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Regulations involving Calculators, Dictionaries, Scribes and Computers



All information on this page is a simplified version of that found in the General Regulations. Please check the original version when in any doubt.

General Regulations for Students



Unless prohibited, electronic calculators may be used in examinations and course tests under the following conditions:

  • the calculator must be of a non-programmable and non-communicable type, with no text retrieval or graphical capabilities, unless otherwise specified on the front of the examination/course test paper

  • only those models of calculator that appear on the University’s list of approved calculators can be used

  • the calculator is subject to checking by the examination/course test invigilators

  • you are entirely responsible for the working order of your calculator

The following is the list of University-approved, scientific calculators:

  • Casio FX – 350MS

  • Casio FX – 83 series (any version)

  • Casio FX – 85 series (any version)

  • Sharp EL-531 Range – any version

The use of any basic, non-scientific (no scientific function buttons) calculator is allowed.

Guidance for the use of calculators in examinations



If English is not your first language, you can use a dictionary in any examination or course except in the following cases:

  • when the purpose of the assessment is to test competence in a language (unless LTS has granted permission for its use)

  • where the Learning and Teaching Committee has prohibited the use of dictionaries Dictionaries must be paper-based unless there is an approved special educational need. Technical dictionaries and dictionaries where the content includes more information than simple translations are prohibited. English to a foreign language, foreign language to English and foreign language to foreign language dictionaries are permitted unless excluded under (i) or (ii) above.

You must provide your own dictionaries, in accordance with the University’s list of approved dictionaries, which will be checked by the Invigilator in the examination/course test room. Dictionaries should contain no notes or annotations other than your name. Any notes or annotations discovered in a dictionary will be treated as evidence of an intention to cheat and the circumstances referred to the Director of University Services in accordance with Regulation 17 (2) (q).


For guidance and in the interests of clarity and consistency, a list of reasonably-priced, University-approved, simple translation dictionaries is provided below:


  • Berlitz Compact

  • Berlitz Pocket

  • Collins Gem

  • Collins Pocket

  • Langenscheidt Universal

  • Oxford Pocket

  • Oxford Mini

  • Oxford Compact

If you experience a problem in obtaining one of the above dictionaries in your own language and wish to submit an alternative dictionary for approval, contact the University Assessments Office for further guidance. Approval usually isn’t granted if the above dictionaries are available in your language.

You should also note that dictionaries are checked to see if they are a “clean” copy (no notes or annotations). It is not a good idea to borrow someone else’s dictionary and you should purchase one for your own use in examinations and course tests.

Guidance for the use of Dictionaries in Examinations



  1. Definition

    1. In the examinations context, a scribe is someone who writes down or word processes a candidate’s dictated answers to examination questions.

    2. A scribe is not a reader but the same person may act as both scribe and reader if prior permission has been given for both arrangements.

  2. Circumstances in which a scribe may be used

    1. A scribe may be used in cases where you are unable to write or word process your own answers as a result of a disability (either long-term or temporary eg as a result of injury). For examination purposes, you should not be able to physically use a pen or to word process, or produce writing which cannot be read by others or is grammatically incomprehensible due to dyslexia, or is produced so slowly that answers could not be recorded even in an exceptionally extended examination period. For example, if you are visually impaired, this means you cannot record your answers independently through Braille n’ Print or other appropriate means.

    2. A scribe may not normally be used in examinations where the purpose of the assessment is to test competence in a language.

  3. Who may act as a scribe

    1. A scribe should be a responsible person who is able to produce an accurate record of your answers and can write legibly or word process at a reasonable speed. All those proposed as scribes must be acceptable to the Assessments Office. Your scribe cannot be a relative, friend, peer or subject teacher.

    2. Whilst it is not essential in some subjects, a scribe with specialised subject knowledge would be required for subjects with a highly technical vocabulary or specific notation, and this should form part of the concession application.

  4. General principles

    1. The use of a scribe should neither give you an advantage nor disadvantage.

    2. If you are using a scribe, you must sit the examination at the same time as the other candidates.

    3. It is the responsibility of the School to make the necessary arrangements for the use of a scribe and to inform you accordingly.

    4. If you are using a scribe, you must be accommodated in such a way that no other student may hear what is being dictated or be otherwise be distracted, nor should there be any disturbance to you.

    5. An invigilator familiar with these guidelines must be present throughout the examination to ensure the proper conduct of the examination. In the case of students with visual impairment, or conditions such as ADHD or Asperger’s Syndrome, it is reasonable, if you wish, for the invigilator to deliver more regular time prompts than is normal under the Invigilator’s Guidelines. This should be agreed before the examination commences.

    6. Requests for extra time in addition to the use of a scribe will be considered individually by concession.

    7. You should meet your scribe before the examination to agree how best to work together during the examination. Both should be provided with a copy of the official guidelines.

  5. Your role

    1. You are responsible for the content and layout of answers and for ensuring that the scribe understands the requirements with regard to layout.

  6. The role of the scribe

    1. The scribe must:

      • write/word process answers exactly as they are dictated

      • ensure that your work is saved regularly at 10 minute intervals

      • write/word process corrections on the script if you request it

      • draw or add maps, diagrams or graphs strictly in accordance with your instructions

      • if there are rough notes, the scribe must cross them through before the script is handed in at the end of the examination.

    2. The scribe may:

      • read back what has been recorded at your request, but may not offer any comment on what has been written;

      • indicate if they cannot keep up with the speed of dictation.

    3. The scribe must not:

      • give factual help, offer any suggestions or indicate when the answer is complete;

      • advise on which questions to answer, when to move on to the next question or the order in which questions should be answered;

      • offer any interpretation of a question or indicate by word or action if you have made a mistake

      • speak during the examination except if they cannot hear what is dictated or cannot keep up with the speed of dictation.

  7. Special factors

    1. If you are visually-impaired:

      • In relation to papers which require diagrams to be drawn, you and the scribe must have discussed in advance how the accuracy of the diagram drawn will be checked against the dictated description;

      • The scribe may not speak except if you ask them to read text back or to read questions again (where the scribe is acting also as a reader).

    2. If you have a limited capacity to write:

      • In papers which require diagrams to be drawn, you may opt to draw your own diagrams.

  8. Checklist

    1. When making arrangements to have the use of a scribe in examinations, the following points should be considered:

      • Will the scribe handwrite or word-process and, if the latter, does the scribe have reasonable keyboard skills?

      • Do you have experience working with a scribe? If not, Schools are encouraged to arrange some practice time before the examination.

      • Does the subject matter carry a large amount of technical terminology, diagrams, specific notations, etc. If so, is it necessary for the scribe to be a subject-specialist?

      • The use of a scribe is inappropriate in examinations that test language competence.

Guidance for the use of a Scribe in University Examinations