During your exams


Students chatting at locker

The people responsible for supervising the exams on SQA’s behalf are called ‘Invigilators’.

The Invigilator’s job is to stay in the exam room to make sure that the exam goes ahead according to the rules and that the rules are applied fairly. You must follow any instructions you are given by the Invigilator.

The Invigilator will also get help for you if you feel unwell or upset.


In most schools or colleges, you will be allocated a desk or seat number for each exam. Your teacher or lecturer should tell you this. Make sure you know your desk/seat number before the exam.

If you are late

If you're late for an exam, you must report to the teacher or lecturer in charge of SQA exams, who will advise whether or not you may sit the exam.

In the exam room

Things you must not have in your possession during the exam:

  • mobile phones
  • electronic devices including, but not limited to, MP3 players, iPods, tablets and smartwatches
  • calculator — except in specified subjects
  • dictionary — except in specified subjects
  • cases — calculator or pencil, etc
  • books, notes, sketches, paper of any kind, or any other prohibited item

When specific or authorised items are needed for use in exams, you must make sure they meet SQA regulations (your teacher or lecturer can advise you about this). If they are electronic items, you must make sure that there is no access to prohibited data or any additional features that are not allowed in the exam.

If you plan to use your own dictionary in any Modern Languages exams where dictionaries are permitted, this must be checked before the exam. Your teacher or lecturer will be able to tell you how to go about this. 

You must not have the following in your possession 


Use of electronic equipment must be authorised by SQA and meet our regulations.

Question papers and answer booklets

Your question papers and answer booklets will all be printed on white paper unless your school or college has requested another colour (as part of an assessment arrangement).

In some exams you will get a separate question paper and answer booklet. The answer booklet should contain the same subject name and level details as the question paper.

Read the instructions on the front of each question paper, and make sure you follow them carefully. You should complete your details neatly and legibly on the front of the question paper or answer booklet.

If you need extra paper, ask the Invigilator. Remember to put your name, SCN and school or college name on any extra paper before it is collected by the Invigilator, and put any extra sheets inside your answer booklet.

In some subjects, additional pages or graph paper may be provided at the end of the answer booklet for you to use.

Blank pages in the question paper

Pages in the question paper that do not contain questions or instructions will have the statement BLANK PAGE printed in bold in the centre of the page. No page should be completely blank.

Make sure you work through the question paper until you see the statement END OF QUESTION PAPER. There will be no more questions you need to read or answer after this. If you find a page that is completely blank before you see this statement, please bring this to the attention of the Invigilator.

Any statements after this point are related to copyright legislation which requires SQA to acknowledge the sources of any text extracts or graphics that were used in the question paper. You don’t need to read these.

Writing your answers

Use a pen with black or blue ink (do not use gel pens), and write legibly and neatly.

Markers will do their best to read your work. However, they might not be able to award marks if your writing is illegible or too untidy to read. In some subjects, poor spelling and punctuation may also result in marks not being awarded. If you have any concerns about this, you should speak to your teacher or lecturer.

You must not use text language, or any rude, abusive, offensive or discriminatory language or images in any of your answers.

When writing on unlined answer books, try to leave a space of about a centimetre between lines.

Data booklets

You will be given booklets of tables or data when these are part of the exam. Some exams will have additional data sheets inserted in the front of the question paper booklet. You must not mark the data booklets in any way or take them from the exam room.

Rough work

All rough work must be done in the answer book supplied unless you are instructed to use the rough-working sheet provided.

If you have made several attempts to answer a question, please cross out all unwanted answers and rough work belonging to these attempts when you have finished.

Leaving the exam room

If you have done as much of a paper as you can, the Invigilator may allow you to leave after half an hour (where the exam is more than one hour) or after 20 minutes (if the exam is one hour or less). Remember, you need the Invigilator’s permission to leave an exam early.

Before leaving, you must give your answer booklet and question paper to the Invigilator, whatever it contains — otherwise, you may lose all the marks for the paper concerned.


If you are prevented from sitting the exam, or part of it, by illness or any other good reason, you should report this immediately to the teacher or lecturer responsible for SQA exams at your school or college. If you begin to feel unwell during the exam, you should notify the Invigilator immediately. 

General information


 arrive in good time — about 10 minutes before the exam starts
 take the right equipment — black or blue ink pens, etc
 check you have been given the correct exam question paper
 complete all your details on the front of the question paper or answer booklet
 read all instructions and listen carefully for any announcements or additional
instructions from the Invigilator — the person who supervises the exam
 remember to cross out any rough work that is not part of your answer
 put your name and SCN on every piece of work that you hand in — you can take your SCN card into the exam room
 if you feel unwell, tell the Invigilator
 stay in the room until the exam is finished — you may only leave early with the permission of the Invigilator


X do not copy from someone else, or share your work with anyone else
X do not use text language or any rude, abusive, offensive or discriminatory language or images in your answers
X do not behave disruptively or cause a disturbance in the exam room
X do not share equipment with anyone else

You must not have the following in your possession:

  • Mobile phone
  • Electronic device such as MP3 player, iPod, tablet or smartwatch
  • Book, notes, sketches or paper
  • Pencil case/calculator case
  • Calculator – except in specified subjects
  • Dictionary – except in specified subjects

Use of electronic equipment must be authorised by SQA and meet our regulations.