Exam irregularities

The University offers help and support to students who are preparing for exams. We encourage you to access the support available to enable you to maximise your academic potential.  

What is an exam irregularity?

An examination irregularity occurs when a student:

  • Seeks to improve their performance in an examination by accessing, or attempting to access, material not listed on the front of the question paper (the rubric).
  • Fails to follow instructions about the conduct of the exam, either given on the question paper or by the Invigilator.
  • Creates a disturbance during an exam.

Avoiding exam irregularities

We want your exams to go as smoothly as possible, so we have put together a Guide to Good Exam Conduct to ensure you know what the rules are and what is expected of you.

The guide can be found, along with other essential information regarding examination conduct, here : Exam rules

Students often feel under pressure during exam time and may be concerned that they will not fulfill their academic potential. The University encourages you to access the support services provided rather than risking a serious penalty by trying to get an unfair advantage in exams though the use of unauthorised materials.

If you are stressed about exams and find it hard to cope, the Counselling and Guidance service runs workshops and drop-ins to help you manage anxiety and overcome procrastination.  Learning Support offer advice on efficient revision and examination preparation:

The investigation process

Initial procedure

An independent Student Conduct Officer will investigate each allegation of an exam irregularity. You will have an interview with the Investigating Officer, who will make a decision, based on the evidence, about how to proceed. The Investigating Officer may decide to deal with your case summarily, which means the case will then be closed. However, for more serious allegations the case may be referred to a College Misconduct Committee.

Our guidelines, Guidelines on exam irregularities (PDF - 65 KB), explain more about the initial investigation process.

Section 8.3 of the University Regulations (PDF - 55KB), outlines the official process.

Referral to College Misconduct Committee

If, based on the evidence, the Officer considers that your case is serious, it will be referred to a College Misconduct Committee. This committee will hear your case in strict accordance with the Code of Practice below, to ensure fairness. You should read carefully through the Code of Practice so that you know what to expect.


The University takes all instances of exam irregularity very seriously. A range of sanctions can be applied if you are found, based on evidence, to have committed an irregularity: 

If your case is dealt with summarily, the Student Conduct Officer can apply the sanctions outlined in Section 8.3 of the University Regulations (PDF - 55KB).

If your case is serious and the College Misconduct Committee finds that academic misconduct is proven, then it can apply the sanctions outlined in section 6 of the Code of Practice on Misconduct and Fitness to Practise (PDF - 61KB).

Instances of proven, serious examination irregularity may lead to withdrawal from the University. 

Appealing the decision

You may appeal in writing within 15 working days against the decision of the College committee, specifying the grounds of appeal, by using the following form:


All cases will be recorded on the Student Conduct Office database and this information will be retained in accordance with the departmental record retention policy.

Help and support during the investigation

We know that the investigation can be a very stressful time for you. Use our sources of help and support to find the help you need, whether it is advice on the process or simply someone to talk to.