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Exams Officer - any tips?
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Adventine · 17/11/2020 20:59

I’m about to become our schools Exam Officer and I’ve got about 2 weeks to train with the existing Officer before I’m going solo! No experience of the role and going in blind so please can anyone give me some tips? (“Don’t take the job” is not a tip ha ha).

If I had a timeline of the year, and what to address when, I think I’d feel better as I literally have no clue. Hoping it’ll click in training but I won’t have anyone to shadow from next month so much of the work I’ll have to learn alone.

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Hercwasonaroll · 17/11/2020 21:56

Organisation is key.

Learn as much as you can in those 2 weeks. Take notes on EVERYTHING.

People will come to you expecting you to be the oracle on all things exam related. You will learn to Google stuff and fast!

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Adventine · 17/11/2020 22:16

@Hercwasonaroll thank you. Yes I’m planning to write everything I can down, then write up neater notes too to get it to sink in. I’ve been Googling a lot already but it feels daunting.

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Hercwasonaroll · 17/11/2020 22:26

You'll settle into it. You may find the school has mocks coming up which is a good opportunity for a trial run of all the systems.

Key things are make sure you know the legalities around exams. JCQ website is great for this. There are lots of forms etc that need signing for each exam now.
Make sure you know the entry deadlines for each exam board because schools don't want to have to pay extra.
Find out the routines for equipment at your place. Eg are there exam calculators? Which exams need which equipment etc.
Find out who organises invigilation (it will likely be you). Get the logins for each exam board and learn their systems.

If you are organised and ICT proficient you will be fine. There are times of peak stress like GCSE exam season but also lulls where there is less going on.

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Adventine · 17/11/2020 22:29

Thank you @Hercwasonaroll this is just was I was hoping for advice wise. A mock is coming up just before she leaves so I’ll make the most of that.

I’m copying and pasting your advice into my notes so I can go though things/build lists. I’m generally pretty organised and good with ICT so you’ve made me feel more hopeful. Thank you.

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Hercwasonaroll · 17/11/2020 22:38

I'm coming at it from a teacher POV now however I have worked with exams officers previously.

Find out who to ask about things too. Like who organises room changes, photocopying (for mocks), and who has keys to everything!

Get to know your main go to people. You'll also need the SENCO for access arrangements like extra time and knowing which students. Some schools use TAs to scribe and read, others use invigilation staff so find that out too.

Also don't worry if you make a mistake. Most can be rectified and sorted out. A keen eye for detail is good and if you can use Spreadsheets it'll make life easier.

I'd love the job, exams officer plus school timetabler is my goal! Sadly can't afford to stop teaching yet.

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Adventine · 18/11/2020 08:24

Wow thanks for all this @Hercwasonaroll, so many good tips. I’m copying them all down and I hope you get your goal one day.

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asifiwould · 18/11/2020 08:33

Give HODs plenty of time/ headsup to get exam entries done. In fact tell them the deadline is weeks before it actually is.

Find out who the reliable HODs are, and which ones are the ones that always take it to the wire with the deadlines, or who are clueless and make lots of mistakes.

I am not teacher blaming here btw. I was a HOD of a very big dept, and there were always the same HODs hogging the exam officers time, missing deadlines and entering kids for the wrong exams which costs a fortune in extra exam fees. I could have put money on who would mess it up. It was often HODs with very low exam numbers who could have got their exam entries done in no time at all. HODs of the big departments have to spend hours on exam entries, and also know that if they make a mistake on exam codes it could cost the school thousands.

Print out multiple copies of the exam codes booklets and have them ready to give to HODs who struggle with this kind of thing!
The site manager or whoever is in charge of exam desks etc is now going to become you new best friend. make sure of this. It is critical to have this person on side. Make sure they know know well in advance which rooms are being used for exams.

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Adventine · 18/11/2020 21:42

Thanks so much @asifiwould

Training started today and I think I’m gonna need a bigger brain! But already the notes given to me on here are helping tie things together.

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Adventine · 14/01/2021 18:16

Just came back on to say I’m a few weeks further down the line in the strangest year to learn things in.... but having reread your tips it’s great to realise I’ve begun to cover all of them so I feel like I’m getting somewhere now.

I’m just teaching myself how to make exam entries using SIMS at the minute so I’m getting there bit by bit and thank you all.

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PhysicsCat · 14/01/2021 18:49

Create a glossary for all the acronyms!
Check dates and requirements for NEAs (warned you!).
Make friends with the science department. We have a spectacularly confusing suite of courses, tier of entry decisions and for combined science a 2 linked grade result to handle.

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Adventine · 14/01/2021 19:04

Good tip on the Acronyms... there’s so many!!
God Coursework! Yeah just had a panic on that front when I found out there was a 10 Jan deadline for some. Brief panic ensued but it turned out to be optional. Phew!
Yes just had the Science codes passed to me. That’s gonna be some fun marksheets lol Grin
Thanks again for the tips. I’m using them all.

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Adventine · 14/01/2021 19:07

Will also add that I’m working closely with our SENDCo too who’s also a Science teacher so that’s great too.

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CraftyGin · 18/01/2021 18:39

Does your school subscribe to The Exams Office. They are great for planners, forms and training.

You need formal training, not just a handover.

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Adventine · 18/01/2021 20:16

Thank you. Yes I got signed up to the Exams Office today.
The problem is fitting the training in when there’s so much to do and deadlines to meet. But I’ll try to see what I can fit in.

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CraftyGin · 18/01/2021 21:41

They have training for new exams officers twice a year, and a conference in June/July - make sure you get on the next one.

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Adventine · 18/01/2021 21:52

@CraftyGin thank you I will try to.

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DoingItForTheKid · 19/01/2021 18:05

Just out of interest, how did you get the role if you know so little about it?

Were you an internal candidate?

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