Exam invigilator

An exam invigilator, exam proctor or exam supervisor is someone who is appointed by the examination board and services for maintaining the proper conduct of a particular examination in accordance with the exam regulations. It is the duty of the exam invigilator to watch the examination candidates to prevent cheating during the examination.[1] They are required to ensure that all the exams are carried out according to the rules set out by the exam board which allows each candidate to sit for the examination under equal conditions as other candidates throughout the country.

An invigilator overseeing an exam in the US Navy
An invigilator proctoring an exam in Tanzania

Exam Invigilators are appointed to a position of trust and they should possess the quality of integrity and vigilance to conduct the examinations in exact accordance with the examination board’s instructions. They are appointed by different educational institutions to help prepare and carry out the examination procedures according to their rules and regulations of the examination board.


The purpose of exam invigilation is to ensure that all candidates are under active surveillance for every moment of the duration of the examination. Invigilators should also try to provide a suitably pleasant and supportive atmosphere for candidates.[2] However, they must also ensure and prevent any kind of communication between candidates (by copying, whispering or any kind of signal, exchange of paper or objects) and any kind of access to books, papers or electronic media of any kind (unless specifically authorized) for the exam duration.[3]

Invigilators also need to ensure the security of the examination hall before, during and after the examination.[4] From the moment the question papers are given out until all answers are collected, exam invigilators should patrol vigilantly. Particular emphasis should be given to multiple-choice and short-answer questions. The main goal should be to prevent possible candidate malpractice and administrative failures.

Invigilators required for examsEdit

The minimum number of invigilators required for different kinds of examinations depends on the type of examinations held. For general written examinations, there should be at least one invigilator present against every 30 students for patrolling and vigilance at the examination hall.[5]

Duties of an exam invigilatorEdit

General dutiesEdit

The main duty of an exam invigilator is to support the Chief Invigilator, the Deputy Chief Invigilator, the Examinations Officer and the other invigilators at the examination venue.

Some of the other general duties may include:[6]

  1. Setting up the examination venues by placing candidate numbers, booklets, examination papers, stationery and equipment at desks in accordance with strict procedures.
  2. Implementing the exam rules and regulations and remaining vigilant throughout the examination duration.
  3. Assisting the candidates before, during and after the examination by directing them to their seats, advising them about possessions permitted at examination venues and dealing with queries raised by candidates etc.
  4. Invigilating carefully, making sure that candidates do not talk inside examination venues and also responding to any examination irregularities immediately.
  5. Checking attendance during examinations, recording details of late arrivals and ensuring that proper seating plans are followed.
  6. Escorting candidates during water breaks or washroom breaks as required and detecting any unauthorized materials inside the examination hall.
  7. Delivering and collecting scripts carefully at the start and end of the examination in accordance with strict examination procedures.
  8. Assisting with the packing of examination scripts, stationery and other equipment from the examination venues.
  9. Supervising candidates in leaving the examination venues in a quiet and disciplined manner and ensuring that candidates do not remove equipment or stationery from the examination venue without the permission of the authority.

Before the examEdit

Before the start of the examination, exam invigilators must be fully briefed and trained before carrying out the task of invigilation in their respective venues. It is essential that exam invigilators familiarize themselves with the appropriate examination regulations and procedures before attending the examination hall.

Exam invigilators should arrive at the examination hall at least one hour before the start of the examination to report for their duty and remain for an additional hour after the exams to collect and wrap up the examination scripts.

Before the candidates arrive, exam invigilators must prepare the examination venue by placing the required answer booklets, reference booklets, candidate numbers and other supplementary materials on candidates' desks. They must make sure that the time of the clock at the examination venue is set correctly and necessary instructions are clearly displayed at the front of the examination hall for the candidates. They should also help direct students to their seats and prohibit the entrance of forbidden items such as mobile phones, smart watch, headphones, portable audio/video/gaming devices and textbooks at the examination hall.[7]

During the examEdit

During the examination, all exam invigilators must give their whole attention to the examination process. At this time, they must be vigilant, mobile and attentive and should not perform any other tasks throughout the examination’s duration.[8]

At this time, exam invigilators must respond to queries from candidates immediately and assist the candidates as per their needs. Within the first 30 minutes of the examination, the invigilators should take the attendance of the candidates in the attendance record sheet and sign it before submitting it to the Chief Invigilator. While checking the attendance, they must also check the candidate's name, candidate number, passport, admit card or examination entrance card etc.[9]

Exam invigilators must deal with students who arrive late at the examination venue and record their attendance and consult with the Chief Invigilator to determine whether extra time will be granted to such candidates or not.

