Last update: February 1, 2024

The following guidelines are designed to help invigliators administer exams in a variety of contexts. They are for reference only and do not cover every possible situation. Invigilators will need to refer to the specific requirements for a given exam and use sound judgement exercising their duties. 

If you have more questions, ask the department for which the exam is being administered, or contact Scheduling Services

On this page:

Before The Exam Begins

Setting up

  • Review these guidelines and UBC Senate's Policy On Student Conduct During Examinations.
  • Arrive at the designated room well in advance of the exam start time.
  • If required, an exam coordinator or chief invigilator will be there to meet you and provide additional instructions.
  • The exam coordinator or chief invigilator will have the exams, supplies and sign-in sheets as required, and will be your point of contact for any questions or emergencies that you may encounter during the exam.
  • Students will enter the room about 10-15 minutes before the exam. 

When students arrive

  • Check with the chief invigilator or exam coordinator on exam distribution and student sign-in.
  • Where it is deemed appropriate to seat students first and then hand out exams, you may be able to check IDs left on the desk once students have started writing, and have them sign out when they are finished.
  • Arrange students to minimize the possibility of cheating. 
  • If the exam is assigned to a classroom, the seats available are usually twice the number of available seats. This doesn't apply to exams in the gym/SRC.
  • Remind students to use the washroom before the exam starts. Only one student should leave the exam room at a time during the exam, and only after the first half hour. If there are enough invigilators, one should accompany the student to the door of the washroom.

Permitted materials

  • Let students know what they can keep with them (UBCcard, writing instruments, clear water bottle) or use for the exam (eg. notes, books, calculator).
  • During the exam, control the materials students have in reach - nothing but essentials should be on the desk. 
  • Non-essential materials must be kept out of reach. 
  • Confiscate materials if the student will not show you what information it contains. 
  • Depending on the room layout, students place their bags at the front or back of the room, only taking out picture ID and permitted materials. For exams written in the gym or SRC, students who are not comfortable leaving their valuables at the front or back of the room may keep their bags or purses out of reach and out of sight, under their chairs, and may not access their bags at any time during the exam. 
  • According to the Senate Policy on Student Conduct During Examinations, exam candidates must not use or make visible for use any materials or devices other than those authorized by the examiner or instructor.

At The Beginning Of The Exam

  • Explain that rules governing their conduct are outlined in the Senate Policy on Student Conduct During Examinations and that the applicable rules from this policy are printed on the official exam booklets.
  • Let students know that glancing at another's papers or exposing their papers to others, even if inadvertently, is a violation of exam rules and could lead to disciplinary action.
  • At the start of exam, let students know the fire alarm and emergency procedures
  • Count exams before handing them out. You may want to make an identifying mark on the exams to prevent students from submitting prewritten pages. 
  • Remind students to turn off their cell phones. If a phone rings during the exam, have them turn it off immediately. If there is an emergency that requires the student to answer the call, they should leave the room. The chief inviglator will determine whether the student can resume the exam. 
  • Make sure all students identify themselves on the exam paper in ink with name, student number and signature.
  • Require all students to show their UBC card or display it on their desks. Check identities against the class list. If a student does not have student card, ask for other official photo ID, such as a driver's license. If the student is unknown to the invigilators and does not have any form of ID to present, take the student's name and student number, and take a photo of the student with a cellphone to compare to their student records when possible. 

During The Exam

  • Never leave the room or exam materials unattended.
  • Control the distribution of exams to ensure no exams are removed from the room. If you distribute exam papers before the students enter room, collect all exams from unoccupied desks.
  • Control the movement of students in and out of the room. 
    • No students should be permitted to leave within the first half hour.
    • No students should be permitted to enter after the first half hour. 
    • Keep a record of the names of students who leave the room temporarily or finish early (note the time they leave on their booklet)
  • Circulate frequently and be obviously present at all times. Invigilation duties require you to make every effort to prevent cheating and collusion by immediately inspecting anything irregular or suspicious

If You Observe Cheating

  • If you notice behaviour that suggests cheating (body position, unauthorized materials, etc.), talk to the student(s) quietly. If necessary, move potentially collaborating students to seats where communiation is impossible. If you suspect any other cheating, ask another invigilator to help observe the student(s).
  • If a student is caught cheating, appropriate action may include confiscating the exam along with any unauthorized material and information the student of your reason for doing so. This should be done carefully so as not to disturb other students writing exams. 
  • The implicated student(s) should then be directed to report to the department head. You and any other invigilator observing the behaviour will also need to prepare a written report for the department head as soon as possible following the incident. 
  • The penalty imposed may involve suspension from the University, so it is very important that all procedures are followed correctly. If you have questions about reporting an offence, ask your dean or the head of your faculty.

At The End Of The Exam

  • Control the collection of exams to prevent students from leaving with a copy. If you counted the exams before distributing them, count them again after you collect them to assure that no exams are unaccounted for. 
  • For exams with over 100 students, ensure that no one leaves the room in the last 10 to 15 minutes. When time is up give a clear signal and inform students to put down all writing instruments. 
  • Remind students to check for all personal items. 
  • Collect unused exam booklets and return them to the front of the room. Collect other exam material and dispose of it accordingly.

In An Emergency

  • Note the time the alarm starts. 
  • It is your responsibility to make sure students stay together and remain silent. The exam coordinator or chief invigilator will decide whether to resume or halt the exam. 
  • If a fire alarm rings in the building or if there is an emergency in the room such as a student falling ill, consult the exam coordinator to determine the correct course of action. 
  • If you ever feel threatened, contact the exam coordinator immediately, call Campus Security at 604-822-2222 or call 911.
  • Detailed procedures are on the UBC Senate website.
  • Read the Fire Alarm Procedure
  • Read the Bomb Threat Procedure