Student guidance for online exams 2021

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the University has committed to the online delivery of examinations for the academic year 2020/21. This guide for students outlines how online exams will work this year and where to go for support.

The University’s normal practice, policies and regulations in the conduct of examinations will continue to apply, although in these exceptional circumstances the University will be flexible and responsive to the ongoing and changing conditions.

Current arrangements for online examinations are underpinned by the principle that students are not disadvantaged in the completion of their examinations.

However, we are aware that some students may experience difficulties with these arrangements; in such cases, Divisional Student Support Teams are available to discuss individual concerns.

Summer support

If you are taking exams during the summer, check out our summer support webpage for academic, wellbeing and IT support.

Further guidance and policies

This guidance should be read in conjunction with the following guidance and policies:

Online exam formats

The University has committed to the delivery of online examinations utilising the following two formats: 

1. Open book exams to be completed and submitted within 24 hours of release

Open Book examinations are an assessment method designed in such a way that allows students to access materials (module notes/readings/other material) whilst answering the questions. In such cases, students are not invigilated.

Open Book examinations are not meant to take 24 hours to complete. The expected duration of these examinations remains as for the requirements were you sitting the exam under normal ‘exam-type’ conditions. This would normally be 2 or 3 hours in duration.

The 24 hour submission window is designed to support those of you who face a wide variety of disruptions in living arrangements and/or are sitting examinations in a different time zone. The 24-hour Open Book design enables you to plan and complete each examination at a time that is most convenient to you, and to break up the examination into smaller segments over the 24-hour period if this is better for you.

Students undertaking Open Book examinations are not expected to remain online in order to complete an examination within the 24 hour window. Instead, examination papers and answer templates (scripts) should be downloaded, completed and uploaded within the 24 hour timeframe. Technical guidance will be provided on how to do this. 

2. Time limited exams to be completed in one sitting and a restricted time window

Time limited examinations are designed such that all students complete the examination in one sitting (i.e. immediately following release of the exam paper). They are commonly used for subjects with professional and regulatory bodies or specific course requirements.

Time limited exams are designed such that students are not required to access materials whilst completing the exam. In this instance, the time restriction is best served by students answering questions from memory rather than consulting resources.

Students undertaking time limited examinations are not expected to remain online in order to complete an examination within the specified time frame. Instead, examination papers and answer templates (scripts) should be downloaded, completed and uploaded within the submission window. Technical guidance will be provided on how to do this.

For 2020/21, time limited examinations will apply to the following Schools and/or subject areas:

  • EDA (all modules)
  • SMSAS (all modules)
  • Economics (partial modules)
  • Psychology (partial modules)
  • SECL (partial modules)

All time limited examinations will be released at 10.00 BST to accommodate international students working in different time zones.

The time limit for each exam will be clearly stated in the Moodle Exams Section for each module.

Technical guidance

Make sure you read our technical guide to help you access your exams and upload your completed answer booklets to Moodle.

Online exams: technical guidance for students

Online exam principles

Each of the above exam formats are designed to accommodate students located either on campus or studying remotely at a distance from the University. Neither format is invigilated.

There is no expectation for either type of examination to require enhanced output, such as full references or bibliographies. Both exams types are designed to enable you to demonstrate existing knowledge and understanding of the subject area rather than to undertake additional learning or research.

While these examinations will not be conducted under invigilated conditions, you are expected to act with academic integrity, that is, to take responsibility for your own work and to acknowledge the work of others wherever it contributes to your own. Examinations answer books will be submitted via Turnitin and in accordance with University regulations. Potential breaches of academic integrity will be considered under the University’s principles and procedures for academic misconduct (pdf).

Preparing for online exams

We have developed a step-by-step guide to help you to successfully plan, revise and prepare for online exams

As part of your revision, module convenors will provide past papers where the rubric of the examination remains largely unchanged.

