This blog has been updated to amend the content originally published on 9 March 2016.
Although we try our utmost to avoid timetable clashes during the busy exam season, you will probably have at least some clashes, particularly with the move to linear exams which are all taken at the end of the course. Sometimes, candidates can be entered to sit exams that are scheduled during the same session and a variation from the timetable needs to happen to allow them to sit both. If there’s a clash of OCR examinations then we’ll send you a Timetable Clash Report once we’ve received your entries. However, as long as appropriate supervision is maintained, and all guidelines followed, most variations can be managed within centres.
For example, if a candidate in your centre has two timetabled exams in the same session that last more than three hours combined, you can move one exam to the other session on the same day (am or pm). If a candidate has three or more exams on one day which total more than five and a half hours at GCSE (or six hours at AS/A Level) then all the exams can be taken on one day. You can apply for special consideration for the final exam, or move one to the morning session of the next day, even if that happens to be a Saturday. If you move an exam to next day, you must complete a JCQ timetable variation form and keep this in your centre. Appropriate supervision must be in place where any exam is not sat at its scheduled start time.
There are some cases where timetable variations aren’t allowed, for example, due to a clash between papers of different specifications in the same subject.
There’s more help and guidance within the JCQ Instructions for conducting examinations. For any other timetable variation query not covered here or in the JCQ ICE, please email the OCR Special Requirements Team (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will be happy to advise.
When it comes to exam time, it’s really important clash candidates are kept under centre supervision during breaks between exams; this means an invigilator must be present at all times. Candidates must not be able to access mobile phones, the Internet or similar communication methods during the supervision. Although it happens very rarely, there are occasions where clash supervision is breached, either deliberately by the candidate or if the centre fails to supervised them adequately. If this happens, it can have an impact on the candidate involved, other candidates within the centre, and even the national cohort. Examples of breaches of supervision, and the consequences, can be found in the JCQ Suspected Malpractice in Examinations booklet (see pages 57–58). We’re also aware of the following instances:
You might find the following tips for supervising clash candidates useful:
Helen O'Leary - Senior Customer Support Manager
Since joining Cambridge Assessment in 2004, Helen has worked in many areas of the organisation, starting her career with Cambridge International Examinations, before taking up her current role in 2011 as Senior Customer Support Manager for OCR.
Helen's role is extremely varied and she considers herself really lucky to get to meet many of OCR's customers, across a wide variety of educational contexts. She is passionate about great customer service and loves to hear about what OCR get right, as well as what could be improved, so that OCR can provide an enhanced customer experience.
In this blog series, you’ll hear from a variety of experts across OCR and the wider organisation. Helen hopes you find the information useful and if there’s anything that you would like to see featured then please do get in touch.