The Voice - a Publication of the Athabasca University Students' Union


A Publication for the
students of Athabasca University

The Voice is brought to you by AUSU

This Week:
Volume 25 Issue 37 - 2017-09-22

Table of Contents Archives Online PDF Archives About The Voice
Features Articles Columns News Letters

My Friendly Neighbourhood Invigilator

Barbara Lehtiniemi
Volume 25 Issue 37 2017-09-22

Driving home from my most recent AU exam, I reflected on how lucky I am in my choice of invigilator. Because Iíve used the same invigilator for around a dozen AU exams, the process is familiar and stress-free. And stress-free is what I need on exam day!

My current invigilator wasnít my first choice. For my first AU exam, I selected the nearest invigilator to me at the time, which was at a public library in another municipality. That invigilation fee was $60, which is pretty expensive for a library. However, for that fee I got a dedicated staff member to watch over me while I wrote my exam in a private room.

Because that location was over 60 kilometres from home, for my next exam I decided to try my own municipalityís library system. They offered invigilation services but were not yet on AUís invigilation network. After some back-and-forth between the library and AUís exam unit, the library received its AU invigilator number.

Now I write my exams 10 kilometres from my home (13 if you count the essential detour through Tim Hortonís drivethru) and I only pay $30 per exam. I have the same person act as proctor each time. She knows the routine, and so do I.

Weíve developed a comfortable proctor-student relationship. I give her lots of notice for each exam, and weíre always able to book a mutually acceptable time. My proctor doesnít impose any draconian rules beyond the normal safeguards against potential cheating. I bring my "exam care package" of take-out coffee, water, snack, wristwatch, scrap paper, and ear buds.

The ear buds arenít for listening to anything, but to block out noise. The only drawback about my local library is there is no private space for exam-writing. The library is usually open during my exam, although I can sometimes write the first hour before opening time. The ear-buds help to reduce noisy distractions, and also discourage other library patrons from speaking to me. (I also put a big sign next to me advising others that Iím writing an exam and must not be disturbed.) My proctor and other library staff are helpful with discouraging people from disturbing me.

I choose the same work station each time. With my back to a wall and facing the entrance, nobody can startle me from behind. My work station is also adjacent to the public washroom, so quick trips to the washroom donít chew up too much exam time.

I didnít realize how fortunate I was with bathroom access until I read a recent discussion on the AthaU Facebook group page. Apparently, students who use ProctorU to supervise their exams arenít able to take bathroom breaks. While that makes sense, given the way ProctorU supervision works, I canít imagine giving up bathroom access for the duration of a 3-hour exam! At the very least, such a restriction would mean not writing exams in the morning, which is my best brain time but most active bladder time (both of which may have something to do with coffee consumption.)

One more exam is over, and Iíve only got a few more to go. Because I found a friendly neighbourhood invigilator, my remaining exams will be as stress-free as they can possibly be.

Barbara Lehtiniemi is a writer, photographer, and AU student. She lives on a windswept rural road in Eastern Ontario.


To comment on this article, email


Articles This Week:

The Short End -- Karl Low

AUSU Wants to Give You $1000 for 30 Seconds of Work -- Barbara Lehtiniemi

Comparisons -- Deanna Roney

Search The Voice:

Receive weekly notices when The Voice is updated.

Go here if you no longer wish to receive our email notifications.