Working as an Exam Invigilator for £9 an hour!

Today we have a guest post from Kathryn Jones, WPR Graduate Intern here at the University of Cumbria. Following on from Monday’s post about making money as a student, Kathryn writes about her experiences working as an exam invigilator while studying for her degree.


When I was at university I worked as a casual Exam Invigilator for four years. It was great because it fit really well around my lectures as I could work when it was convenient for me. The main exam season is May, June and July – perfect for many students!

What is an Exam Invigilator?

Remember the people that gave out the exam papers, collected phones from people that had forgotten to leave them in their lockers and walked around the exam hall during your GCSEs and A Levels? Well they were employed by your school to ensure that exam regulations were followed and to give you the best chance of success in the exam hall.

How do I get the job?

Look at the vacancy pages on school/college websites. Just a note though, educational institutions often do not advertise for exam invigilators. You are more likely to get the job if you:

  1. Ring the school to find out who is in-charge of organising the exams this year and get some contact details.
  2. Write a cover letter and send this, along with a copy of your CV to the person in charge of organising the exams.
  3. Attend an interview if invited.

What will I have to do if I get the job?

  1. Complete any training. You will be given information to read and possibly have to attend a training session. Make sure you do this as you will not be able to do the job if you don’t!
  2. Arrange your hours with your supervisor. You will be told the dates and times when exams are being held at the school/college. You will have to choose the ones that you are available to work and stick to them. Employers want staff who are reliable!
  3. Turn up for work at least 15 minutes early, dressed smartly. Think office wear. Remember you are in a school and so have to dress appropriately. Also, if you get there early there’s often time for a cup of tea.
  4. Set up the exam room with the other invigilators. The desks will be set out, all you have to do is prepare the information board for the exam times and put the centre number on the board. Sometimes you have to put out exam papers and stationary. It depends on the exam and how the school normally sets up their exams.
  5. Get the students in and sat down in the right seats. Students should know where they are sitting but some forget – you will be shown how to find their seat on a chart.
  6. Follow procedures. When everyone is sat down you will have to inform students of exam procedure, for example: exam rules, checking students have the right papers, informing students that they are not allowed their mobile phones ect… This will most likely be done by a senior member of staff at first.
  7. Start the exam. This will most likely be done by a senior member of staff.
  8. During the exam. Exam Invigilators should be silent and spaced evenly around the room, try to avoid walking between the aisles if at all possible. Watch students to make sure they are not cheating/talking/on phones ect… You will be told what to do if they are behaving inappropriately. Some students may put their hands up and ask questions – remember, you are not allowed to help answer exam questions. You may get them stationary ect… (check the procedure for this with supervisor).
  9. Collect exam papers and tidy up. At the end of the exam, papers will be collected, students sent out and the room tidied.
  10. Go home. That’s it, simple! This position is great experience for anyone who is looking to work with people or in education. Also, the pay’s not bad at an average of £9 an hour!

Good Luck!

Kathryn Jones – WPR Graduate Intern, University of Cumbria