All centrally managed 2020/21 examinations will take place online (with the exception of a limited number of exams in the Medical School), with no physical examinations taking place. The University has taken this decision to provide certainty for students, and to avoid the need to make the late changes to assessment.
Exam dates and times
View the examination dates and times for the 2020-21 academic year.
April 2021 Examinations:
The examination timetable is due to be published week commencing 15th March 2021. More information on the April Exam Period can be found at the April Examinations page.
May 2021 Examinations
The examination timetable is due to be published week commencing 12th April 2021. More information on the May Exam Period can be found at the May Examinations page.
Summer 2021 Examinations
The examination timetable is due to be published week commencing 26th April 2021. More information on the Summer Exam Period can be found at the Summer Examinations page.
Alternative Exams Portal (AEP)
In April 2020, the University made available a web based tool, called the ‘Alternative Exams Portal' or AEP. The AEP displays your personalised timetable with the time and duration of your centrally timetabled assessments. The AEP also provides access to your online assessments during assessment weeks. View the Alternative Exams Portal Student Guidance.
Types of online assessment in the AEP
Each of your exams will be one of the following four types of online assessment:
- Open book assessments
- File-based open book exams. These are used when you will need to upload several files, for instance, to include pictures of written work such as mathematical work.
- Multiple choice question sets which can be taken online
These will usually take place in the Alternative Exams Portal (AEP) or an alternative online tool such as Questionmark Perception (QMP) or Moodle. Online revision classes may be provided by your department to enable you to understand more fully the nature of the tasks which will be set, and how you should approach them. View resource to help prepare for exams.
Assessment instructions for each type of assessment
You will be given your assessment instructions within AEP when you view your assessment. Your lecturers have been asked to be very clear in setting out what is expected.
The assessment instructions will either give you the assessment questions so you can start working on them directly in the AEP, OR you will be given a link through to a quiz tool or a multiple-choice tool (such as QMP/Moodle) where you will take your assessment. In a limited number of cases, departments may use another tool you will already be familiar with.
Below we have provided, for each type of assessment, the DRAFT instruction templates staff will be using. Please be aware that Dep and module leaders will adapt this in order to provide specific information for each assessment (the links download a word file at the bottom of your screen).
Take care to read the instructions carefully before you begin each of the assessments you take. The instructions may look a lot like this but will be adapted by your lecturers.
- Instructions for spoken assessments
- Instructions for open-book assessments
- Instructions for multiple-choice question sets assessments
- Instructions for file-based open book assessments
Assignment instructions will be specific to the assignment set. You are likely to receive guidance on what is expected in online revision classes in advance of the assessment period or receive advice from your department in another way. If you have questions about your assessment, you should contact your Module Tutor for that assessment.
For students taking centrally scheduled assessments in the AEP, trial assessments (not discipline related) have been developed to give you the experience of engaging with the AEP and other assessment tools. These are not compulsory, nor are they marked, rather they give you a practice run of engaging with the AEP ahead of your assessments. You will receive an email once these are available in the AEP.
Some departments are also providing mock assessments (discipline related) which will also appear in the AEP. These will be related to your discipline specifically. You can find trial assessments and mock assessments (if your department has provided the latter) in your AEP. Departments will provide online support as appropriate for your subject area.
We do recommend that you undertake one or more of the trial assessments. Experience and feedback from students has shown that doing so reduces exams anxiety associated with the online assessments since you become more familiar with the platform when it comes to the formal exams.
Taking your online assessment
At the specified date and time of your assessment, log into the Alternative Exams Portal and go to the module you’re sitting. You can then start your assessment.
- Click on the relevant Assessment block to access your assessment paper. Your assessment time has now started. Once you have started, you cannot go back. Do not start until you are ready to sit the assessment.
- You will first be asked to confirm you understand and accept the academic integrity rules(addressing plagiarism, cheating and collusion). You will not be able to proceed without agreeing to this statement.
Note: Students who have an entitlement to extra time/rest breaks under an agreed reasonable adjustment will have their additional time automatically added within the AEP.
- You will be given your assessment instructions. Your lecturers have been asked to be very clear in setting out what is expected.
- The assessment instructions will either give you the assessment questions so you can start working on them, OR you will be given a link through to a quiz tool, a multiple-choice tool where you take your assessment. In a limited number of cases, departments may use another tool you will already be familiar with.
- If you are referred to another tool (Moodle, Questionmark Perception, MyWBS) you will complete your assessment there. If you have been given your assessment questions in a file, you will be uploading your assessment yourself through the AEP. A box for this is provided with an upload function. Once you have uploaded your assessment you must tick the box in the AEP to ensure you have finished your assignment. Do not forget to do this. You cannot return to your work after uploading your assessment.
