How 2020-21 exams will be run

In 2020-21 all exams will be delivered online during the published exam periods, except where your department has advised you that assessments will be held in-person on campus.

Online exams are delivered using FASER, Moodle and Questionmark Perception.

Where your module was due to be assessed by an exam, your department will provide you with information on how you will be assessed online and support you with preparing for the assessment. 

Online exam formats

The format of your online exam will vary. You can contact your school/department for more information about these assessments; what is expected of you; and how to prepare. Generally there are three types of online exam:

  • Take-home exam via FASER - Take-home exams via FASER are made up of a number of questions that you can answer over a limited time period. The question paper will be available for you to download from FASER in one of the common file formats (Word or PDF) and when you have completed the exam you will upload your work back into FASER. The front page of the exam paper will tell you whether you need to type your answers on the question paper or upload them as a separate file.
  • Quiz via Moodle - Some online exams will be in the form of a Moodle Quiz. These tend to include multiple-choice questions (MCQ) and in some cases essay-style questions as well. 
  • Multiple-choice questions exam via Questionmark Perception - A small number of online exams will be provided through Questionmark Perception and these will usually be Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ). 

Your personal exam timetable will show the date and time of your exam and the platform it is using (FASER, Moodle or Questionmark Perception).  You can access the relevant platform by clicking the link provided on your timetable.

Online exams are open-book exams, which means you can refer to books and your notes to help you to write your answers. However, it is important that it is your own work, so you may not get help from others. Please see the section below on academic integrity.

For many online exams you will have longer to write and submit your answers than you might have experienced for in-person exams in previous years, for example 24 hours. You will not need, and are not expected, to spend all this time on the exam. The extended time period has been provided so that you have flexibility to plan your time and to work on your exam at a time that suits you and your circumstances. The duration also allows time for you to download the exam and to upload your answers. Your school/department will provide you with guidance on how long you might expect to spend on writing your answers/the expected length of an answer. You should normally expect to be able to write your answers in the same period of time that a standard exam would take, however, you do not need to do this all in one block of time.

Your exam timetable

Your exam timetable will be published according to this schedule.

The timetable shows the date and time when the exam questions will be released, and the date and time when your answers are due to be submitted. For each module shown on your timetable there is a link to FASER, Moodle or Questionmark Perception where you will be able to access the question paper at the time shown. To report a problem with your exam timetable, you should go to your online exam timetable and use the link to the form to report a problem. This could be an exam clash; an exam that is not showing; or an exam that you are not expecting to sit. Alternatively, email exams@essex.ac.uk. If you have two exams of less than 23 hours 59 minutes that overlap, please email the Exams Team immediately, and we will investigate for you.

If your exams overlap, but one or more of these exams is 23 hours 59 minutes or longer, then please be aware that you are not expected to spend all of the allocated time on the exam. You should only be spending a similar amount of time to that which you would normally spend in an exam hall - usually two or three hours. The extended time period has been provided, where possible, to give you the flexibility to plan your time and work on your exam at a time that suits you and your circumstances, and to allow you time to download the question paper and upload your answers. If you have, for example, a 24-hour exam that overlaps with a 48-hour exam, this is considered reasonable for scheduling purposes, because both of those exams should take you between two and four hours to complete (approximately), and it is normal practice for a student to be assigned two exams within a 48-hour period.

If, however, you feel that the scheduling of two exams with overlapping completion windows negatively impacts your performance in either exam, please complete an extenuating circumstances form.

Preparing for your exams

Library Services - Talk to our library team, they are there to help you and provide advice about online resources to support your exam preparation.

Access to technology - You will need access to a computer and internet connection to take your exams online.  If you need help with equipment/digital costs, please see our hardship fund. If you experience problems with your technology that prevent you from taking the exam, please submit a Notified Absence from Exams form on MyEssex and select “Lack of IT facilities” as your reason for absence.

Exam practice - If you’re not familiar with using FASER or Moodle, we have set up some practice areas for you to try out ahead of your exams.

If you are unable to log in to FASER or Moodle, please contact the IT Helpdesk by emailing it.helpdesk@essex.ac.uk so that this can be resolved in time for your exams.

Help while your exam is in progress

Exam question queries

When you have downloaded or started an online exam, if you have a question that relates to the content of the exam questions, you should contact your school or department using the email address shown on the front of the paper.

Other exam queries

If you have a question or require support while taking an online exam, help is available by contacting:

Support is available on any day on which exams are running (including Saturdays, where applicable) from 8am until half-an-hour after the exam ends.

IT support

If you need technical help, our support staff are available by contacting:

Support is available on any day on which exams are running (including Saturdays, where applicable) from 8am until half-an-hour after the exam ends.

Wellbeing support

Please contact the Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity Service team if you need support dealing with your current circumstances. You can find more information about support with mental and emotional health on the Student Directory.

You can also contact the team by live chat

Individual exam arrangements

Extra time (writing and non-writing time)

If your exam is under 23 hours 59 minutes in length, your extra time will be in place. Although rest break time is not included in the exam length shown on your exam timetable as it is programmed into the submission times on FASER or Moodle.

For exams of 23 hours 59 minutes or longer, all students have been given extra time so that you have flexibility to plan your time and work on your exam in a way that suits you and your circumstances.

