Working with the Exam Centre Manager

The development of a strong working relationship between the Principal’s Nominee and Exam Centre Manager forms the basis of smooth running of exams. By the start of term 4 the Principal’s Nominee should meet with the Exam Centre Manager and discuss:


  • check that entries on the ECM's planner match school predicted entry numbers
  • identify any late entry candidates and confirmed absentees,and provide the Exam Centre Manager with written details of these
  • confirm that students with special assessment conditions have valid entries
  • identify any twins or triplets to ensure there is no confusion with booklets
  • provide details of the resolution of any exam clashes
  • confirm in writing individual student candidates who have indicated they will not attend Scholarship exams
  • confirm entries of candidates from other schools sitting externals at your school’s exam centre, especially that they have late entries and this creates a new exam session
  • confirm whether the school has any candidates for Scholarship exams in Drama, Languages, Music, Te Reo Maori or Te Reo Rangatira and discuss and special resourcing arrangements for these. Refer to Appendices to Supervisor Instructions for details.


  • develop procedures for supporting the ECM with managing student behaviour inside the exam room (ECM/supervisor responsibility) and outside the exam room (school responsibility)
  • develop procedures for ensuring that calculators are clear before students enter the exam room
  • agree the process for managing students who arrive without an admission slip or need a new one
  • confirm arrangements for students with special assessment conditions for each exam session
  • identify candidates with minor health problems that may affect how they perform or behave in an exam. Candidates may need to be seated in a particular place in an exam room
  • confirm that Scholarship candidates in Drama, Languages, Music, Te Reo Maori or Te Reo Rangatira understand and have practised the format of the examination.


  • determine which rooms/areas will be best for each exam session and thus provide the most efficient and economical use of supervisors
  • provide a list of which exam assistants (reader/writers) will work alongside which candidates approved for special assessment conditions and confirm that they have been trained. Arrange training where this has not already happened
  • provide a list of which exam assistants the school pays and who the Exam Centre Manager should liaise with regarding payment for supervising candidates using special assessment conditions
  • ensure that the materials required by the ECM from the school and expected by students are known and well communicated to all parties
  • confirm that there will be suitable equipment available for the examinations that require this. This may include cameras, televisions, DVD players and computers. Refer to Appendices to Supervisor Instructions for details (available on the school's Provider Login). Note that computers provide better sound quality than CD players.
  • confirm that the school has had all equipment to be used for examinations cleaned and/or serviced to ensure optimum levels of performance
  • provide a locked room in which exam papers can be stored between morning and afternoon sessions or for the entirety of the exams. NZQA expects that only The ECM and the Principal’s Nominee will have keys to access this room during the examination period
  • ensure arrangements are in place with the property manager for after school hours examinations, including unlocking buildings and disarming alarms
  • arrange a suitable venue and facilities for supervisors to meet and/or take rest breaks
  • arrange the enlargement and photocopying of exam notices for display in areas where exams are to take place
  • provide the ECM with access to a computer, photocopier, telephone and, possibly a fax machine, for use during the exam period
  • arrange a pre-examination assembly for all candidates at which the Exam Centre Manager introduces themselves and explains NZQA’s expectations. This meeting should include any candidates from other schools who will be using the school as their exam centre
  • confirm with the ECM that the following resources will be available during the examination period:
    • a central information area with whiteboards to enable candidates to check the locality of their examination room.
    • desks and chairs that are clean and do not wobble. Please supply pieces of cardboard or similar to level the legs. All examination rooms, including the hall, need to be set up prior to the exam period. This includes the removal of material, such as wall charts or student work.
    • a whiteboard and pens (or blackboard and chalk) in each exam room for notices or for supervisors to indicate to candidates the time remaining in an exam session.
    • wall clocks with new batteries for each exam room.
    • a computer, linked to a printer for each candidate using a computer for special assessment. Plan allocation of printers, including sharing for multiple candidates. See information about use of computers in exams.
    • enlarged and laminated exam signs to be placed in areas where exams are to be held.
    • blu-tack for mounting notices for candidates.

And depending upon individual exam sessions:

  • computers of good quality to ensure clarity of sound from any CDs played (note that computers provide better sound quality than CD players)
  • DVD players with TV monitors, if required
  • recording systems and CD/DVD burning facilities for the oral component of Scholarship Language and Scholarship Drama exams. This procedure should have been practised before the exams begin.

Note: The ECM will advise you of how many of each item of equipment will be required and when (before the exam timetable starts).

Other pre-exam preparation

  • Organise a method for the Exam Centre Manager to summon support if required (e.g. provide the ECM with your mobile phone number and the mobile phone number of another senior member of staff).
  • Ensure the ECM and supervisors know and can carry out the school's emergency evacuation procedures.
  • Check any building or grounds renovations planned for the school or planned for the vicinity of any exam will not disturb candidates.
  • Note any examination sessions when the ECM will be the sole supervisor so that the Principal’s Nominee or another staff member can be on hand to provide a 15-minute comfort break, including after the school day finishes
  • Consider disabling the school bell. The ringing of the school bell can disturb candidates, particularly those listening to a CD or DVD. It may be possible to mute the bell for the examination periods or isolate specific areas of the school. Inform all students of the emergency alarm signal that will replace the bell if this is disabled.
  • Check whether there will be visiting schools, students or events during the exam period who might disturb exam candidates and pre-warn such groups that examinations are being held and of the expectations of their behaviour.

Daily Organisation

  • Add details of exam locations to ‘Daily Notices’ and remind students to avoid these areas.
  • Check that the equipment for exam sessions is available and functioning.
  • Ensure the technician is available in the event of any equipment breakdown.
  • The PN or their delegate liaises with the ECM.
  • Daily emergency contact between ECM and a senior manager is arranged.
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