Please note that your department may or may not want you to use an answer booklet. Do not worry if you don’t find one provided. Just follow the instructions given. If no instructions are given about what file you need to upload, you can simply use any file you prefer.
Your time starts from the moment you click to access your assessment paper. If you are taken to a different tool (Moodle, Questionmark Perception) then your time counter will restart there.
We've created four short videos to demonstrate how to use the AEP:
- How to access AEP and assessments timetable
- How to start an assessment in AEP
- How to submit and finish an assessment in AEP
- How to contact an invigilator in AEP
If your assessment is in Moodle or QMP
If your assessment takes place in Moodle or Questionmark Perception, your department has been advised to ensure the additional time for technical matters (45 minutes). You should still aim to work within the timescale set out for the assessment. Your assessment will carry a time stamp allowing your department to see whether you have used more than the time allotted and will check whether this is justified.
Timings within the AEP
Your Department has made one of two choices with regards to the timing of online assessments. These are:
Timed assessment to be completed within a 24-hour window
This is a timed assessment, however, you will be able to start your assessment at any time within the 24 hour window. The counter will start running from the time at which you access your assessment. If you are taken to a different tool (Moodle, Questionmark Perception) then your time counter will restart there. It is not possible to ‘stop the clock’ during the assessment. You must make sure you also complete within the 24 hour window.
For example, if you have a 3 hour exam, once you have started the exam you need to complete it within the following 3 hours, once the timer has started.
Timed assessment starting at a set time
Your assessment will take place at a set time, and has to be completed by a set time. You must start your assessment at the time stated. If you start after this time, you will be deemed to have started late and you will not have the full duration for your assessment.
To note: Timings may vary if your assessment is taking place in Moodle or QMP. Please read carefully the guidance provided by your Department.
In designing their assessments, departments will have chosen one of the above options. Where the discipline allows, departments will have designed for asynchronous online assessment specifically, noting amongst other things, the need to avoid plagiarism or collusion. In some disciplines this is far more difficult and this is likely to have informed their decision to select the timed assessments option.
Timed assessment up to 24-hours duration
In a limited number of cases, there may be assessments that can be completed at any time within the 24-hours with no time constraints. Your department will advise you if this is the case. The counter will start running from the time at which you access your assessment.
For example, you could start your exam at 9 am and work on it until 10 am and return to finish it at 2 pm. Your department may give an indication of a suggested amount of time to spend on the assessment.
You are given an additional 45 minutes in total to download your assessment and to upload your answers. 45 minutes may seem like quite a lot of time – but please remember that download and upload speeds can be slow. Please be careful not to assume that this additional 45 minutes can be used for additional working time.
Once you have uploaded your assessment in the AEP, you must ensure to tick the box below the uploading function to ensure you have fully finished your assessment. Do not forget to do this. If you are asked to use Moodle (MyWBS) or Questionmark Perception, you do not need to do this.
If you attempt to submit after the end of the submission window, you will not be able to do so as the submission window will have closed and a mark of 0% will be applied to the assessment. However, you may still submit a case through the mitigating circumstances portal if you believe you had good reasons for not completing your assessment on time.
Students who have an entitlement to extra time/rest breaks under an agreed reasonable adjustment will have their additional time automatically added within the AEP. Further guidance can be found here.
Exam invigilation and technical support
Exam invigilation looks a little different in online assessments. Your module convenor (or nominee) is asked to log in to the AEP at the start of the assessment. For a two hour assessment, they will be available for the first two hours. For a 3 hour assessment, they will be available for the first three hours. When they sign out, they will leave any messages in the AEP that you need to be aware of if you start the assessment later (in the case of an assessment running in a 24hr window).
Technical support, invigilation and general oversight of proceedings during the online assessments is only available between 9:00 and 17:00 BST on assessment days. If you encounter technical problems during the assessment which are not related to the assessment itself, you may not be able to complete the assessment in time, or at all. Please make sure you use the Mitigating Circumstances portal to raise such an occurrence, and your department will take appropriate measures.
Please note that you can log any issues with the assessment paper, but there is no individual two-way communication possible. Where invigilators (module convenors) find there is an issue that has relevance to all students, they will make an announcement to resolve the matter. This message will remain available for as long as the assessment is open.
You can log issues through the AEP only, so if your assessment takes place in another tool (Moodle, MyWBS or Questionmark Perception) please do not close the tab to the AEP, as that is where you are able to log any issues.