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Conducting an exam

As an experienced telc licensed partner you are already familiar with our Examination Regulations and with the Guidelines for conducting a written and oral examination. In real-life situations there are often further questions. Here are answers to those most frequently asked.

FAQ Examination Security

Tip: Why should I always have my mobile phone with me in the exam?

It is always possible that something unexpected happens. For instance, you may have to leave the room or a candidate is taken ill suddenly. If you have your mobile phone and the office telephone number of the person responsible for the exam, you can quickly obtain help without having to break off the exam. Naturally the ringing tone has to be turned off.

How many days are allowed to pass between the written and oral exams?
The written and oral exams must be taken within a 14 day period.
Can a registered examination be postponed due to unforeseen events, such as a broken water pipe?
The examination materials (examination booklets, audio CD, etc.) may only be used on the date stated in the registration. If unforeseen events make postponing the date necessary, an exception must be obtained from telc. This can also be done by telephone on the day of the exam. The service telephone is manned from Mondays to Saturdays.
What seat spacing must be maintained during the Covid 19 pandemic, 1.50m or 2.00m on all sides?
The telc examination regulations stipulate a minimum distance of 1.50m on all sides from the candidate's seat. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the conditions for conducting the examination must also be coordinated with the current instructions of local authorities.
Are invigilators or examiners allowed to be in close social contact with employees of the examination centre (e.g. be married to an employee) or to examine their spouses or children?
In order to ensure equal opportunities for all candidates, an examiner is not allowed examine a family member. As invigilators do not evaluate performance, their connections to candidates or employees are not relevant so they may be appointed.
Can a teacher be the examination centre coordinator if he/she has previously taught the candidates?
Teachers may be both invigilator and coordinator, as they do not evaluate performance.
Can the examination centre coordinator also be an examiner?
If examination centre coordinators are also examiners, they must hand over their role to an appropriately instructed substitute for the time they are examining.

Tip: What help is allowed?

You may only assist with questions about handling the exam documentation, e.g. when a candidate cannot find the tasks or is not able to enter their personal data without help. After the exam booklet has been opened and the actual exam has begun there should be no need to answer any questions. It is therefore recommended that the candidates have taken a mock examination under exam conditions so that they know what to expect in the exam. This point about taking a mock examination should be specially emphasised elsewhere – see new point under Mock Exams in “Übungsmaterial”.

What, other than the examination materials, can candidates have on their desks during the written examination?
Invigilators must have a clear view of all tables during the examination. In addition to the examination materials, an identity card must be placed on the table. Also allowed is a wristwatch and a small bottle of water. However, there should not be sweets, pencil cases, or other objects.
How do you deal with candidates not wanting to leave their valuables in the cloakroom?
Ideally, teachers review the exam situation with the candidates during class and point out that only the most necessary items should be brought on exam day. In special cases, valuables can be stored in the examination room, outside the reach of candidates, in a protected box at the invigilator's desk.
Do candidates have to be accompanied by an invigilator when going to use the toilet? Where should these visits be noted down?
Yes. During the examination, candidates are only allowed to leave the exam room under controlled conditions. Toilet visits are documented with the exact time either directly in the examination record or on a separate annex to the record (an A4 sheet with stamp, date and signature).
What are the consequences if an examiner leaves the exam room (e.g. toilet, nausea)?
There must be supervision in the examination room at all times. If the invigilator leaves the room, a substitute must first be requested. For groups of 27 or more candidates, a second invigilator must remain in the examination room at all times. Unsupervised conditions are a serious violation of the examination regulations and will be sanctioned by the written tests not being evaluated.
A candidate has fainted during the written examination. How should the examination centre coordinator deal with this case?
This always depends on the situation. Examination centre coordinators are responsible for examination security and for ensuring equal opportunities for all candidates. If both criteria are violated, the examination may have to be cancelled for all.
A candidate complains that he cannot concentrate because another candidate has coughed or sneezed. Should I note this in the examination record in case of a potential complaint?
Any complaints from candidates about how the exam was conducted should be noted in the examination record. The record serves as a basis for contesting the exam. However, normal coughing or sneezing are some of the everyday noises that must be accepted.
Are invigilators and examiners allowed to have a cell phone in the exam room?
Yes, but it must be muted. In an emergency, it must be possible to request help via SMS or messaging services, such as WhatsApp. Due to data protection, only mention the situation, no names (e.g. corridor supervision needed for candidate going to the toilet).
Are invigilators allowed to be present in the exam room during an oral exam?
No. Only examiners and candidates are allowed in the examination room. The presence of other people must be approved by telc. An exception to this would be an unannounced examination inspection by a telc inpector.
Can the examination centre carry out the general instruction of examination formalities with the candidates so that the invigilator can already deal with writing up the words "Beginning" and "End" and the examination parts?
Yes, it is common practice in many examination centres for the coordinators to assist with both the identity check and the instruction of candidates at the beginning of the examination. If there are groups of 27 candidates and a second invigilator is required, the coordinator can also act as the second supervisor. In such cases, one of the invigilators may accompany the candidates to the toilet. The corridor invigilator is not required.
How does the written examination begin? With the instruction or with the distribution of the examination materials?
The examination begins by explaining the formalities (§ 8a.7 PO). Candidates who appear after the examination has begun are not allowed take part in the examination.
Is the examination coordinator also considered to be available if he or she is not in the examination centre?
The examination coordinator must be reachable during the examination and must be able to intervene in the examination process if necessary. If the invigilators on site have been instructed and trained accordingly and are able and allowed to implement the instructions given by the coordinator on the phone, then it is sufficient to be reachable by phone. The examination coordinator can also delegate his role on the day of the examination to another instructed employee at the examination centre.