Modules where exam rubrics and/or design evidence significant change from previous years will provide mock papers to support you with the change to your learning and assessment.

technical guide for students on how to access and prepare for online examinations has also been developed. This includes instruction of how to utilise Moodle to undertake online examinations, how to manage and prepare for examinations over a 24 hour period, and other good examination techniques.

We have also developed a demonstration Moodle module where you can familiarise yourself with the above process. You will need to click 'Enrol me' in order to enrol yourself onto the module.

Guide to preparing for online exams

Release of exams

Examination papers will be released via Moodle in accordance with the published examination timetable. The examination timetable was published on Monday 29 March 2021.

Time limited examinations will be released at 10.00 BST to accommodate international students working in different time zones.

Online examinations will be made available in a separate section on the module Moodle page entitled ‘Examination’ at the top of the page.

The examination section in Moodle will provide both the examination paper and an answer booklet for that module. You will be required to submit completed answer booklets via Moodle within the specified timeframe 

Where can I find past exam papers?

You’ll find the past exam papers for your modules on the relevant Moodle module pages. Go to your module and find the link to Past exam papers in the left-hand menu.

Please check with your module convenor first whether the past papers remain representative of the exam format for this year. 

Mitigation of extenuating circumstances

We expect you to submit your examination answer booklet within the required timeframe for each exam. However, we understand that there may be exceptional circumstances where this is not possible.

Where you are unable to submit your examination within the specified time limit, you may still submit your answer booklet using the late submission inbox provided. Late submissions will be considered up to 48 hours after the specified examination deadline.

In all cases where you are unable to submit your exam answer (script) within the required timeframe, an application for mitigation of extenuating circumstances (pdf) will be required.

You will not be required to submit medical or other evidence in support of your mitigation application. However, where you feel it adds value to your case you may submit evidence for the Board of Examiners to take it into account. Where an application relates to Covid-19, you should provide a clear statement identifying the specific impact of Covid-19 on your learning and/or assessment.

The Board of Examiners will consider all applications for mitigation in accordance with the University’s standard policy

Opting to delay taking your exams / assessments

We know that for some of you, the impact of Covid-19 means that this has created circumstances that may now be significantly affecting your ability to engage fully in your studies. This may be because you have no quiet spaces to study and take examinations, that you have additional family and other care responsibilities, you have limited or no access to the internet and so forth. For these reasons you may not feel prepared to sit the exams or complete other forms of final, summative assessments in the Summer Term.

Should you be unable to take the Summer Term exams or complete other assessments in this period you can defer your studies. However, you should be aware that such a major decision needs careful consideration as this brings an inevitable delay to your progression to the next stage of your programme, or as a finalist to the award of your degree. There may also be financial and other impacts that you may wish to consider in the light of your personal circumstances.

Applications should be received no later than 12.00 on Wednesday 5 May 2021 to ensure that the request can be processed in good time prior to the examination(s) in question. Of course, the University will be sympathetic to any applications received after this deadline where the request arises from any genuine emergency set of circumstances.  

Should you feel that, due to the extreme personal circumstances you are experiencing during this period, you have no choice but to seek to defer, please talk to your Divisional Student Support Team at the earliest opportunity and they will advise you of the process for enabling this to happen as well as the implications of such a major decision on your academic progress. Again, there is no need to provide evidence of your circumstances - we know that students who make the decision not to engage in the Summer Term assessment period will have valid reasons for not doing so, and the Board of Examiners will take these into consideration.

However, as indicated above, there are wider consequences to be considered from this course of action and it is therefore important that you talk to your friends or family and to us before taking a final decision. 

August exams

If you decide to defer an examination or assessment from May/June you will be able to undertake a deferral examination or assessment at the next available opportunity under existing regulations.

Where a student fails one or more of their modules in May/June they will be permitted to undertake referral examination or assessment at the next available opportunity under existing regulations.

The next available opportunity for deferred and referred examinations and assessments will be 2-13 August 2021. All examinations in August will continue to be online.

