Online exams

For information about timetables or papers please go to In-person exams page.

Practice for students 

Students are strongly advised to familiarise themselves with the technology involved in open-book exams, by taking the following measures: 

  • Rehearse downloading an exam paper and an exam response template document.

  • Time themselves as they write an exam response for 3 hours (as they would in an actual exam).

  • Practise using the Microsoft Lens, or similar apps, to scan content, if they will need to do this as part of their actual exams; and submit a document as their exam response.

Technical and exam support   

  • Students should contact the support desk immediately at the point of any difficulties during their exam so that they can be offered support and log a record of the situation.

  • Students should not to leave it until the last minute to submit their exam response in WebLearn. An additional technical time has been added to exam durations so they can download the exam paper at the start and submit their exam response at the end. The exact amount of technical time will depend on the standard ‘writing’ duration of the exam:

    Exam length Technical time allowance
    up to and including 75 minutes 15 minutes technical time
    76 minutes to 179 minutes 30 minutes technical time
    180 minutes or more 60 minutes technical time

Note: For exams taking place before 28 September 2020, there is a standard 60 minutes technical time allowance regardless of exam length.

Penalties  

  • Penalties will be applied if students submit their exam response later than expected (including later than specified in agreed alternative arrangements).

  • If students access the paper on time but upload their exam response after the published timeframe, they will be considered to have submitted late.

  • If students believe they have a good reason for submitting late including difficulties related to downloading their exam paper or uploading their response, they should submit a mitigating circumstances notice to examiners (MCE) to explain this. Exam Board may use the mitigating circumstances notice to consider whether to waive penalties.

The penalties for late exam responses are as follows; please note that they vary by year of assessment:

 

FOR 2019-20 OPEN-BOOK EXAMS, INCLUDING THOSE POSTPONED FROM TT2020 to MT2020

Time 

Penalty 

First 15 minutes 

No penalty 

16 minutes – 30 minutes 

5 marks or 5% of the marks available (if not marked on 100 mark scale) 

31 minutes – 45 minutes 

10 marks or 10% of the marks available (if not marked on 100 mark scale) 

Up to an hour 

15 marks or 15% of the marks available (if not marked on 100 mark scale) 

After one hour 

Fail mark (0) 

 

FOR 2020-21 OPEN-BOOK EXAMS

Time 

Penalty 

First 5 minutes

No penalty 

6 minutes – 20 minutes

5 marks or 5% of the marks available (if not marked on 100 mark scale) 

21 minutes – 40 minutes

10 marks or 10% of the marks available (if not marked on 100 mark scale) 

Up to an hour 

15 marks or 15% of the marks available (if not marked on 100 mark scale) 

After one hour 

Fail mark (0) 

For closed-book exams online exams held at a University exam site, students must bring their personal mobile device (e.g. phone or tablet) to log into the exam platform (e.g. WebLearn or Inspera) using their Oxford SSO-multi-factor authentication app.

Once logged in they will need to switch off their mobile device and place this face down on or underneath their desk, as instructed by invigilators.

It is extremely important that they set up the authentication methods in advance of any online exam. We strongly recommend they set up more than one method, as outlined below:

  • Set up one method using their mobile device
  • Set up a second using the Authy authentication app, which can be installed as a desktop application and requires no admin rights

Full instructions on the MFA webpage.

Guides and information

Process Relevant to Guidance link

Open-book information summary

Open book durations and timings

All staff

Open-Book Exams Resources for staff

Duration and timing report guidance

Honour code All staff and students Honour code for open-book online exams

Distributing and marking exam responses

Distributing exam responses

Departments

Infographic of the process

Quick reference guide (QRG)

Accessing and marking of exam responses

Using WebLearn Exam Board sites

Online exam board meetings

Examiners and assessors

Marking Quick reference guide (QRG)

Exam Board Quick reference guide (QRG)

Guidance on using Microsoft Teams

Accessing open book exam responses after publication of results Departments  Guidance document

 

Practice site for staff 

Staff in colleges and departments can access a practice site on WebLearn in order to familiarise themselves with the open-book exam format in WebLearn. 

Alternative arrangements

Students with a standard amount of extra time of up to 15 mins per hour extra writing and/or rest time will have an additional hour of exam time, see conversion table in the Open-Book Exams Guide for Candidates. Students with complex adjustments, including extra writing and/or rest time of over 15 mins per hour may need to apply for an adjustment or dispensation to accommodate their arrangements, see the updated alternative arrangement guide.

Exam responses download

Although it is not recommended to download exam responses to home computers for security and performance issues, if departments find this becomes necessary then a guide to the process is on SharePoint.

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  • If a student cannot access a practice exam site in Weblearn inform them that to access the open-book exam practice site, they need to log in to Weblearn with their Oxford Single Sign-On. Click Sites (top right) and, from the drop-down list, select ‘Open-book Exam Practice Site.’ If they cannot see this site in Weblearn, they can join the alternative practice site
  • If a student is concerned / unsure about the specific time they must start their exam explain that exams will start at 09.30 and 14.30 British Summer Time. If they are outside the UK, please use the Open-Book Exams Guide for Candidates to ensure students follow the policy and start at the correct time for their local time zone. 