Tip: How can I guarantee fairness?

If you are supervising an exam, then you have a big responsibility.  You ensure that the conditions for all candidates are equal and so make sure that all the candidates have the same chance.

  • You constantly observe the candidates. You do not do any other work or read during the exam.

  • You organise maximum distance between the candidates (at least 1.5 m around the chair, considerably more space is preferable.) The crucial point is that the exam documents cannot be seen by anyone.
How do I deal with mobile phones during the test?
The use of mobile phones during the test is prohibited. Therefore, when the candidates first enter the examination room, request that they turn off their mobile phones and, if appropriate, hand them in to you for the duration of the test.
For the identify check, must an identity card be presented, even if all candidates are known to the invigilators from having participated in a language course at the centre?
Yes, the identity check must always be carried out and a valid photo ID must be used. Driving licenses or copies are not allowed. In the case of probationary certificates, the candidate must be clearly recognisable in the photograph (black and white photo is accepted).
Should the identity of the candidates be checked again before the oral examination?

If there is a new invigilator for the oral examination, the candidates’ identity must be checked again. Many examiners expect candidates to bring their identity cards to the exam. In any case, examiners must be informed whether the identity has already been checked before entering the oral exam.

How do I ensure the security of the oral examination if the candidates are scheduled with a time delay?
Depending on the examination format, the oral task booklets contain 2 or 3 complete examination tasks. Therefore, with one booklet, either 2 or 3 groups can be formed. Each group can then be called in a certain time and the candidates cannot exchange information about the contents of the examination tasks. If more than three groups are needed, order another version of the oral exam. This additional service is free of charge. Information on the registration process is provided via the service hotline.
Are there guidelines for candidates with disabilities, including those with reading and spelling difficulties, and what documentation must the candidate provide?
telc offers options for conducting a barrier-free examination. The corresponding examination regulations are published on the website. Candidates need to present at least one medical certificate. For candidates who need electronic aids for medical reasons, an individual examination may also have to be offered. There are special registration deadlines for barrier-free examinations.
Do electronic medical devices count as unauthorised aids in the examination?
For candidates who wear hearing aids, have implanted insulin pumps or other such devices, a barrier-free examination should be applied for. In any case, a consultation with telc should be held in good time before the examination (the registration deadline for barrier-free examinations is 8 weeks before the examination). Disturbances during the examination due to acoustic signals from medical aids must be prevented.
Are candidates allowed to leave the building between the written and oral exams and if so, what happens to their mobile phones?
There are two independent parts to the examination and it is possible for the oral examination to take place on a different day.
Candidates may leave the building. If electronic aids have been handed out, they must be collected again before the oral examination.
Are siblings or spouses allowed to take the oral examination together?
To ensure equal opportunities, siblings, married couples or housemates should not be examined together. The examination centre decides on the grouping of the couple for the oral examination.
If the language course was supervised by a socio-educational counsellor, can this person act as an oral examiner?
No. Personal impressions or attachment could cloud judgment. An assignment as an oral examiner must be rejected due to bias.
Who may sit in on the written and oral exams?
telc examinations are not public. Only licensed examiners with the prior written consent of telc may sit in on the exam.
Is it possible to prevent a candidate from sitting the examination if they are ill just before the examination begins?
If a candidate is obviously ill and it must be assumed that the course of the examination could be disturbed by his or her behaviour, participation in the examination can be refused. It is essential to send the candidate to a doctor and have them obtain and submit a sick note for the day of the examination.
May a telc inspector appear unannounced at the exam?
telc inspectors are entitled to conduct an unannounced examination inspection. Such a visit must be documented in the examination record, stating the specific time period.