Please note that in some circumstances, courses subject to professional regulation may be required to vary these examination arrangements.

If your course is subject to professional regulation, your School will inform you whether or not any variations are to be applied.

Exam FAQs

Online exams will be issued and submitted via Moodle.

We've prepared 'Online Examinations 2021 - technical guidance for students' to support you in how to access, download and upload your completed exam papers.

You can also try the submission process before your exam using the demonstration Moodle module to help you familiarise yourself with the above process. 

If you're experiencing any technical issues with the online exam process, for example, problems accessing or logging into Moodle, working with file format, accessing software or uploading exam papers, then you should contact the IT & Library Support Desk.

If not an IT query, please contact exams2021@kent.ac.uk

You should contact the module convenor in the first instance who is responsible for responding to these queries.

The examination period is calculated to ensure that you are all able to complete your exams in good time prior to graduation or progression, allowing for marking timescales and Boards of Examiners meetings, and to also allow for resit sessions.

The 24-hour window is designed to allow you to be able to sit one, or more papers over an extended period of time, allowing for differences in time zones, Inclusive Learning Plan (ILP) additional time requirements and any other requirements. 

You are expected to demonstrate academic integrity when undertaking online examinations, that is, to take responsibility for your own work and to acknowledge the work of others wherever it contributes to your own.

The University is taking the following steps to ensure academic integrity:

  • All answer scripts will be submitted via Turnitin and checked for originality on submission with University policies on academic misconduct applied as appropriate.
  • In addition, answer scripts and marks will be reviewed by Schools to identify and address possible anomalies.
  • In accordance with University regulations, any student may be called for a viva voce, that is an interview to assess knowledge and/or ascertain authorship.  

Turnitin compares the work you have submitted to other work on the internet. It then returns a comparison percentage to check for originality.

There is an expectation that there may be a low level of similarity where you may be quoting from revision materials, but it is expected that the work you submit is your own.

There is no specific threshold score as it is expected that in some disciplines, there may be a singular answer and/or resource materials, where some similarity is to be expected.

The University guidelines assume that you will abide by our normal academic integrity (anti-plagiarism) policy, including online examinations.   

Turnitin is the most widely used method of electronic submission at the University and is therefore familiar to a large number of students and staff. 

Our librarians have been working with your module convenors to make sure that core reading material for exams is available online.

Where possible try and find material that you may need for your exam beforehand. If there is no digital copy of a key text you can ask your lecturers for alternatives or ask the Library to check that we can’t provide this. 

Check our easy to use guide to make sure that you can find and access all the materials you need.

Your digital library services can connect you with many of the resources you need, wherever you are, and provides access to a wide range of digital resources such as e-books, e-journals, databases, newspapers and multimedia.

Contact IT & Library Support Desk for further help. 

There is detailed guidance on the library webpages about using e–books as well as a section in the Moodle module - Library Research Skills.  

Contact IT & Library Support Desk for further help. 

If you cannot find or access an online core and/or examination text then please contact the IT & Library Support Desk in the first instance.

Alternatively, contact your module convenor and/or subject librarian who may be able to suggest other digital resources.

Remember to check your reading list and Moodle to ensure that no digital access has been arranged. Unfortunately there are some titles the Library is just not able to get as an e-book. If this is the case then look for alternatives.  You can do this by searching on LibrarySearch.

You may find that the e-book you are searching for is already in use by other students. If this is the case don’t panic. It may become available when another student finishes using it, so check again later. 

There will also be other sources that you can use.  Look at your reading list for other core or recommended titles or search on LibrarySearch.

  • There may be other editions that you can use (check whether your module convenor has provided any advice about whether earlier editions are suitable). 
  • Try searching for title keywords to discover similar titles available digitally on LibrarySearch Digital
  • If you are on campus see if a print copy is available  
  • Look at your subject guide for other suitable resources 
  • Contact IT & Library Support Desk for further help. 

