Online Proctored Test Incidents
This information is for candidates sitting an online proctored test (OnVUE UCAT). Candidates sitting their test at a test centre should refer to Test Centre Incidents.
How to avoid online proctored test issues
Candidates approved to sit an online proctored test are advised to:
- Familiarise themselves with the information on the Pearson VUE OnVUE UCAT site and:
- run a System Test and review the technical requirements.
- check their testing space meets the requirements.
- read the testing policies, procedures and FAQs.
- Refer to the very important information on the UCAT Website, where they must:
Most issues can be avoided by completing a system test and ensuring that you meet all system requirements in advance of testing.
We strongly recommend that you use a personal computer (i.e., one not issued by school) and a wired, ethernet connection. Issues are more likely to occur if you use an unreliable internet connection (e.g., a wireless network) or a computer with firewalls or security settings.
You may be prohibited from testing and will not be eligible for a refund or a free reschedule if:
- your set up does not meet the system requirements and causes a problem during testing
- you fail to present photo ID that meets the OnVUE Photo ID Policy.
- candidates under 18 only - you do not have a parent/guardian present at the start of your exam (with their own correct photo ID) to give their consent to testing.
- your testing space is not adequate (it must be private, free from noise or distractions, and cleared of any unauthorised items).
- you miss your test for any reason – refer to missed tests
Illness during testing
Candidates who attend their test are declaring that they are fit to test. For further details please read our Fitness to Test Policy.
- If you become ill during testing, make contact with the proctor. If you are not well enough to continue, ask the proctor to end your test.
- You then need to contact the UCAT Office as soon as possible.
- If you choose to continue testing, UCAT will not accept this as a mitigating circumstance.
The proctor will watch out for the following types of prohibited behaviours during testing:
- leaving the webcam view for any reason or duration
- looking or leaning off screen
- mumbling or speaking aloud
- covering your mouth or face
- failing to follow proctor instructions
- using unauthorised materials (e.g., mobile phones, recording equipment, writing materials)
- interacting with third parties intentionally or unintentionally
Depending on the severity of the violation, you may first receive a warning and reminder of the policy in question.
The proctor may revoke your test session (which invalidates your test result) if the violation is very serious or is repeated.
If your test session has been ended (revoked), please email the UCAT Office as soon as possible for advice on next steps.
Online proctored test incidents
The UCAT Consortium and our partner Pearson VUE aim to provide a professional test experience. However, occasionally things may go wrong and we have systems in place to deal with such circumstances.
Please refer to the information below which covers the steps you should take if there is a problem during your test.
Technical difficulties or connectivity issues:
- If the connection between you and the proctor is lost, a proctor will try to contact you either through the OnVUE chat function or by calling the phone number provided at check-in.
- It is advisable to keep your mobile phone in the room where you are testing, but out of arm's reach and not in your testing workspace.
- If your connection is lost, the exam timer stops and you will resume from the moment you left the exam.
- If you are not able to resume testing, the proctor will revoke your test session and create a case outlining what happened.
- If your test session has been ended (revoked) and you are not able to book another test appointment, please email the UCAT Office as soon as possible for advice on next steps.
Other incidents during online proctored testing
Raising an issue during your test
- If you experience any issues during your test, contact the proctor for assistance through the OnVUE chat function.
- Do not use your mobile phone to contact customer service during your exam, as this violates policy.
- If you do not raise the issue during your test, UCAT will not accept this as a mitigating circumstance.
- The proctor cannot answer questions about test content.
Obtaining an incident case number
- If you raised an issue during testing that was not satisfactorily resolved, ensure the incident is recorded by the proctor and obtain an incident case number before ending your test.
Requesting an incident investigation
- The issuing of an incident case number does not automatically result in UCAT or Pearson VUE taking any action unless you request an incident investigation, normally within 1 day of your test.
- If you wish to have your case investigated please refer to the information below.
- This only applies to completed tests. If you were unable to complete your test due to connectivity issues or a test violation, refer to the information above.
What incident investigation requests will be considered?
You will have been advised that issues affecting your online proctored test must be notified to the proctor.
Pearson VUE and the UCAT Office are very unlikely to take any action if you did not raise the issue during your online proctored test – especially where it was possible that had you raised the issue, it could have been resolved by the proctor.
Incident investigation requests relating to the following issues raised during a testing will be accepted:
- A technical issue with OnVUE software.