Tip: How do I react if someone tries to cheat?

If you notice someone cheating, please react immediately and expel/disqualify the involved parties from the exam. This is also valid for candidates who allow their work to be copied. Explain to the candidates that you are bound to act in this way according to § 16 of the examination regulations. Note down the attempt to cheat in your report and confiscate any prohibited aids. The involved parties should leave the building immediately. With this course of action you protect the honest candidates from being suspected of cheating and you ensure that your examination centre enjoys an excellent reputation.

If exam regulations are violated, does a candidate first receive a warning or are they immediately excluded, e.g. for speaking too loudly or refusing to hand in the answer sheet at the end of the exam?
The candidate is given a short warning. If he or she does not immediately stop speaking or continues writing despite the warning, he or she will be excluded from the exam.
What must an invigilator do if examination regulations are violated?
The invigilator must pass the information on to to the examination coordinator at the examination centre, and if necessary, telc are informed with a telephone call or a written statement.
Should the identity of the candidates be checked again before the oral examination?

If there is a new invigilator for the oral examination, the candidates’ identity must be checked again. Many examiners expect candidates to bring their identity cards to the exam. In any case, examiners must be informed whether the identity has already been checked before entering the oral exam.

What should be done if there is a suspicion of attempted cheating with false identity papers?
Obtain a second opinion. Have the examination coordinator or second invigilator check the candidate’s identity as well. If the suspicion remains, that candidates will not be admitted to the examination and the police should be called in, if necessary.
If an attempt at cheating is detected or prevented at the outset, does this lead to exclusion?
This depends on the specific situation. The decision to exclude someone from the examination is made by the examination coordinator or, in the case of the oral examination, by the examiners. According to Section 16 of the examination regulations, both cheating and attempted cheating lead to exclusion from the examination.
What happens if a candidate brings a switched off mobile phone into the examination room?
Simply carrying an unauthorised aid into the examination is sufficient reason to assume cheating was intended, even if there is no evidence at the time of cheat sheets or other useful notations. Candidates must be excluded from the examination.
What happens if a candidate’s mobile phone rings during the oral examination?
The candidate must be excluded from the exam. Carrying unauthorised aids will result in immediate exclusion from the exam. If possible, ensure any recorded files are deleted from the mobile phone.
If a candidate is excluded from the exam, he or she may cause a disturbance. Can the examination continue and any lost time be added to the end? Who pays for the costs if an exam is cancelled?
Always decide in the spirit of equal opportunities. In the event of a short interruption, the examination can be continued. If there is a lot of commotion in the examination room and the interruption is longer, the candidates could claim that they were not able to perform to their best. In such cases, the examination may be cancelled. If the examination is cancelled, talk to telc about crediting the evaluation fee.
What can be done if the candidate refuses to leave the exam room after being excluded from the exam?
This depends on the reason for the exclusion. If an unauthorised aid is discovered, the candidate must leave the room immediately. If the candidate refuses to leave, he may remain in the examination room if necessary, provided he keeps quiet. In any case, the candidate must be informed that his performance cannot be evaluated and that the time of the sanction was imposed will be reported to telc in the examination record. A detailed statement of the violation will also be sent. If the candidate causes a disturbance, call for help and escort the candidate out with united force. If these measures do not work, the examination must be cancelled.
Is the supervisor allowed to physically search candidates if there is a suspicion that they may have brought aids with them?
Candidates also have a duty to cooperate. If there is a suspicion of unauthorised aids, the candidate may be required to escort the invigilator or coordinator to a separate room to show what he has in the pockets of his clothing. The candidate should show these possessions willingly, making physical contact unnecessary.
If cheating is detected during the oral examination, will the candidate be excluded from the written examination afterwards?
The situation must be well documented and reported to telc. telc can then exclude candidates from the written examination retrospectively.

Tip: When should the task booklets be collected at the end of the exam?

