are only made to address issues which have occurred in previous examination series and mitigate risks which threaten the integrity and security of the examination system.

Schools should also be aware that JCQ produces a range of “supplementary” documents which must also be adhered to, including the Conditions for Storing Confidential Exam Material.

There are more than 30 changes within the Instructions for Conducting Examinations booklet, with a greater emphasis placed upon the role of the head of centre and senior leaders, and with these regulations applying to a wider range of qualifications.

Some of the main changes for the 2016/17 academic year include:

Secure storage – keys

Centres must not keep a spare set of keys in a cabinet or safe which can be accessed by members of staff who are not involved in exams administration. Keys must either be kept on the key holder’s person or kept in a coded key safe which is only accessible to the designated key-holders.

Checking of question papers

Invigilators can act as the additional member of staff who checks the time/date/paper details before a question paper packet is opened.

Timetable variations

Where candidates are taking two or more examinations in a session and are being given a short supervised break between papers within the session, they must remain under formal examination conditions within the examination room while their scripts are being collected.


The use of a transcript where a candidate’s handwriting is hard to decipher is no longer permitted. Options are the use of a word processor or scribe, which may only be granted if the candidate is eligible for this Access Arrangement. Candidates must be reminded that they are responsible for producing legible handwriting.

Packing scripts/cover sheets

Refer to awarding body instructions when including a word processor cover sheet. Cover sheets must be placed inside the script (previously they were attached to the script). Invigilators must instruct candidates to place any loose additional answer sheets, in order, inside the answer booklet.

Releasing exam question papers

For confidentiality purposes question papers must not be released to centre personnel until after the awarding body’s published finishing time for the examination or, in the case of a timetable variation, until all candidates within the centre have completed the examination.


Invigilators can act as the practical assistants when the candidate is accommodated separately and on a one-to-one basis. Where the invigilator additionally acts as a practical assistant, a reader and/or a scribe, the centre must use a “roving” invigilator who checks the room(s) from time-to-time.

For the timed art examination, as the art teacher may be required to give technical assistance, additional invigilators should be deployed at the head of centre’s discretion to ensure the supervision of candidates is maintained at all times.

  • Jugjit Chima is one of the founders of The Exams Office, an online support tool for exams officers and data managers. Visit www.theexamsoffice.org

Further information

It also helps if examining officers actually have some training, a qualification or experience.
If not, they can omit to untick a box and omit to enter important coursework, and since the exam boards expect accuracy, it is the pupil who suffers.
The schools and exams boards are in cahoots, it's big business and the JCQ had no interest save their own. This is an opaque system, and does not support the pupil in any way.

Posted By: ,

Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code
Sign up SecEd Bulletin