- Unavoidable disruption to your test environment.
- Issues relating to test content.
What incident investigation requests are excluded?
Incident investigation requests relating to the following will not normally be accepted:
- Issues that were not raised during testing.
- Requests submitted more than 5 days after your test date.
- Appeals against test scores or requests for re-scoring. The UCAT is a computer-based test and is marked automatically. Errors are extremely unlikely as the marking and scoring system is subject to rigorous testing before each test cycle.
- A technical problem with your personal computer hardware or equipment.
- A disruption to your test environment that could have been avoided.
- Circumstances relating to illness, injury or other personal circumstances affecting performance (refer to the Fitness to Test Policy).
- Lack of access arrangements, if not arranged in advance of your test (see Access Arrangements).
- Missed tests due to late check-in.
- Missed tests if incorrect photo ID has been presented.
- Missed tests if a minor’s parent/guardian (with correct ID) is not present.
- Appeals about admissions decisions, which should be addressed to the individual university concerned.
How do I request Pearson VUE undertake an incident investigation?
If you wish to have your case investigated, you must submit an incident investigation request using the form linked below. Pearson VUE will not accept requests over the phone.
You should submit your incident investigation request as soon as possible after testing. Requests submitted more than 5 days after your test date will not be accepted.
When making your request, you must provide your incident case number (given to you at the test centre) and a brief explanation of the incident which makes clear:
- in which UCAT subtest(s) the incident occurred;
- any action taken by you or test centre staff;
- an estimate of any test time lost (if relevant).
Once a request has been submitted, your case will be investigated by Pearson VUE and the outcome reported back to you by email within 5 business days.
If you have not received an email after 5 business days, please contact Pearson VUE Customer Services and quote the incident case number to obtain an update on an investigation.
Can a third party request an incident investigation on my behalf?
Candidates should make their own incident investigation request unless there are exceptional circumstances preventing this.
Where a third party (such as a parent or guardian) contacts Pearson VUE or the UCAT Office on your behalf we can only address general issues, unless we have your written consent to the third party acting on your behalf.
If a third party is acting on your behalf, we will communicate with both the third party and you to ensure you are aware of developments. Pearson VUE or the UCAT Office may in such circumstances request a first-hand account of any incident from you.
What are the outcomes from a Pearson VUE incident investigation?
Pearson VUE will investigate your issue, report back any findings and confirm one of the following outcomes:
- No action to be taken:
You have not followed the correct incident process, or the incident is considered to be of a minor or trivial nature or no evidence of an incident has been found.
- Referral to UCAT Office for action:
If Pearson VUE conclude that your incident was sufficiently serious to have impacted on your test performance, you will be advised to contact the UCAT Office to take this further.
If you wish to take your case further, you must email the UCAT Office, normally within 2 days of the outcome of the investigation by Pearson VUE.
The UCAT Office will then review the Pearson VUE findings and confirm an outcome (see “What are the outcomes from a UCAT Office Review?” below).
If you do not contact the UCAT Office in a timely way your case will be closed, and no action taken.
What can I do if I am not happy with the outcome of the Pearson VUE investigation?
If you are not happy with the outcome of an incident investigation undertaken by Pearson VUE you may request a review of your case by emailing the UCAT Office within 5 days of receiving the outcome from Pearson VUE.
A review of the case will be handled by a member of UCAT staff who will liaise with Pearson VUE as required in order to gather required evidence.
The UCAT Office will report back any findings and confirm an outcome (see “What are the outcomes from a UCAT Office Review?” below).
What are the outcomes from a UCAT Office review?
Following a review by the UCAT Office, they will confirm one of the following outcomes:
- No action to be taken
The candidate has not followed the correct incident process, or the incident is considered to be of a minor nature or no evidence of an incident has been found.
Your result may be annotated with a factual statement so that the Medical and Dental Schools you apply to, are aware of the circumstances which may have affected your test result.
- Retest opportunity
Only a small number of candidates are allowed to retest in any test year. The whole test must be taken again; re-sitting just the subtest(s) affected is not possible.
Your original result is made void and only the result of the final test in that test cycle (regardless of the result) will be made available to universities.
Please note: The UCAT Consortium never makes an adjustment to a candidate’s scores to reflect an incident during their test.
If you are not happy with the outcome of the UCAT Office review of your case please refer to the UCAT Consortium Appeals Policy.