E14: Invigilator Roles and Responsibilities

The role of the Invigilator

The examination invigilator is the person in the examination room with responsibility for conducting a particular examination session in the presence of candidates. Invigilators have a key role in upholding the integrity of the examination process.

The role of the invigilator is to ensure that examinations are conducted in accordance with any regulatory requirements, in order to:

  • Ensure that all candidates have an equal opportunity to demonstrate their abilities
  • Ensure the security of the examination papers and completed response sheets, before, during and after the examination
  • Prevent possible candidate malpractice
  • Prevent possible administrative failures
  • Ensure that Awarding Body (RGU, FutureQual, ORMS) identity requirements are adhered to

Invigilators will:

  • Be appropriately trained in their duties
  • Give all their attention to conducting the examination properly
  • Be able to observe each candidate in the examination room at all time
  • Be fully conversant with the Awarding Body (RGU, FutureQual, ORMS) requirements for confirming candidate identity
  • Inform the Education Director if they are suspicious about the security of examination papers, completed response sheets or any other issue that threatens the integrity of the examination process. (In such cases, the Education Director must inform the Awarding Body (RGU, FutureQual, ORMS) immediately, and send a full written report within five working days of the suspicion arising).

Invigilators must not:

  • Carry out any other task (for example, reading a book) in the examination room.

Who can invigilate?

ORMS (as an Approved Centre) will ensure that invigilation is carried out by a person who has not prepared the candidates for the examination. This means that the trainer cannot act as the exam invigilator, and should not be present in the examination room.

It is also inappropriate for invigilation to be carried out by a person related to a candidate sitting the examination.

ORMS will:

  • Appoint exam invigilators, to make sure that the examination is conducted according to regulatory requirements
  • Make sure all invigilators are responsible adults, appropriately trained in their duties.

At least one invigilator must be present for groups of up to 30 candidates for written examinations and a maximum of 12 candidates for OSCEs. When only one invigilator is present, they must be able to summon help easily, without leaving the examination room, and without disturbing candidates.

Invigilation Requirements

Starting the examination:

Before the examination starts, the examination invigilator must:

  • Ensure the seating arrangements prevent all candidates from overlooking (intentionally or otherwise) the work of others. The minimum distance in all directions from centre to centre of candidates’ chairs must be 1.25 metres.
  • Ensure that all candidates will face in the same direction
  • Ensure each candidate has a separate desk or table big enough to hold question papers and answer booklets. Candidates who are not working at individual desks must be far enough apart so that their work cannot be seen by, and contact cannot be made with, other candidates

Ensure the following are prominently displayed:

  • A poster
    • advising candidates that mobile phones should be switched off and out of reach
    • Examination warning notice for candidates
    • ORMS D6: Academic Appeals Procedures for Candidates
    • Emergency/evacuation procedures
  • Examination in Progress’ notices outside of the examination room
  • Ensure a board/flipchart/whiteboard should be visible to all candidates showing the centre number, subject / Unit title and paper number; and the actual starting and finishing times of each examination.
  • Ensure a reliable clock is visible to each candidate in the examination room. The clock must be big enough for all candidates to read clearly
  • Ensure all display material (such as maps, diagrams, wall charts and projected images etc.) which might be helpful to candidates is not visible in the examination room.
  • Check all candidates have the required identity documents and photograph, in line with the Awarding Body (RGU, FutureQual, ORMS) qualification examination requirements, and that the relevant section of the Candidate Information Sheet (where appropriate) has been completed
  • Advise candidates who are unable to provide the required identity documents and photograph that they cannot sit the examination and that they must leave the examination room
  • Advise candidates of emergency/evacuation procedure
  • Inform candidates that they must follow the regulations of the examination
  • Ensure questions papers are never left unattended
  • Open the packets of examination papers, in the examination room in front of the candidates, and distribute to candidates
  • Check that candidates have the correct paper

The invigilator must advise candidates that:

  • They should write in blue or black ink
  • They should not use correction fluid
  • They should not make any marks on the examination paper
  • All mobile phones, or other electronic devices, should be switched off
  • They must not have access to items other than those stated in the instructions on the question paper, the stationery list or the specification for that subject in the examination room.
  • Mobile phones, electronic communication or storage devices are not permitted, including:
    • iPods
    • MP3/4 players
    • wrist watches which have a data storage device
    • Any other products with text or digital facilities.


