Examination protocol

Examination protocol: create the optimal test experience for everyone

Imagine the situation in which you have to sit an exam on which your future depends, such as practising your profession or gaining admission to a subsequent course. In such a case you want to be able to concentrate fully on taking your exam without being distracted by any irregularities. Think for example of a participant arriving late and disturbing the peace or unclear ID checks, causing you to lose concentration. This kind of disturbance during the examinations can be quite easily prevented. The use of a protocol offers a solution.

Purpose of the examination protocol

The most important goal of this protocol is to promote a calm environment in which candidates can take their exams without disruption. A protocol also ensures optimal (as fair as possible) circumstances that are equal for everyone. This means that a candidate is not disadvantaged by the conditions during the exam, but does not benefit from them either. Examples of disadvantage include noise at the exam site from passers-by or examinees who are late. An example of disadvantage is a lack of supervision allowing candidates to copy from one another.

Digital examination

Protocol content

An examination protocol contains rules and regulations that apply during the exam, both for the candidates and the supervisor. A complete examination protocol sometimes also includes how the score is arrived at, how the results are provided, and how complaints and objections are lodged. However, we will not discuss these subjects here. We will limit ourselves here to the protocol during examinations.

The contents of an examination protocol can roughly be categorised as follows:

  1. The use of tools.
  2. Supervision and confidentiality.
  3. (Registration of) irregularities.
  4. (Registration of) presence and absence and personal identification.


Below are some examples of a protocol that specifically focuses on the taking of examinations:

  • Checking the candidate’s identification, with the aim of preventing identity fraud. For example, do candidates have to show an identity card and provide a signature upon entry?
  • Whether or not to use an official report and its contents. An official report contains a description of how the examination took place. Were there any special circumstances or irregularities that may have affected the exam? Also make a list of those present.
  • What to do in case of a late arrival. Will a candidate in that case still be allowed to sit the exam? This is due to the annoying effect that latecomers have on the other candidates.
  • What should the supervisor do if a candidate suddenly falls ill? Illness during the test is very unfortunate for the candidate, but can also be a nuisance for the other candidates.
  • What should you do in case of external noise or computer and Internet malfunctions (in case of digital examination)? Should the supervisor then allow extra time and/or register these matters, so that the examination board can decide how to deal with them?
  • How are toilet visits during examinations dealt with?
  • Which aids, such as a dictionary and reference books, may be used during the exam?
  • How to deal with fraud?

Compliance with the protocol

For a protocol to work, it is important that the rules are properly followed. This requires, among other things, that (new) supervisors be extensively trained and instructed. What is their role and responsibility in following the protocol? In order to be able to act in case of unforeseen circumstances, it is necessary that they know the rules well and can apply them immediately. Training with case study discussion can be useful here.

It is also advisable to periodically carry out random checks of a few examinations to see how the protocol is being applied. To make sure that the examinations are conducted according to protocol and applicable (tailor-made) agreements, the examination administration can also be outsourced to an external specialised organisation.


The use of an examination protocol has many advantages. You increase the chance that the examinations are taken place in a fair, orderly manner without disruptions. By setting rules and regulations well in advance, you also prevent discussions afterwards. Efficient and pleasant for all concerned.

Contact us

Leave your details in the contact form below or contact us without any obligation on 013 – 528 63 63. You can also follow Optimum Assessment on LinkedIn:

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.