How to Become an Invigilator (With Steps and Skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 6 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

It's important for exams to be conducted in an appropriate manner and within the correct time frame. For this to be done efficiently, employers usually hire an exam invigilator. Learning how to become an invigilator may help you decide whether to pursue this role. In this article, we define what an invigilator is, list steps on how to become an invigilator, discuss the skills required to work in this field, describe invigilator duties and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about this profession.

What is an invigilator?

An exam invigilator, also known as an exam supervisor, is someone who's appointed by a school or university's examination board to supervise students as they sit their exam. They're hired to maintain proper conduct of an examination in accordance with the exam rules. Invigilators register with the state's education authority to supervise the official High School Certificate (HSC) exams and a school's principal hires them. Invigilators usually report to the HSC presiding officer or senior supervisor.

To supervise university examinations, invigilators usually apply directly to the university of choice. Invigilation is a flexible and convenient side job for those who want to work on a freelance basis and make additional income.

How to become an invigilator

Below are steps on how to become an invigilator:

1. Apply for a Working With Children Check (WWCC)

Get a valid Working With Children Check (WWCC). This is a requirement for anyone working in child-related work. It entails a criminal background check and an assessment of any reportable workplace misconduct. A WWCC can take up to four weeks to receive, and it's valid for five years.

2. Express your interest with schools

If you'd like to supervise for the HSC, you may register your interest with your state's education standards authority through their website. Once you've expressed your interest online, the authority can transfer your details to schools so that a representative may contact you when the need arises. You may also contact your local schools directly. Exam supervisors may supervise at more than one school, but cannot supervise in any school in which they have a friend or close relative sitting for the HSC.

3. Apply for open positions at universities

Once you have your WWCC, you may opt to work as an invigilator at a university. You can apply for advertised positions online. Applications open seasonally each year. Expression of interest forms are available on most university websites, or they're sometimes advertised on job search platforms.

Related: How to Apply For a Job in 6 Steps

Required skills for an invigilator

An invigilator doesn't need any formal qualifications or education requirements. They require a set of skills to perform this role successfully. Some of these soft skills include:

Organisation

Exam invigilators receive their rosters from the presiding officer or senior supervisor. Organisational skills are essential to perform the job successfully and in a timely fashion. Being organised also means that you're open to sudden roster changes and development and adapting to those changes.

Communication

Effective communication skills help you relay exam information clearly to students. Written communication is also important when writing out incident reports. Active listening skills are required to hear out and understand any of the student's concerns.

Related: Communication Skills: Definition and Examples

Teamwork

Exam invigilators usually work with other invigilators, the senior invigilator or the presiding officer. It's essential for an invigilator to work as part of a team and take direction from relevant staff. Invigilators are also required to conduct their duties discreetly.

Related: The Best Teamwork Skills for a Resume (With Examples)

Observation

An invigilator is required to have good observation skills and attention to detail. They observe all students at the same time and report any suspected malpractice. Invigilators also check that all students have completed their papers correctly.

Ability to work well under pressure

A successful invigilator concentrates and works well under pressure for several hours at a time. They're able to use initiative in response to unexpected situations. When necessary, invigilators can also enforce regulations firmly but fairly.

Related: Soft Skills: Definitions and Examples

Exam invigilator duties and responsibilities

An exam invigilator's main role is to ensure there's no talking in the room and no one is cheating on an exam. In some cases, an invigilator may also be required to act as a disability provisions supervisor. Some students may lose their concentration during an exam, and others may need questions to be read out to them. Some students may need a rest break every half an hour. It's an invigilator's duty to assist these students and make their exam run as smoothly as possible.

Other responsibilities may include:

  • arriving on time for the scheduled session

  • distributing and collecting exam papers

  • setting out desks

  • timekeeping

  • ensuring students adhere to exam conditions at all times

  • writing out reports of any incident that may occur in the exam room

  • reporting possible malpractice

  • writing up all exam information on the board

  • ensuring equal opportunity for all

  • ensuring security before, during and after the exam

  • preventing malpractice

  • observing all students at all times

  • familiarising themselves with the school's or university's own set of rules and regulations

  • informing students that they're under exam conditions

  • retrieving mobile phones, smartwatches and MP3 players

  • assisting with candidate entry into the room

  • checking identification

  • establishing the tone and ensuring that students arrive on time and silently

  • briefing and seating all late students and allowing them to partake in the exam with minimum disruption

  • ensuring students have the correct papers

  • reading out correction notices when necessary

  • notifying students of the start and finish times of the exam

  • collecting all scripts and associated materials at the end of each exam

  • responding to student queries in accordance with exam regulations

  • distributing additional paper/equipment as required

  • monitoring exam papers and e-safely delivering them to the designated person

Frequently asked questions for invigilators

You may have some questions if you're thinking of becoming an invigilator. To help you determine whether this job is suitable for you, here are the most commonly asked questions and answers:

How often do you work as an invigilator and what are the hours like?

HSC supervisors work during the HSC period at the end of the school year. University invigilators work during all assessment periods, usually three times a year. Hours may vary from 8am until later in the evening, depending on the time of examination.

Related: 20 Side Jobs to Generate Additional Income

How much do invigilators get paid?

The national average salary of an invigilator is $63,908 per year, but this may depend on their duties and the number of students they're supervising. University invigilators usually earn more than HSC supervisors. Rates also depend on the state in which you live.

What are online invigilators?

Remote online learning and invigilated exams allow students to continue their studies anywhere in the world. Exams take place under the supervision of online invigilators, who supervise in real time via a student's webcam. Online invigilators perform the same role as a traditional invigilator. This role requires proficient skills in using a range of computer devices. Online invigilators have a clear view of a student's workspace and monitor the candidate for the duration of the exam. They make announcements, relay exam information, check attendance and answer student inquiries when needed.

Do you need experience to become an invigilator?

You require no previous experience to become an invigilator. You receive all the required information and guidelines beforehand. If it's an online invigilation, the institution can offer on-the-job training prior to your first invigilation session.

Can an invigilator sit down?

Exams last an average of two to three hours. For face-to-face exams, invigilators aren't supposed to sit down during the exam. They may rest for a couple of minutes but their job is to monitor those taking the test.

Salary figures reflect date listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidates experience, academic background and location.

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