Invigilators must not permit candidates to leave the examination hall room during the first 1-hour and the last 15 minutes of the examination. They should also take immediate actions in case of candidates caught cheating during the examination and report to the Chief Invigilator. If unauthorized materials are found inside the examination hall, they should remove them immediately. In the event of an emergency or fire alarm, invigilators should follow the emergency exit procedures and lead the candidates safely outside the examination hall.

Invigilators must be as quiet as possible during the examination duration but also remain vigilant to the candidates. They should not explain any questions asked by the candidates or allow any other person to ask questions of, or read answers to, the candidates.[10]

After the examEdit

After the examination is over, the exam invigilators should collect the scripts, question papers, stationery and other reference booklets from the candidates and check that all the required information (name, candidate number, venue, date etc.) have been filled out by the candidates on their scripts properly. When all the scripts are collected, invigilators should release candidates and direct them towards the exit of the examination hall in complete silence.


E-proctoring, also known as remote proctoring,[11] is a form of exam proctoring which involves monitoring student behaviour during exams administered electronically, including those given as part of e-learning or remote learning.[12][13]

Concerns about the use of commercial e-proctoring services include violations of students' privacy[14][15] and impact to students' mental health.[16]

There is some evidence to suggest that it is possible to circumvent e-proctoring software.[17] In addition, there have been reports of user data from commercial e-proctoring services being hacked, resulting in hundreds of thousands of users' data being released.[18][19]


Controversy over e-proctoring escalated during the COVID-19 pandemic,[20] when many universities,[14][16][21][22][23] K–12 schools,[24] and standardized testing organizations turned to commercial e-proctoring suppliers for services.[25][26][27][28][29][30] Students across the world protested the use of commercial e-proctoring services at their post-secondary institutions.[15][14][16][31][32] The situation escalated further when e-proctoring software company Proctorio sued a university employee at the University of British Columbia over alleged breach of copyright.[33] The employee was critical of Proctorio on social media and posted links to unlisted YouTube videos produced by the company.[34][35][36] A court ruling on the case was published on 15th June 2021. [37]