  • If a student is worried or anxious about their open-book exams please point them to the resources on the University’s Exam Wellbeing page

  • If timetable no longer accommodates a scheduling adjustment (i.e. sit exams in AM or PM only) a later exam start time can be applied for as an alternative arrangement via the EAS team. See updated alternative arrangement guidance.

  • If a student wants to check/confirm timetable they can do so via Student Self-Service and/or the timetables page on Oxford students website.

  • If a student is concerned that the department will not be aware of their approved alternative arrangements reassure students that approved alternative arrangements are communicated to the departments at the same time as students receiving their confirmation. 
  • Students with a standard amount of extra time of up to 15 mins per hour extra writing and/or rest time will have an additional hour of exam time, see conversion table in the Open-Book Exams Guide for Candidates. Students with complex adjustments, including extra writing and/or rest time of over 15 mins per hour may need to apply for an adjustment or dispensation to accommodate their arrangements, see the updated alternative arrangement guide
  • Withdrawal or suspension prior to the start of the exam is only permitted under exceptional circumstances and with support from the College. Normal process for suspension/withdrawal remains. 

  • Departments are responsible for providing any necessary additional materials required for open-book exams (for example, textbooks or case-studies) in advance or as part of the exam paper document. It is not possible to provide separate, additional documents for materials within the Weblearn open-book exam sites. 
  • If a student is ill or has an emergency on the day explain that they can apply for exam excusal if they are unable to sit the exam (see below), or support them with an urgent application for alternative arrangements if they wish to request a later start time.  

  • If a student does not know their candidate number advise them that this can be found on Student Self-Service and/or their individual timetables. 

  • It will not be possible to query the content of the exam paper during the exam. If students think that there is an error or mistake in the exam paper then they should state what they consider the error or mistake to be at the start of the answer for that question and if necessary, they should state their understanding of the question. They should then try to complete the paper as best they can. This also means that examiners are not required to ‘attend’ open-book exams. 
  • If a student needs to handwrite their exam response encourage them to type their response; however, if they need to handwrite their exam response, then remind them that we have provided specific guidance on handwriting responses, along with an infographic and a quick reference guide in the Open-Book Exams Guide for Candidates
  • If a student needs to scan their exam response reassure them that this will be possible, if necessary. Point out that we have provided specific guidance along with an infographic and a quick reference guide in the Open-Book Exams Guide for Candidates
  • Late submission of an exam response will be reported to the Exam Board by the Examinations and Assessments team. The examiners should impose an academic penalty according to the scale published in their examination conventions, unless the Proctors have notified the chair that the late submission has been excused.
  • If a student misses their exam explain that if they have missed (or may miss) their exam time (according to the start times for their local time zone), it will not be possible to sit the exam late. The next step would be to support them through the usual exam excusal process via the Proctors. Students are expected to provide a statement to their college explaining the reason they were not able to attempt the open-book exam within 48 hours of the start of that open-book exam. They are not expected to provide medical evidence.
  • A report will be available on eVision from 2pm each Monday, with information for exams that took place the preceding week which will highlight students who failed to submit a response or failed to submit their response on-time. This information should be cross-referenced with any dispensation approvals received for students approved to submit their response in a 24-hour window. Guidance on this report is available here. Open-book exams duration and timing report guidance
  • Candidates are only added to Weblearn open-book exam sites on the basis of the examination entries and Single Sign-On details, so the correct candidate number will be listed against each candidate’s submission, even if the candidate has mistyped their candidate number at the top of their exam response document. 
  • Course administrators should attach the 2D form to the relevant students exam response before they are distributed to markers. Students with permission to attach the 2D: SpLD form to their work do not have to do so for open-book exams responses.

 

Information about the plagiarism detection software for open-book exams - Turnitin

  • Turnitin reporting is automatically turned on for each open-book exam. Students do NOT receive notification of their Turnitin report for each exam response submission. 
  • As previously, departments are responsible for checking the authenticity of the work each student has submitted for open-book exams using Turnitin, referring to the automatically generated reports in the Weblearn open-book site for the relevant paper. This is because departments, in conjunction with the exam boards, are in the best position to recognise potential collusion or plagiarism. The use of this type of screening provides our students with confidence on the integrity of the open-book exam. 
  • Further information and guidance on how to use and obtain access to Turnitin is available from IT website. Any Turnitin queries that are specific to open-book exams can be directed to weblearn@it.ox.ac.uk 

Click below for information on examinations and assessments during the coronavirus pandemic:

 CORONAVIRUS: EXAMS ADVICE

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OX1 4BG

Exam Operations: exam.arrangements@admin.ox.ac.uk

 

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