GCSE exams: They're stressful enough without the strange behaviour of invigilators

By Paige Neal-Holder
BBC News

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For students in an exam room already under pressure, the last thing they want is to be stressed by an invigilator.

But according to some experiences shared on social media, invigilators can be a big distraction.

Exams might need invigilators - they have to check that no-one is cheating and who else is going to sprint like their life depends on it to pick up that pencil you dropped on the floor?

But some students would rather that they stayed silent and out of sight and stopped disturbing their concentration.

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Getting rid of that dead skin

Tensions can already be high in an exam hall, but some anxious students have had the added misfortune of some very unpleasant distractions.

There is a time and place for everything. But unfortunately, one particular invigilator decided she was in need of an urgent pedicure by picking dead skin off of her feet.

Charming. Not only is this horrifying and gross, it's extremely distracting and definitely not needed by a student trying to answer exam questions.

image copyrightAndreyPopov

Putting their feet in it

There appears to be a running theme, as students report on social media about another invigilator deciding to make themselves at home by taking off their shoes and airing their feet.

Understandably, it must get heated and sweaty in a packed room full of anxious students.

However, an invigilator walking around barefoot only adds to the stress when the "pitter-pattering" sound ruins the silence.

Home is where the heart is, but it's certainly not in the middle of the exam hall.

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Staring over your shoulder

Exams are already challenging enough - and it does not help when a nosy invigilator is looming over your shoulder and judging your paper for what feel likes decades.

Have I written the wrong answer?

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Am I in trouble? Is my see-through pencil case not see-through enough? What are they staring at?

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Annoying noises

Watching over students in complete silence for hours upon hours must get pretty boring.

Asides from the occasional skim around the exam room, or handing out the fifth piece of paper to the overly-eager student who writes too much, there isn't much for an invigilator to do.

But that doesn't mean they should be allowed to start making irritating noises.

Coughing, sneezing, playing with their phone, cracking their fingers, tapping their watch to make sure it's working, rocking on a creaky chair or sighing. How can someone breathe so loudly?

image copyrightVoyagerix

The overly-suspicious invigilator

There is always one who takes their role too seriously.

Their job is to make sure everyone keeps to the rules. But this is an exam, not an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

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Students are not going to feel confident if the invigilator is giving them the evil eye and behaving as though everyone in the room is hiding something.

Taking a sip from a water bottle or looking up at the clock is not necessarily a sign of cheating.

There's a difference between supervising an exam and a surveillance operation.

Have you been distracted by an invigilator while you were taking an exam? Email haveyoursay@bbc.co.ukwith your experiences.

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