Exam invigilators that we know too well, but wish we didn’t

“Know your enemy”. Sun Tzu said that and he could probably ace an exam, so here’s a list of the invigilators that you’ll want to research before combat.

It’s easy to see why they called it the exam period. It’s a time of emotion, mood swings, irritability, excessive snacking and less sex — but thankfully, not as many tampons.

After years of these you know the drill. The time is set, and everyone’s turned up forty-five minutes early, despite knowing that this isn’t really necessary. You go through the motions: the obligatory smiles, caricatural facial expressions of fear to the people you don’t really know that well, and the unavoidable and unbearable conversation with the arsehole who claims to have “done no work” and “will definitely fail”, despite being the best in the class.


Then suddenly, a hush falls over the crowd and the doors open… you’re standing on the knife-edge of destiny, and of course you forget your seat number even though you’ve checked it every ten minutes for the last hour. You catch your first glance of the “1984”-esk rows of desks and then realise that this dystopian hall is not without its dictators: you feel the invigilators eyes on you as soon as you enter.

These OAP’s (if OAP stood for Overly Anal Pricks) strut the halls and aisles as if they own them. Only ever rearing their power-hungry heads once or twice a year, begging the question: do these people even exist outside the months of January and June?!

There’s no escape. Whatever your subject, you’ll encounter them. Sun Tzu apparently said in The Art Of War “Know your enemy”, so here’s a list of the invigilators that you’ll meet during exams.



Alright. One essay down, one to go. Time for the tactical toilet break. Better raise your hand.

The result is a thing of a beauty, and the true sense of your powers begins to sweep over you. Suddenly you see two geriatric invigilators locked in the quietest, saddest race you’ve ever seen. So desperate for a break from the mundanity of their lives that even telling them you need to go for a piss is like gold to them.

The Conversationalist


These invigilators seem to think that having a chin-wag at the front – discussing who Dot Cotton’s planning to mack on next – takes preference to the zen atmosphere required for your exam. Some even dare to have a joke, which in our society tends to be followed by laughter. This is just outright bad behaviour. I’m pretty sure this isn’t the bingo hall; save it for then.

The Sitter


This specimen usually adopts the form of an overweight male, and likes to break away from the herd and adopt a nomadic stance, usually in a folded-out chair crafted specifically for this ceremony. Word on the street is that special chairs may even be crafted for this purpose (page 1078 of the argos catalogue, under ‘stools’).

Quiet, calm, focused. The Sitter will do all in their power to obliterate these states of mind via the most passive-aggressive acts possible. Mainly sniffing. The invigilator equivalent of the guy that uses the urinal right next to you, even though others are free.

The Suspicious One


After a failed application to be that person at airports who makes you take your shoes off, The Suspicious One’s second choice was exam invigilating. So overly suspicious of your equipment, even though it’s a clear pencil case and everyone has that same fucking calculator. No, I’m not storing notes on the 13th century monarchy on my Casio – I only just worked out how to make it spell BOOBIES the other day. It’s as if stationery betrayed them in the war. Wannabe Miss Marples: acing it in the looks department, but lacking in the brains (and the sex appeal).

The Noisy One


There always seems to be one invigilator who has chosen to wear their “clip-cloppiest” shoes or “jangliest” jewelry for today’s exam. Although in their eyes it maybe a harmless necklace or their favourite pair of Birkenstocks, to those trying to get that all important 40%, these idiots may as well be Jack Sparrow/Russell Brand tap dancing down the aisles.

The Mime Artist


When it comes to the “no talking” policy, the Mime Artist’s blind belief in the exam code of conduct rivals that of Professor Umbridge. Refusing to say a word, they instead use hand movements and mouthing out words in a way that not even a deaf person could lip-read. Seems fine, but after they tries to act out licking the top right-hand corner of your paper, you’ll leave the exam hall, with the sense that you may have just been molested/sexually assaulted.

The Twat with the Microphone

No explanation needed. What do you expect when you give a twat a microphone?