To support you in taking your online exams, we have a range of different individual, socially distanced study spaces available in the Templeman Library including desks with student PCs and space to plug in your laptop, in both silent and non-silent areas.  

Read our blog post to find out more.

The University is aware that you may be completing your examinations under conditions very different to normal.

Where your learning is negatively impacted by extenuating circumstances, you should submit an application for mitigation(pdf).

Applications for mitigation should be accompanied by supporting evidence except where related to Covid-19. In this instance, you should provide a clear statement identifying the specific impact of Covid-19 on your learning and/or assessment. The Board of Examiners will consider applications for mitigation in accordance with the University’s standard policy.

The University has prepared a support guide for you to help maximise the effectiveness of your study spaces and revision techniques.    

There is no requirement for continuous internet access throughout the whole period of the examination.

Our expectation is that you will download the examination paper and complete the paper offline within the allocated period and upload your answer booklet when you have completed your exam.

The exams are designed to take you as long as they would normally take under standard exam conditions. We certainly don’t expect you to be working on one exam paper for 24 hours.

We understand that some of you are in situations where internet connections are unreliable.

We decided that 24 hours will give time to prevent difficulties around downloading the paper and uploading the answers.

You will not have to be online throughout your exam.

You might also have particular needs that require extra time, or caring responsibilities or difficult working environments that make doing the exam at home in one sitting difficult.

We ask you to use your judgement about what will be necessary for you.

You are not expected to include enhanced outputs such as full references or bibliographies, but any quoted material should be identified using quotation marks. Answers will be tested for originality through Turnitin.    

We recognise that you will have access to materials provided during your studies (e.g. lecture and seminar notes, supplementary materials) and to online resources when undertaking online examinations. Copying and pasting content from lecture slides, coursework, assessment solutions and information from the internet is prohibited. So, too, is collusion with third parties and other students.  

All online examinations have been designed to cater for additional time ILP requirements.

1. Open book exams will operate with a 24 hour window from the timed release of each exam in which to download, complete, and upload the exam via Moodle.

The 24 hour timescale incorporates extra time in ILPs, personal circumstances and any possible IT/technical issues.

2. Time limited exams will operate within the expected time frame for standard closed book examinations plus ILP time, plus 30 minutes.

Where your ILP provides for additional time, this will be allocated to the exam duration time.  

Students requiring adjustments other than additional time will be contacted directly with further information and/or to enable discussion about how these can be delivered.

Students with queries regarding ILP adjustments should contact:

As examinations were conducted online this year, you will already have access to your unmarked scripts.

Feedback can be given on request and we strongly encourage re-sitters to seek advice and guidance about ways to improve their performance.

Contact your School for further information.

The 24 hour window has been designed to cater for all religious requirements, so you can complete the examination on a day when you are not practising your religious observance, provided you complete and upload the paper within the 24 hour window.

Yes, as per University regulations. You must not include your name on your answer document. Word File properties may also show your name, but this field is editable. Please replace this with your examination number.

Find out more on our technical guide.

The template answer booklet requires you to enter your examination number (located on your KentOne card).

It is imperative you complete this correctly in the space provided on each answer booklet (as per paper examinations).  

You should also resave the answer booklet to include your exam number in the filename using the following format:

[your exam number] [module code] AnswerBooklet.

For example, 12345XX789AnswerBooklet.docx

This is located on your Student ID (KentOne) card. It is a 5 or 6 digit number. This is shown in this sample ID card picture

You can also find your examination number on KentVision under 'My Details' > 'My Course Details'

If you have lost your KentOne Student ID card and require your Examination Number, please contact exams@kent.ac.uk providing your student ID number or email login.    

There are several places you can go for revision and assignment support, including your academic adviser and the Student Learning Advisory Service (SLAS). Find out more on the study support webpage.

You can also view our Exam Calm webpages for events and support to help you stay calm and feel prepared for your exams.

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