Invigilators will ensure that:

  • all unauthorised items are left outside of the examination room;
  • any pencil cases taken into the examination room must be see-through;
  • any unauthorised items that have been taken into the examination room must be placed out of reach of the candidates (and not under their desks) before the examination starts. This would normally be at the front of the examination room or a similar arrangement that enables the invigilator to control access to the items.
  • Any course material should be removed from desks and placed at the front of the room
  • They should not ask for, and will not be given, any explanation of the questions and answers
  • If they leave the examination room, unaccompanied by a member of Centre Staff , they will not be able to return during the examination

The invigilator will:

  • Specify the length, start and finish time of the examination, and the earliest time that candidates can leave the examination room
  • Read the Instructions on the front of response sheet to candidates and demonstrate how to complete the response sheet and advise candidates how to make changes to answers
  • Remind candidates that they cannot communicate in any way with, ask for help from or give help to another candidate while they are in the examination room
  • Announce clearly to candidates when they may begin
  • Be present in the examination room at all times.

The invigilator will not:

  • Make any comment where a candidate believes that there is an error or omission on the question paper. However, in this situation, the invigilator must refer the matter to the Education Director, who should send a report to the Awarding Body (RGU, FutureQual, ORMS).
  • Give any information to candidates about possible mistakes in the question paper, unless there is an erratum notice, or permission has been given by the Awarding Body (RGU, FutureQual, ORMS)
  • Comment on the content of the question paper
  • Read a word or words printed on the question paper to a candidate, other than the instructions on the front cover
  • Offer any advice or comment on the work of a candidate.

During the examination:

Invigilators must supervise candidates throughout the whole time that an examination is in progress. This means that:

  • Invigilators must give complete attention to this duty at all times
  • Invigilators must be vigilant and remain aware of emerging situations, looking out for cheating and malpractice or candidates who may be feeling unwell. Any irregularities must be recorded.
  • Invigilators must not carry out any other tasks in the examination room (for example doing other work or using a mobile phone)
  • Invigilators are required to move around the examination room quietly and at frequent intervals
  • Give regular time checks

Summoning help during an examination:

When one invigilator is present in an examination, they must be able to summon help, in case of an emergency, without leaving the room or disturbing candidates. A mobile phone may be used but must be switched to silent alert, so as not to disturb candidates.


Candidates who arrive late:

A candidate who arrives more than ten (10) minutes after the examination has started must not be allowed to enter the examination room. Arrangements will need to be made by the Centre to order examination papers for an alternative date.

Leaving the examination room:

  • Candidates are not permitted to leave the examination room until at least twenty minutes examination time has elapsed (other than in an emergency/medical situation)
  • Candidates may not leave in the last 10 minutes of the examination.
  • Candidates who are allowed to leave the examination room temporarily must be accompanied by a member of Centre Staff.
  • Where candidates have completed their examination and are permitted to leave before the finish time, they should be instructed to do so quietly, without causing undue distraction to others.
  • The invigilator must ensure that all relevant sections of the examination response sheet are fully completed and signed before candidates leave the room.
  • Candidates who leave (with the exception of those who leave temporarily accompanied by a member of Centre Staff) must not be allowed back into the room.

Ending the Examination

When ending the examination, invigilators should give sufficient notice to candidates. This is usually achieved by giving a fifteen-minute and five minute warning prior to the published finish time of the examination.

At the end of the examination, the invigilator should:

  • Tell the candidates to stop working and remind them that they are still under examination conditions
  • Collect all examination papers and examination response sheets to place in secure storage prior to submitting to the Awarding Body (RGU, FutureQual, ORMS) for marking.
  • Collect all the scripts/objective test sheets before candidates are allowed to leave the examination room
  • Ensure that candidates do not keep the examination papers or response sheets.
  • Candidates and invigilator to confirm number of changes on response sheets. These should be entered in words and not numbers.

At no point should any indication be given to the candidates as to whether it is believed that they have passed or failed the examination. This information can ONLY be confirmed by the Awarding Body (RGU, FutureQual, ORMS)   . The marking of examination papers by the approved trainer/examination invigilator to pre-empt awards is seen as malpractice and could result in the withdrawal of Centre Approval / Recognition.

