Exam papers

The Exams & Progress team aims to process exam question papers as soon as they are available from schools and prepare them for each exam period. There are some guidelines that schools should adhere to.

The process involves receiving, checking, printing, keeping secure and releasing (according to the exam timetable) over 3,000 papers each year. Deadlines apply for the receipt of exam papers to allow each paper to be ready in advance of the relevant exam period. The due dates can be seen in the Timeline of Events.

Please ensure that the exam paper checking process is carried out thoroughly before submitting papers to Exams & Progress. Any paper that is found to have an error and requires re-printing will be done so at a financial cost to the school.

Guidelines for submission

Examination papers must be submitted to Exams & Progress by the deadlines published in the Timeline of Events.

Papers can be submitted by email. Papers should be converted to PDF files prior to being emailed to ensure that formatting is preserved.  Formatting issues, which may not be spotted until the exam, could arise if papers are submitted in any other file types such as Word documents.

Exam papers can also be delivered by hand to the Exams & Progress team (Room 10.03, Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Building) and need to be done so if the paper contains any colour images.

Examination paper format

Each exam paper (including multiple choice questions format) must include:

  • the ten-digit module code, title and duration of the exam clearly written on the first page
  • the rubric (directions to candidates about the contents of the paper and how to respond to each question) and the number of pages the paper is made up of (irrespective of its use, the title page should be numbered as page 1)
  • "© University of Leeds" as a header
  • a list of materials necessary to complete the paper (such as log tables, graph paper, special maps, diagrams, etc) indicated in the top right hand side of the title page*
  • directions for completing the exam and space for the student to enter name and student number where necessary
  • text in single-line spacing on one side of page only
  • clear, unambiguous questions and directions
  • as few pages as possible while maintaining clarity
  • each page numbered with "TURN OVER" appearing at the bottom of each page where the paper contains more than one page
  • the module code for the paper on every page
  • "END" typed on the last page
  • "THIS QUESTION CONTINUES OVER THE PAGE" where a question does so.
  • If a school wishes to allow a dictionary they should stipulate “An English Language dictionary is permitted” or “A Bilingual dictionary is permitted”.
  • Where a particular exam paper is not to be made available to students after the exam, this must be indicated clearly on the front.

* If materials are necessary to complete the paper, schools are asked to indicate if they would like Exams & Progress to supply these or if they are intending to provide these directly to the examination room themselves. A note indicating either option should be attached to the paper at the time of submission to Exams & Progress.

A template is available for standard exam papers.


Diagrams should be submitted in black ink.

Blue exam papers

Exam question papers printed on blue paper will indicate to invigilators that the question papers need to be returned to the school at the end of the exam. Blue papers highlight exams where students must:

  • answer questions on the question paper itself.
  • answer a particular question on a separate answer sheet (supplied as part of the question paper).
They may also be used if an exam question paper requires an in-school check to ensure a question paper has been returned for each candidate sitting an exam. 

It is important that the information provided by the school in the exam schedule is accurate and that the front page of the question paper contains space for the candidate to enter their student identification number and seat number.

Use of calculators

The following rules apply to the use of calculators during University examinations:

  • Calculators may be used in any exam unless the rubric specifically states otherwise.
  • Schools are asked not to set exam questions in such a way as to give an unreasonable advantage upon candidates who use calculators.
  • Candidates must be informed that they must provide their own calculator (unless in specified exams where the school concerned will provide calculators for candidates to use) and bring it to the exam room and ensure that it is in good working order. The Examinations Office will not provide calculators for use in exams.
  • Some schools have an authorisation process for calculators.
  • Where a student’s calculator is approved for use in the examinations, an approval sticker is attached to the back of the calculator. 
  • The use of electronic information processors that permit the storing of exam notes is not permitted and would be regarded as cheating for which penalties apply.

Examination papers direct to rooms

Where a school has informed the Exams & Progress team that they will be providing the exam papers or exam materials and taking them directly to the exam room, they should arrive at the room at least 30 minutes before the start of the exam. Please note, a copy of such exam papers should also be brought to the Exams & Progress team (by the deadline for submission of papers) to ensure that students sitting in Special Circumstances receive a copy of the paper.

Revised examination papers

If it becomes necessary to submit a revised exam paper, schools are asked to clearly mark the new paper "Version 2" alongside the module code. The invigilator will also be asked to make an announcement before the start of the exam to ensure all candidates have the correct version of the paper.

Where an amendment to an exam paper has to be made at the start of or during an exam, this information must be relayed to the nearest Exams sub-office. The relevant details will then be reported to all students sitting the exam in Special Circumstances.

Multiple choice question (MCQ) cards

It is the school’s responsibility to inform the Exams & Progress team which type of MCQ card is required for an exam and to supply sufficient cards for every student registered on the module plus a 10% cushion.

External examiner’s comments

Where an external examiner's comments are required, schools are reminded not to transmit proposed papers or the examiner's comments by fax. Papers should not be submitted for printing until final approval by the external examiner has been confirmed. Please make sure the approved exam papers are still submitted to Exams & Progress by the deadline. 

August resit examination papers

Schools are asked to provide August resit papers as soon after the semester 2 exam period as possible, but no later than the published deadline. Resit papers may be submitted at the same time as original papers, but must be clearly marked.  They will be retained separately in a secure area until the time when they can be sent for printing. 

Resit papers will be not be made available to students after the exams. 

Special resit papers

Where the syllabus for a module has changed and a student resitting the module requires a paper for the earlier syllabus, a special paper must be provided. It is the school's responsibility to inform the central Exams team of this necessity on the exam schedule

Past examination papers

Past examination papers from 2003 onwards are available online. Schools should indicate at the time of submitting the paper to the Examinations Office those papers that should not be made available to students after the exam. These will then be printed on pink paper. As in previous years, and unless otherwise requested, all August re-examination papers and multiple choice question papers will not be made available to students after the exams.

In July/August each year, schools will be sent a list of exam papers from that year which have been identified as being suitable for publishing online. Schools are asked to confirm that the papers may be released on the web and to send electronic versions of the papers, which can be uploaded to the Past exam papers page. These papers will then be made available online from October/November.