Your school/department will provide guidance on how long you might expect to spend on writing your answers and/or the expected length (i.e. word count) of those answers, and you can add your extra writing time to those guide times. If you feel that this arrangement has a negative impact on your performance in the exam, please submit an extenuating circumstances claim form.

Extra equipment

The University won't be able to provide this equipment for remote exams. If you feel that this has a negative impact on your performance in the exam, please complete an extenuating circumstances form.

Rest breaks

Your submission deadline on FASER or Moodle will be adjusted automatically to take account of your rest break time for assessments under 23 hours 59 minutes in length.

If your exam is 23 hours 59 minutes or longer, then you will already be able to take more frequent and longer breaks during the exam, so no additional time will be added.


Reader / scribe

Exceptionally in these timed take-home assessments, you will be able to use your assistive software and other strategies you would normally when completing your coursework assignments. We anticipate therefore that you will not need a human examination scribe or reader in place and will be able to use a computer. If you have questions or concerns about this please contact your named adviser in SWIS by emailing include@essex.ac.uk as soon as you review your exam timetable.

Injury

If you have an injury please contact SWIS by emailing include@essex.ac.uk and provide further information and medical evidence so any adjustments required can be considered.

Purple book / cover sheet

A purple book is not provided, please complete a cover sheet in the same way you would for coursework assignments. To download a cover sheet:

  1. Log on to FASER with your username and password
  2. Click the 'Help and Support' tab on the left-hand panel Click on 'Student Support' on the drop-down menu
  3. Download your cover sheet
  4. Submit this by uploading it alongside your exam.
 

Academic integrity – plagiarism and collusion

Answers must be your own work and must not be attempted with the help of other people. If there is a suspected case of academic misconduct this will be treated in the same way as all plagarism and collusion cases at the University and will be taken very seriously.

You must use your own words to answer questions, and should not cut and paste material.

If you refer to external sources such as books or journal articles, you must reference them in the way that you normally would in a typical exam situation, unless the front page of the exam paper tells you to do something different.

For more information see our academic integrity pages, where you will find explanations of the academic offence procedures and guidance on maintaining high academic standards. There are various penalties for academic offences, including formal written warnings, mandatory reassessment for capped or uncapped marks, a mark of zero for the assessment or module in which the offence occurred, or - in the most serious of cases - withdrawal from the University.

Academic integrity is taken very seriously at the University, whether exams take place online or in person. The use of messaging apps and platforms to copy the work of others, work collaboratively for individual assessment, or to have discussions with others during your exam is prohibited and will be investigated as a suspected case of academic misconduct. It is your responsibility to ensure that you complete your exams with honesty and integrity.

If you are unsure about how you are expected to approach your online exam, please contact your department for advice.

Sitting exams outside of the UK

The times shown on your timetable are in UK time. Please convert this to your local time, if you are undertaking your online exam outside of the United Kingdom. If you are sitting exams with a short duration (less than 23 hours 59 minutes), and the time zone in your location makes it impossible for you to take the exam, you should complete our Notified Absence form via My Essex. You do not need to submit an extenuating circumstances form or provide any evidence. If you are sitting exams with a short duration (less than 23 hours 59 minutes), and you feel that the time zone in your location has negatively impacted your performance in an exam, you should submit an extenuating circumstances claim form.

For assessments that last for 24 hours or more, we hope that you will be able to take the assessment at a convenient time for you within that period. We advise that you try to download the paper and read through the questions while our support staff are available, in case you need help or have a question. However, if you think that you have been disadvantaged by sitting the assessment in a different time zone, for example if you were unable to access timely support and advice, you should submit an extenuating circumstances claim.

Exam absences and extenuating circumstances

Extenuating circumstances

If you think that your performance in an exam has been affected by circumstances beyond your control, you should submit an extenuating circumstances claim by the relevant deadline.

Guidance, deadlines and a link to the form can be found on the extenuating circumstances webpages.

Notified Absence

If you can’t take an online exam at the scheduled date and time, please complete a Notified Absence from Exams form on MyEssex. You do not need to provide any evidence and you do not need to make an extenuating circumstances claim.

Late submission of online exams

Exams of under 24 hours' duration

If the length of the exam is less than 23 hours 59 minutes and delivered on FASER, an additional hour has already been added to the standard time for the exam to reflect the fact that it is being delivered online. This is to allow time for you to download the question paper and upload your answers. There will be technical support available in case you have any difficulties and you are encouraged to use the practice test available in advance. Should you still experience difficulties uploading your completed work, you should email your work within the allotted period to submitexam@essex.ac.uk.

Should the work be submitted late, your late submission will be treated as a missed assessment and will not be marked (see the information about extenuating circumstances). You may wish to make an extenuating circumstances claim.

Exams of 24 hours and over

If the duration of the exam is 23 hours 59 minutes or more, you should upload your answer to FASER and submit a late submission claim using the extenuating circumstances form on My Essex. You should submit your work no later than 24 hours after the published deadline. You should explain the extenuating circumstances that caused you to submit your work after the deadline. We understand that you may not be able to provide evidence to support your claim. Your school/department will decide whether to accept your claim. If your claim is accepted, your work will be marked. 

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