The task booklets are strictly confidential and not available for publication. Make absolutely sure that nobody takes their task booklet with them or copies it in any way. Any kind of copy or any usage outside the examination will lead to criminal prosecution.

Thank you for your support and co-operation in ensuring that the high quality of telc examinations is maintained.

When should the CD be checked? What happens to the CD after the examination?
The CD is checked immediately upon receipt to ensure that it is functioning and that the correct test version has been sent. The CD is played through once completely and, in the event that it is broken, a replacement delivery is ordered from telc immediately. After testing it, the CD is safely locked away. After the examination has been completed, all CDs supplied will be sent back to telc.
How much time is allowed to elapse between the examination and the handover of the examination documents to the examination coordinator?
The documents are checked for completeness by the examiner or invigilator and immediately handed over to the examination coordinator.
What is the procedure if it is determined shortly before the exam that too few test booklets were sent out by telc?
The documents must be checked for correctness and completeness immediately upon receipt. If it is nevertheless discovered on the day of the exam that a copy is missing, contact telc immediately and obtain a recommendation for action. The customer service hotline is also manned on Saturdays.
Are examination centres permitted to complete the front page of the answer sheets for weak candidates?
No, the candidates provide their own personal details, written in their own handwriting. For weak candidates, the instruction period can be extended accordingly. Please note on the examination record why the instruction period exceeded the allotted time.
If the office of the examination coordinator is also used by 3 teachers, but the coordinator is always present, can the examination materials be stored in a locked cabinet in the room?
Yes, but the office must also be lockable. The examination materials must be kept safely under lock and key. This cabinet must only be accessible to the examination coordinator.
Examination papers can only be sent by parcel post. Dispatch by registered mail is no longer possible because the packages are too large. (Statement DHL and Post Modern) What is the procedure in this case?
It is important that the shipping route can be tracked without interruption. Any procedure similar to registered mail is fine. It must be possible to track the shipment for documents that arrive late at telc. The examination centre requires proof of the date of return.
Does the examination coordinator have to sign the certificates or result notifications?
No. The certificates are signed and stamped by the examination centre's managing directors or, alternatively, by employees authorised by them.
If a written exam was registered to start at 09:00 a.m. but does not start until 10 minutes later due to organisational delays, does this have to be specially noted in the examination record?
In order to rule out any questions from telc, any changes to the starting or finishing time are recorded in the examination record and briefly explained. If the instruction period exceeds the time specified by telc, this must also be noted. In these cases, the alternative starting time can be noted with an appropriate explanation (e.g. 9:40 a.m. start, 40-minute instruction period, explanation of the answer sheet, above-average time required).
Can former employees of the examination centre be used as external examiners?
Yes, if they are no longer employed by their former employer.
Does telc offer a template for formulating the contract outlining candidates' obligation in line with telc’s General Terms and Conditions / Examination Regulations?
No, telc cannot offer any contractual wording for a contract between candidates and the examination centre; there is no direct legal relationship. Upon request, telc will provide formulation aids.  Documents such as telc’s Examination Regulations (clauses 15 and 16) as well as the Guidelines for Conducting telc B2 Examination are set out in simple language and can also be used as formulation aids.
How is the remuneration for examiners, raters and invigilators regulated?
The fee is agreed between the examination centre and those who take on the assignment. telc is not involved. It is a contractual relationship between the two parties.
If the examiners are permanently employed teachers in the organisation, is a separate contract required with the employees for the work they carry out as examiners / raters?
If the employment contract includes the activities they carry out as an examiner or rater, that is sufficient. In any case, the employees must be instructed on the valid telc Examination Regulations and Terms and Conditions, and are obliged to comply with the regulations.
Should the signed contracts of candidates, examiners and invigilators be sent to telc?
No. These documents are archived at the examination centre. In the case that telc receives reports of irregular examination procedures at an examination centre, telc will request, among other things, proof that all parties were aware that they must comply with regulations, in order to clarify facts.
Do telc’s examination regulations apply to all telc foreign language examinations?
Yes. telc’s examination regulations apply to telc examinations at all languages and levels. The Integration Course Test Regulations (IntTestV) apply to the "Deutsch Test für Zuwanderer" examination.
Does a license expire?
An institutional licence (for the examination centre) is issued for an unlimited period of time, with corresponding notice periods for the examination centre and telc.

Licenses of examiners and assessors are generally valid for 3 years and can then be extended for a further 3 years through a qualification measure (see Appendix C of the telc GTC/Examination Regulations).