Careers ServiceGuidelines for working with a scribe

What is a Scribe?

 A Scribe is a practical helper who responds to instructions, writes down answers, and draws diagrams exactly as they are dictated.

The Scribe

The Scribe will have no personal interest in the success of the candidate. They will be someone who is literate in the general subject area they are scribing in. This is true of subjects with terminology and symbols that would be unfamiliar to most people. They will be someone who will be identified by the Disability Service or by your department.

Before the exam

It's important to arrange a practice session or a discussion before the exam, so that you can think about the following:

  • Planning and rough notes: do you want to make a plan/rough notes at the start of the exam and do you need your Scribe to do this?
  • Layout and Structure: how would you like your answer to look on the page? How will you communicate this to your Scribe?
  • Adding extra points: you should agree beforehand on how to add extra points, should you need to. For example, the use of an asterisk or footnotes
  • Punctuation and spelling: you should decide if you only want to give the main punctuation breaks, leaving the rest to the Scribe. Or if you would rather dictate every punctuation mark. For example, commas, question marks, brackets
  • Difficulties with comprehension: if the Scribe should have difficulties with something you have dictated, you should decide whether they will ask you to clarify it at the end of the exam, or interrupt you there and then
  • Breaks and extra time: the Scribe will need to know if you have been given extra time or rest breaks
  • Speed of writing and dictation: it's useful to have a practice run to find out the speed of working. It's also useful to agree upon a signal for the Scribe to indicate they cannot keep up

For Students with a Visual Impairment

There may be some additional points to consider before the exam:

  • Time: do you want to be reminded about the time throughout the exam? Or would you rather ask when you need it? Assistive Technology with restricted access
  • Diagrams: If you have to draw diagrams, how can you check with the Scribe that what they have drawn is an accurate reflection of what you wanted?
  • Assistive Technology: consider whether any technology will be required and how this will be used in conjunction with the Scribe

During the exam

There will be an invigilator who will monitor the exam to ensure that it's carried out according to the following rules:

  • your Scribe will not be able to give you any factual help or prompts
  • the Scribe should under no circumstances indicate by any word or action that he/she thinks you have made a mistake
  • you must not chat with the Scribe unless this relates to the writing of your answer
  • the Scribe should only speak when spoken to, leaving you in charge of asking to have text read back, or to have the exam questions read out again
  • you must adhere to the set time restrictions

Any problems?

Disability Advisers are available for either you or your Scribe to discuss any issues arising from the work.

It's important that the Scribe supports you to complete an exam that demonstrates your knowledge. If you identify anything getting in the way of that aim, discuss this with an Adviser.

Your helper cannot be paid for work that is additional to what has been agreed with the Disability Service. Or for work for which funding has not been approved.