  1. ^ "invigilator" – via The Free Dictionary.
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  3. ^ "British Council Invigilators Job requirements – Job description / Code of Practice". Archived from the original on July 14, 2014.
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  5. ^ "Invigilators FAQs". Cambridge International Examinations. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014.
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  12. ^ Bacow, Lawrence; Bowen, William; Guthrie, Kevin; Lack, Kelly; Long, Matthew (2015). "Barriers to Adoption of Online Learning Systems in U.S. Higher Education". Ithaka S+R. doi:10.18665/sr.22432. Retrieved 2020-09-06.
  13. ^ James, Rosalind (2016). "Tertiary student attitudes to invigilated, online summative examinations". International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education. 13 (1): 19. doi:10.1186/s41239-016-0015-0. ISSN 2365-9440. S2CID 5640.
  14. ^ a b c Alden, C. (2020). Facing student privacy concerns, UBC maintains relationship with Proctorio. The Ubyssey. Retrieved from https://www.ubyssey.ca/news/ubc-maintains-proctorio-relationship/
  15. ^ a b Chrysanthos, N. (2020, May 22). 'You’re being watched and recorded, every breath': Students unsettled by exam software. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/you-re-being-watched-and-recorded-every-breath-students-unsettled-by-exam-software-20200519-p54ucb.html
  16. ^ a b c Campus News. (2020, May 27). UPDATED: Students raise concerns over an increase in academic misconduct allegations. The Cord. Retrieved from https://thecord.ca/students-raise-concerns-over-an-increase-in-academic-misconduct-allegations/
  17. ^ Chase, R. (2018, January 18). How ProctorU and Examity make cheating on college exams easier than ever.  Retrieved from https://blog.rchase.com/how-proctoru-and-examity-make-cheating-on-college-exams-easier-than-ever/
  18. ^ Abrams, L. (2020, 28 July). Hacker leaks 386 million user records from 18 companies for free. Bleeping Computer. Retrieved from https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/hacker-leaks-386-million-user-records-from-18-companies-for-free/
  19. ^ "ProctorU confirms data breach after database leaked online". BleepingComputer. Retrieved 2020-12-01.
  20. ^ Eaton, S. E. (2020). E-Proctoring: Understanding the debate about invigilating remote exams.  Retrieved from https://drsaraheaton.wordpress.com/2020/05/12/e-proctoring-understanding-the-debate-about-invigilating-remote-exams/
  21. ^ Alden, C. (2020). Facing student privacy concerns, UBC maintains relationship with Proctorio. The Ubyssey. Retrieved from https://www.ubyssey.ca/news/ubc-maintains-proctorio-relationship/
  22. ^ Campus News. (2020, May 27). UPDATED: Students raise concerns over an increase in academic misconduct allegations. The Cord. Retrieved from https://thecord.ca/students-raise-concerns-over-an-increase-in-academic-misconduct-allegations/
  23. ^ Harris, Sherina (June 29, 2020). "Canadian Medical Students Demand Change After 'Inhumane' Exam Conditions". HuffPost. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  24. ^ Harwell, D. (2020, April 1). Mass school closures in the wake of the coronavirus are driving a new wave of student surveillance. Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/04/01/online-proctoring-college-exams-coronavirus/
  25. ^ Strauss, V. (2020, April 16). College Board says it can give valid, secure online SATs at home. Washington Post.
  26. ^ Strauss, V. (2020, April 22). An open letter to the College Board about online, at-home AP tests. Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2020/04/22/an-open-letter-college-board-about-online-at-home-ap-tests/
  27. ^ Flaherty, C. (2020, May 11). Big Proctor. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from https://insidehighered.com/news/2020/05/11/online-proctoring-surging-during-covid-19
  28. ^ Hubler, S. (2020). Keeping Online Testing Honest? Or an Orwellian Overreach? The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/10/us/online-testing-cheating-universities-coronavirus.html
  29. ^ Lee, S. (2020, June 30). Proctorio CEO releases student’s chat logs, sparking renewed privacy concerns. The Ubessey. Retrieved from https://www.ubyssey.ca/news/proctorio-chat-logs/
  30. ^ Swauger, S. (2020, June 7). Taking Back the Narrative of Ed Tech.  Retrieved from https://www.sheaswauger.com/post/taking-back-the-narrative-of-ed-tech
  31. ^ Waitson, E. (2020, May 8). Laurier math department faces backlash over mandatory external webcams needed for spring exams. The Cord. Retrieved from https://thecord.ca/laurier-math-department-faces-backlash-over-mandatory-external-webcams-needed-for-spring-exams/
  32. ^ Harwell, Drew. "Cheating-detection companies made millions during the pandemic. Now students are fighting back". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2020-11-23.
  33. ^ Fraser, K. (2020, September 3, 2020). Software company sues UBC employee over tweets involving confidential videos. Vancouver Sun. Retrieved from https://vancouversun.com/news/software-company-sues-ubc-employee-over-tweets-involving-confidential-videos
  34. ^ Chin, Monica (2020-10-22). "An ed-tech specialist spoke out about remote testing software — and now he's being sued". The Verge. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  35. ^ "An Exam Surveillance Company Is Trying to Silence Critics With Lawsuits". www.vice.com. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
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  37. ^ "2021 BCSC 1154 Proctorio, Incorporated v. Linkletter". www.bccourts.ca. Retrieved 2021-06-16.


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