Assessment and exam arrangements for 2020/21

There are some important changes to how we are organising exams and assessments this year.

Every course has its own pattern of assessments. The detailed information is available in your unit handbooks and on Blackboard.

Some of you will have exams and other timed assessments, others may only have coursework assignments with specified submission deadlines.

Preparing for online exams and timed assessments

  • Take time to review the advice available in our online and open book exams resource.  It looks at how to prepare and revise effectively for exams and what to do on the day.
  • Check out our other study skills resources including advice about studying from home.
  • Give yourself enough time to submit your work by the deadline in case you have any difficulties in electronic submission.
  • Ensure you can access your assessment wherever you are studying or email: education-services@bristol.ac.uk if you have any concerns about doing this.

Assessment periods

The formal assessment periods in the academic year 2020-21 are:

  • Monday 18 to Friday 29 January 2021
  • Monday 24 May to Monday 14 June 2021

Most exams and timed assessments are scheduled during these period.

Your school will tell you if there are variations specific to your programme of study.

Coursework deadlines may be scheduled at any point during the academic year. The details will appear in your unit pages within Blackboard or in other unit documentation.

There will be a further assessment period in August. This will be for resits and for students unable to take exams or timed assessments at the scheduled time. We will release the dates of this period as soon as possible.

Exams

All exams are online this year.

There are a few exceptions in some practical subjects. Your school will tell you if there are any course-specific arrangements like this.

Some schools will run timed online exams where you will need to submit your answer by a specified deadline.

Arrangements for your exam will be on the Blackboard page for your unit.

Exam start time

Exams will start at 9.45 am British time. If it is not possible to make this time because:

  • you are in a different time zone
  • you have particular circumstances such as caring responsibilities or no permanent access to a suitable space

Tell your school office.

In these cases, you will be allowed to begin your exam at 3.45 pm, British time.

Get your exam paper

  • You can download your exam paper from the Blackboard unit site up to one working day before the exam starts. The paper will be password protected.
  • We will email you the password for the paper about 10 minutes before the exam starts.
  • The password will also appear in the announcements on your Blackboard unit site.

Time allowed for the exam

The exam paper will show how much time you have to complete the paper. If you have alternative arrangements agreed in advance, you may be entitled to extra time in line with your Disability Support Statement. In most exams, you will have 1 extra hour to upload your answers. Normally this will be to Blackboard.

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) exams may run on a separate software programme. If this is the case, you will not need to upload these answers to Blackboard. These exams are already timed to include the technical requirements and do not need an extra hour.

Items allowed during your exam

You can use your notes, textbooks and any online materials.

You do not need to provide a reference for either your own notes or any University of Bristol teaching materials. You should provide a reference to any external sources you have used.

Online exams are like regular exams and will not usually require you to produce work which needs a large amount of research or references.

During the exam

If you have a technical difficulty before or during the exam, contact our service desk: tel: +44 (0) 117 374 2833 or email: service-desk@bristol.ac.uk.

If you think there is a mistake on the exam paper, make a note in your answers. Your markers will take these comments into account when marking. Work through the question as best you can. Spend a sensible amount of time and move on to the next question. There is no need to contact either the Exams Office or your school.

At the end of the exam

The submission deadline will be available on the Blackboard page for your unit. If you have a technical difficulty uploading uploading your answers, contact our service desk: tel: +44 (0) 117 374 2833 or email: service-desk@bristol.ac.uk.

If your technical difficulties prevent you from completing the assessment before it ends, please contact your School immediately.

Alternative Exam Arrangements (AEAs)

Your school will tell you your submission deadline if you have accepted alternative exam arrangements. You must submit your request for AEAs before the deadline. The deadline to apply for the January 2021 assessment period is 5 pm, Wednesday 2 December 2020. Find out more about Alternative Exam Arrangements.

Seven-day timed assessments

Some schools are running seven day timed assessments instead of or as well as online exams and coursework.

Your school will tell you how long you should expect to spend on each assessment. This will normally be a number of hours but may be longer. Plan your time carefully if you are working on more than one assessment in a week so that you give proportionate time to each. You can choose the best time to complete the assessment within the seven days. This will help you balance this work with your other commitments.

Alternative Exam Arrangements (AEAs)

If you have more time allowed because of accepted AEAs, add this to the time allowed for each assessment within the seven-day period.

Assessment information

  • You can download your paper from Blackboard unit site at the start of the seven day period.
  • We will tell you the submission deadline on the Blackboard unit site.
  • Aim to submit your work before the deadline in case you have technical difficulties uploading your answers.  If you have a technical difficulty before or during the exam, contact our service desk: tel: +44 (0) 117 374 2833 or email: service-desk@bristol.ac.uk.

Exam timetables

We are expecting to publish the exams timetable on 15 December.

We will send you an email with a link to 'SLS Exam Timetables'. Log in with your student number to get your personal timetable.

This will include details of timed online exams. It will not include details of seven-day timed assessments or other coursework requirements. Your schools will inform you on any seven-day timed assessments.

Plan your time

Make sure you know which other assessments you need to complete for units you are taking in Teaching Block 1. This information will be available in Blackboard or you can ask your school office if you are unsure.

You may find you have more than one seven-day timed assessment in a single week. If this is the case:

  • Plan your time during the week so you can spend the recommended time on each assessment.
  • Remember that you may also have one or more exams.

We aim to ensure that no student has more than three timed assessments (including exams) in any seven-day period.

If your timetable shows you have more than three, tell your school office. They will make alternative arrangements for you. This is most likely to be allowing extra time for one or more of the seven-day timed assessments.

Assessment support and extenuating circumstances

Special arrangements are in place if you fall ill before or during an exam or timed assessment, or if you are unable to start or complete an exam.

We have put in place a range of measures to cover this year’s particular arrangements. However, we recognise that some of you will need to make us aware of additional circumstances which have affected your studies.

These may or may not be related to Coronavirus.  Find out more about our assessment support and extenuating circumstances.

Academic integrity

We expect you to maintain the highest standards of academic integrity, as set out in the University Policy on Academic Integrity (PDF, 334kB) and the Student Agreement (PDF, 799kB).

  • You must not collaborate or work with anyone else on your exam, either physically or virtually.
  • The work submitted must be entirely your own.
  • We will view any instances of collusion as cheating and will take them very seriously.

Wellbeing and other support

We have a range of support available to you during the assessment period and throughout the year:

  • Your school office can answer specific queries about the arrangements for your assessments.
  • Your personal tutor or the school's senior tutor can support your progress through the year.
  • Our Student Wellbeing Service offer help and guidance if you are experiencing challenges, or want some extra support.
  • If you need wellbeing and mental health support, contact Wellbeing Access.
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