I have been invigilating exams for a few years now and it has been a very interesting experience. When I was an undergraduate student I believed invigilators didn’t have much to do other than signing my receipts and ensuring I don’t cheat, but now, speaking from the point of view of an invigilator, I assure you it is a very tiring job.
So the first step is to have the exam room prepared. This involves placing receipts and other materials the students need on each desk. We then allow the students to enter the room at the appropriate time ensuring they are reminded of the items which are not allowed inside the exam center. This may be annoying for some, but every day students still attempt to enter with cell phones or various forms of paper (both not allowed). Sometimes physical searching is done as well. We then hand the question papers (which are all in sealed bags) to the students approximately five minutes before the start of the exam to allow them to look through and ensure they have the correct number of printed pages. When the exam starts we collect the receipts, sign and file the original copy. The carbon copies are returned to the students when the exam is finished. During the examination session we ensure students are comfortable while we constantly look for any irregular activities or possible cheating.
The Student’s Attitude
Almost every student wait until the last minute to enter the exam center, studying to the very last minute then rush in, having less time to relax and look through the paper. Some students don’t believe that Invigilators should search or ask them anything. This is particularly true for the law and medical students who tend to be very cranky during the exam season. Students also do not like being placed in a seat, this is especially true for the social sciences students as they want to sit where they chose, randomly. This will cause a lot of problems especially if we have a full room, without order the exam session will be chaotic. Students are seated based on arrival time and are only allowed to sit in one row (sitting from top to bottom) until it is filled, the row immediately beside it becomes available. Students should be aware that cooperation is the fastest way to get ahead as we are simply doing our jobs.
The Student’s Attire
There is no dress code for examinations and students make it so obvious that there isn’t. Most students don’t really care what they wear and that’s understandable given they may be up all night studying and have no time to get dressed. I don’t believe short dresses are appropriate for exams but that’s just me, last week there was a girl in a skirt so short, I’m sure I saw her sphincter ani externus.
When it comes to the hair I believe most students can honestly say ‘I woke up like this’. When you have to study , no time for a hair do.
But on the other hand there are well-groomed students! Well dressed young ladies with make up and a proper hair do. These are the persons who believe that if they are going to fail, then they are going to look good doing it.
A few minutes after the start of an exam last semester a young lady doing a history course asked to use the bathroom. I accompanied her outside but noticed she was going in the wrong direction. I stopped her and she revealed her true intentions. She said she doesn’t know what to do on the paper and wants to go back to her car to study. I informed her that it is not allowed as she had already seen the question paper. She continued walking to her car while I tried to stop her. Thankfully a female security was nearby, I asked for her assistance but the student again lied saying she actually wants to use the bathroom. The security and I followed her but she whispered to me “I’m never coming out”. That would have been a real inconvenience so I informed the chief Invigilator, Dr. Hyslop. Many attempts were made to get her out of the bathroom but she would not budge. It took a while but she eventually came out telling us she is sick and needs to see the doctor, we offered to take her to the health center but she insisted on having her private doctor. We did not heed to that request. She then started crying saying her mom died. Of course we didn’t believe her. The security confidentially told me she believes the student was not totally sane. We all believed something was wrong with her. What scared me though was her threat. She slowly looked at me, the cause of her pain, and said. “Yuh betta nuh mek mi see you again or mi ago run yuh ova wid mi car!” I almost peed myself. After about an hour she was allowed to leave. I marked the color of her BMW, for my safety. She wrote nothing on the paper, surely she failed
The geographical cheater
A guy doing geography was cheating. He was successful, the exam was over. But when handing back his booklet the paper he brought into the exam (containing all the answers) fell to the ground, he had left it in the booklet! Thankfully the lecturer was there to see for himself. The student was written up, of course, he failed.
The missing page cheater
Last semester a few of us Invigilators saw a young man cheating, for verification, several of us watched as he copied the answer from a paper he brought into the exam. We told the chief and took the paper from him. He said he wrote the answer in the booklet and then tore it out but checking his booklet we found it was perfectly intact. We turned our backs a few seconds and he tried to tear a page out of his booklet to confirm his story. This irregularity was reported to examination section and of course he was allowed to make an attempt to defend himself. I did not hear the final result of his trial.
Exams are still in progress, if anything interesting happens I will update this post.
– Aldeam Facey 2015