Your Exams

Most exams in the 20/21 academic year are being run online via Blackboard, the University’s Virtual Learning Environment. You can log into Blackboard where you can do a practise test. You will not be required to come onto campus to undertake an exam unless your course team tells you that you need to because you have to use special equipment, for example the Sports Lab, to do your exam which you can’t access at home. If are required to come onto campus for an exam, you will receive more details about this from your course team. For centrally-organised exams normally held in May each year, a timetable has been provided on the exams webpage. The online exams will start at 9.30am and 2.00pm UK summertime (GMT+1). If your exam is a 24- or 48-hour exam, the questions will be made available to you on the date and time listed on the timetable.

Your exam will either be a timed exam (for example, 2 hours) or it will be set as an open-book-style exam for up to 24 or 48 hours. This doesn’t mean that you should spend the whole 24 or 48 hours writing your answers, but that the questions will be made available to you for at the start of a 24- or 48-hour period and you must submit your answers before the end of that period. 24 or 48 hour exams must be submitted on Blackboard by the stated ‘End Date and Time’; they cannot be submitted after this date and time.

For open-book-style exams, your module tutor or academic responsible for the exam should offer you guidance on how long you should spend answering the questions or if there is a word limit to how much you should write. Shorter timed exams will be delivered as Tests on Blackboard, although your lecturer may call them exams. Psychology exams are being set as timed exams (90 or 120 minutes) which you can take at any point within the allocated 48-hour period. Once you have started your exam, you will have the allotted time to finish it (either 90 or 120 minutes as indicated on the test). The exam can only be attempted once and students will be unable to take an exam once the given 48-hour period has ended.

All online exam questions, including Blackboard Tests, will be made available to you in the Blackboard shell for the module – the same shell where you go to look at teaching materials or to join an online lecture. Your tutors will tell you exactly where you can find the online exam in the module shell, but you should also ask them if you are unsure. You will need to click on the Begin button to access the exam. For a 24-hour exam, academics will make the questions available in the Assignment Brief Information section on the Blackboard shell.

We recommend that you try to use a wired connection, where possible, when taking a Test on Blackboard as this is more stable. It is also very important that you use Google Chrome to access Blackboard Tests. These are formal examinations subject to the University’s regulations, and we recommend that you try to simulate exam conditions as much as possible e.g. if you can, find a quiet space where you can do your exam.

All timed exams up to 3 ¼ hours in length will have an additional 30 minutes added to the exam time for all students in case you experience technical difficulties during the exam or whilst uploading your work. If your exam is set as a 24-hour or 48-hour open exam, no extra time will be allocated for technical difficulties. When planning your exam time, you should consider IT Service Desk opening hours - Mon-Fri 8am-7pm.

The University will make every effort to support your personal examination needs. Academic Registry will inform all module leaders about students who have personal exam provisions. Due to COVID restrictions, we cannot provide a physical scribe (amanuensis) or reader for you, but you can use the following as alternatives to the provisions you are offered for in-person exams on campus:

  • Readers: there is a free app that turns text to speech which you can download from.
  • Scribes/amanuensis: you should be able to use the assistive software already on your computers such as DSA-provided Read&Write software. If you are registered with the Disability Services at Bucks, your advisor should already have discussed with you any additional funding you entitled to such as DSA which covers any software that you require. If you are unsure about the software that you should use, please contact the Disability Service. You can email them at disability.service@bucks.ac.uk.
  • Extra time: all students with personal exam provisions will be given 25% additional time for exams 3 ¼ hours and under as a blanket adjustment. Those students who are entitled to more (e.g. rest breaks) will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. If your exam is available for 24 hours, no extra time will be given beyond the 24 hours.
  • My exam paper is normally printed on coloured paper: you can change the background colour of your computer screen. If you have not done this already, please contact the IT Help Desk as they can help you with this. You can email them at IT@bucks.ac.uk

In Tests on Blackboard, there is a Timer in the bottom left corner of the screen which will tell you how many minutes you have left. During the last minute of the test, it will count down how many seconds you have left.

You submit your Test on Blackboard by pressing ‘Save and Submit’ at the end of the Test once you are happy with your answers. If this exam hasn’t been set up as a Test, the course team will set up a Submission Point online as they have done for all your other submissions throughout the year. You should upload your answers to this submission point. If you are a PEP student, a separate submission point will be set up for you with the extra time allocated for submission.

No, you cannot submit your exam late, unless you have valid mitigating circumstances. You will need to submit a mitigating circumstances claim and you can find more information about this here. As the timed exams already include additional time for technical difficulties, you should be aware that these will not normally be accepted as grounds for mitigating circumstances.

If your exam is run as a Blackboard Test, your results will appear on MyGrades. For other exams, your results will be released in Turnitin Assignments in the same way that your marks for other assignments are released to you.

These are formal examinations, subject to university regulations and policies including our Academic Misconduct Policy. You must not contact another student or individual during the exam or discuss the questions or your answers, or the answers of others, with other students. The work you submit must be your own, and any references to the work of others you may make must be clearly referenced.

If you believe there is an error or a problem with the exam paper you should contact your module leader/academic responsible for the exam by email as soon as possible. If your exam is available for a 24 or 48 hour period, we strongly recommend that you do the exam at a time when your module leader or academic responsible for the exam is available. If you take your exam outside working hours, e.g in the evening (UK time), for example, your module leader may not be available to answer any questions you may have.