Additional requirements for online or electronic examinations (e-exams)

  • ORMS has the expertise to access, administer and support the test/examination and will be available throughout the e-examination.
  • ORMS has the relevant software installed to administer the tests and to demonstrate that the appropriate security systems are in place to prevent unauthorised access to the test/examination materials.
  • The layout of the room for on-screen tests cannot be specifically defined since there will be a number of solutions to organising work stations within the space available.

When planning the layout of the examination room, ORMS will consider the following limitations:

  • the distance between the screens
  • the division of the work space to allow any permitted additional materials to be used;
  • the use of booths, screens or partitions whether temporary or permanent
  • ratio of invigilators.

For e-Exams, the invigilator must ensure:

  • Each work station is to be isolated by a minimum space of 1.25 metres measured from the nearest outer edge of one screen to the next, unless the monitors are positioned back to back or separated by dividers or protected by privacy screens. Under certain circumstances, 1.25 metres may prove to be an insufficient distance to prevent candidates seeing, intentionally or otherwise, the work of others. The principal objective is to ensure that no candidate’s work can be overseen by others.
  • Where required, candidate test password information is stored securely and only given to candidates at the time of the examination.
  • Candidates are prevented from using computers/laptops in examinations, which have unauthorised external communication with other users of computers/laptops.
  • The arrangement of workstations and the position of the invigilator’s desk will facilitate the detection of any unauthorised activity by candidates, for example communication with others or use of unauthorised reference material.
  • Ensure that sufficient workstations are available, including at least one replacement computer (and printers where required).
  • Unless otherwise stated by the Awarding Body’s subject specific instructions, remind candidates that they must not have access to the Internet, e-mail, data stored on the hard drive or portable storage media (e.g. floppy disks, CDs, memory sticks or pre-prepared templates)
  • Make sure that candidates are familiar with the instructions, procedures and regulations for the on-screen test, particularly on how to navigate and respond on-screen.
  • Check that candidates know how to request technical assistance.
  • Check that all candidates have logged on successfully, or have been logged on by the Centre.
  • Ensure that technical support is available throughout the on-screen test in relation to malfunctioning of equipment, software or the on-screen test itself.

At the end of the e-examination, the invigilator must:

  • Ensure that the software is closed as necessary (some may close automatically).
  • Check that any necessary back-ups have been made and stored securely.
  • Collect copies of candidates’ work, additional print-outs and question papers before candidates leave the examination room.
  • If candidates are required to print work off outside the time allowed for the test, ensure that candidates are supervised at all times.

Suggested wording for the invigilator’s announcement at the beginning of a written examination:

  • “You are now under examination conditions. This means that you must not talk to another candidate and must now follow the regulations of the examination.”
  • “Do not open the examination paper until I instruct you to do so.”
  • “You are not permitted to leave the examination in the first 20 or last 10 minutes. You must not leave the examination room without the permission of an invigilator. If you need attention raise your hand and wait.”
  • “Only material listed on the question paper is allowed in the exam room. You must not have on or near you any other material.”
  • “iPads, iPods, mobile phones or any other electronic devices must be switched off, and not to silent mode, and handed to an invigilator; these will be placed at the front of the room. Failure to do this is a breach of the regulations and may lead to disqualification.”
  • “All unauthorised items in your possession, such as notes, books, papers, must be handed in to an invigilator now and these will be placed at the front of the room. You must have nothing on, under or near to your desk. Failure to do this is a breach of the regulations and may lead to disqualification.”
  • “Please check that you have been given the correct paper for your subject, unit and level.”
  • “Fill in all the details needed on the front of your answer book, sheet or question paper (as appropriate).”
  • “Read the instructions on the front of the question paper.”
  • “Check that you have all the materials you need for the exam.”
  • “Remember, you must only write in black or blue ink.”
  • “You must not use correcting pens, fluid or tape, erasable pens, blotting paper. You must not use highlighters or gel pens in your answers.”
  • “You must not communicate in any way with, ask for help from or give help to another candidate while you are in the examination room.”
  • “You must not ask for, and will not be given any information regarding the wording of the questions and answers on the examination paper.”
  • “If the fire alarm sounds, please stay seated – wait for instructions from the invigilator.”

Suggested wording for the invigilator’s announcement at end of an examination

  • “The examination has now finished please stop working.”
  • “You are still under examination conditions until you have left the examination room.”
  • “Please remain in your seat while your examination documents are collected. I will tell you when you may leave the room.”
  • “You must not remove any examination materials, such as the examination paper and answer sheet, from the examination room.”
  • “You may now leave the room.”